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January 6, 2009 / C H Thompson

Am I deviant or criminal?

The title is far more unsettling than you might imagine at first. So let’s examine it further. Below are two separate work sheets that will take a few moments to complete. All you have to is either place a x or a / if you agree or disagree with each statement. Each statement refers to when you were under 16 and still at school!!

If you agreed with the majority of the statements in the criminal sheet, then I’m afraid you are a criminspeeding-caral and could have been prosecuted for those offences. This is because Crime is defined as: behaviour which breaks laws allowing you to be punished by the legal system with some form of sanction.

speedoNow that you have completed all the statements in the deviance sheet did you agree with the majority of these statements? If the answer is also yes, then I’m afraid you are a bit of a deviant. This is because Deviance is defined as: behaviour which goes against all the norms, values and expectations of society; for example coming to school in just your speedo’s!

Though you are never going to get punished by the legal system for doing a deviant act like just wearing your speedo’s to school. You would incur some sort of sanction by people in authority so as to control your behaviour. This is because a consensus has been formed about what is acceptable on non-acceptable behaviour. And there’s a consensus which says just wearing your speedo’s to school isn’t a good idea.

Although once a consensus is created about what is good and bad social behaviour the difficult thing is making sure you get everyone to do as they’re told. This is called social order by sociologists. The way you order people around is by controlling what they do and this is known as social control. Social control is the way society regulates the behaviour of members of society.

There are two types of social control, ‘formal’ and ‘informal’ social control. Formal is the police and the law. Formal control is best seen as where severe sanctions can be imposed if someone doesn’t do what is expected of them, such as driving at high speed along a busy high street. While informal social comes from primary and secondary socialisation through the media, family, schools etc. So if we think of the boy turning up to school in just his speedo’s the police wouldn’t arrest him, but his school teachers would definitely have a word with him to control his behaviour!!!

So now we have a clear understanding of what the difference between crime and deviance is along with what formal and informal social control is, we can move on once you’ve completed the task below.

Task 1 Crime & Deviance: Please go to task 1 and complete questions 1 & 2

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