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Deviance, Difference & Conformity

duration Duration: 1 Teaching Period

unit code Unit Code: SOC20020

contact hours Contact Hours: Recommended 10 hours of study per week

About this unit

This unit aims to:

  • Acquaint students with a range of sociological approaches to ‘deviance’
  • Equip students in how to use these approaches and to familiarise them with a number of contemporary social problems and controversies over social control
  • Develop students’ understanding of the ways in which individuals and their actions are defined as socially unacceptable
  • Analyse major forms of social control – in particular the legal system and social responses to crime and punishment – in addition to analysing the forces that construct notions of social conformity
  • Familiarise and respond to differential power structures and the relativity of crime and criminal behaviour
  • 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

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