In a sociological context, deviant behavior or abnormality is actions and behavior that violates social norms including formally adopted regulations and laws (such as crime) and the informal ones, such as customs. Sociologists, psychologists, and criminologists study the phenomenon of deviation and how norms arise, change over time and compliance.
There is not a single definition of what a deviant behavior are. Sociologists, criminologists, and psychologists have characterized it as a different, but defined it primarily as a behavior that violates social norms. According to Jack D. Douglas and Frances Chaput Waksler, the deviant behavior can be any thought, feeling, or action whatsoever, which implies a violation of the values or rules accepted by a social group; Doug Thomson says that it is a violation of a society or a group’s norms; Gary F. Jensen says that it is an act that violates the norms of a social system, which are defined as an appropriate in the society; Simon Dinitz, Russell Rowe Dynes, and Alfred Carpenter Clarke explains it as a kind of behavior that takes a position from the standards defined by a specific community; Marshall B. Clinard and Robert F. Meier say that it is a crime against certain types of group norms to the extent that the behavior comes across boundaries for what is tolerated in the society.
Norms are the rules and conditions by which the members of a society are governed. The standards are not necessarily moral or anchored in morality. They are just as often pragmatic but also irrational. For example, a large part of what we call manners and behavior has not necessarily any logical explanation. Norms are rules of conduct that is not neutral or universal, and is constantly changing. The standards are directly related to each society and change with that societies change. The standards are loose, reflective, selfish, and one-sided. They vary between people depending of class, gender, age, ethnicity, etc. and are therefore contextual.
Deviant behavior can be described as a violation of these standards. Deviation is a failure to adapt to the currently culturally emphasized directions.
What constitutes these regulations can be interpreted in different ways. Social standards in one community may be its opposite in another. For example, an act in violation of the prescribed norms in a cultural or societal context regarded as perfectly normal in another. Certain behavior is abnormal in such a way that they are criminalized and punishable by punitive sanctions.
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