Webster's dictionary defines deviance as an act that is departing from the norm. Sociologically deviance refers to "violation of a social norm and conformity to adherence to social norms" (Society in Focus, 106). We define norms as the guidelines that govern our thoughts. People who stray away from these norms are accused of being deviant. Theoretically there are two kinds of norms, prescriptive and proscriptive. Prescriptive norms tell us what we should do, and proscriptive norms tell us what we should not do. Every society has a complete set of norms of their own, the violation of which automatically constitutes deviance. The set of norms illustrate how members of society pre-establish standard behaviors. Each society also has a range of tolerance, "or a scope of behaviors considered acceptable and defined as conformity. According to sociologist Ruth Cavan overconformity and underconformity can be viewed as deviance. When considering an action as an act of conformity or deviance, four points play a big role. Time, place, situation, and culture are the four points that should be looked at when considering conformity or deviance. Perhaps all of the four points play a key role in finding an act as deviant or not, but culture is the major factor that sets actions apart. .
It was in middle school when I experienced a real act of deviance. I was twelve years old, and had just entered seventh grade. It was a time when I used to be athletic, popular and well known by many. One day after my basketball practice I was waiting out side for my mother to pick me up. She was running late and I had no other choice then to wait outside in the altering weather. I stood in the parking lot where I usually would wait, but today there was someone else from the team waiting as well. He was the co-captain of our team and had of say of what had to happen on the team. He came up to me and asked me if would lite up a cigarette with him.