Types of Deviance

In starting to look more closely at the concept of deviance, it tends to be assumed that "deviant behaviour" is somehow always behaviour that is generally frowned upon by people in a society (the very name seems to imply that such behaviour is, at best, "not very nice" and, at worst, downright criminal).

That this is not necessarily the case can be shown by looking briefly at the way we can broadly categorise various basic forms of rule-breaking behaviour in terms of three ideas:

1. "Good" or "Admired" behaviourSant Claus: Hero to millions or just sad old git?

An example of deviance that might be considered "good" or "admirable" behaviour (while also breaking social norms) might be something like heroism - saving the life of another person while putting your own life in great danger, for example.

Hippies. Don't you just love 'em?2. "Odd" behaviour

Many forms of behaviour - while not being criminal - are frequently considered to be somehow "odd" or "different" to normal behaviour. These forms of deviance range from such things as outlandish or inappropriate modes of dress, through mildly eccentric forms of behaviour (the person who shares their house with 50 cats, for example), to outright madness.

3. "Bad" behaviour

Deviant behaviour in this category tends to feature law-breaking or criminal behaviour - behaviour that in some way is seen as being something more than simply outlandish or eccentric. Depending on the time and place, forms of behaviour in this category might include crimes of violence, crimes against property and so forth.

As I've noted, the above represent very broad categories of deviant behaviour and it's not uncommon for behaviour to cut-across these categories (some forms of behaviour may be considered both "odd" and "bad", for example).

Before we develop these ideas in a more theoretically sophisticated way, however, it might be useful to think about the following:

Firstly, try to identify different examples of deviant behaviour for each of the above categories.

Secondly, try to identify examples of behaviour that may cut-across the categories noted above.