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What is Crime and Deviance

The initial objective of this activity is to get students thinking about the distinction between criminal, non-criminal and deviant behaviour.

As the activity develops, however, it’s possible to introduce further concepts for discussion as and if required.  These include, for example:


• “victimless crime”

• how we measure the “seriousness” of criminal / deviant behaviour (an introduction to problems associated with the operationalisation of this concept and, if so desired, ideas about conflict and consensus crimes)

• societal and situational definitions of deviance

• the importance of social reactions to people’s behaviour in determining whether or not behaviour is defined as criminal / deviant.

After completing this activity, students will be able to:

a. Identify and explain the difference between criminal and deviant behaviour.

b. Analyse actions in terms of degrees of deviant behaviour.

c. Evaluate and rank actions in terms of different levels of deviant behaviour.

What is Crime and Deviance?

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