SOC20020 Deviance Difference & Conformity

About this unit

This unit aims

  • to acquaint students with a range of sociological approaches to ‘deviance’
  • to equip students in how to use these approaches and to familiarize them with a number of contemporary social problems and controversies over social control
  • to develop students’ understanding of the ways in which individuals and their actions are defined as socially unacceptable
  • to analyse major forms of social control – in particular the legal system and social responses to crime and punishment – in addition to analyzing the forces that construct notions of social conformity
  • to familiarize and respond to differential power structures and the relativity of crime and criminal behaviour
  • to demonstrate the ways in which sociological insights can inform policy formulation and social
  • engagement in these area


  • Traditional sociological explanations of deviance
  • Sociological evolution of deviance
  • Rules and the normative dimension: “kinds of people”; “kinds of rules”, notions of difference
  • The modern context: the death of deviance
  • Surveillance: Foucault and the postmodern world of post-deviance
  • Feminism and deviance
  • Law and deviance
  • Crime, punishment and deviance
  • Bodies and deviance
  • Sex, sexuality, gender and deviance
  • Minds and deviance
  • Institutions: the church and the state and deviance

This unit is found in the following courses:
Bachelor of Social Science With a Major in Criminology
Bachelor of Social Science With a Major in Behavioural Studies