The term deviance and deviant behavior refers to any type of behavior that departs, or deviates, from an accepted standard or norm. Norms have be devised and maintained by people in every society throughout history as a set way to act. Certain actions are regarded as acceptable when they stay in lines with the rules, while others are considered unacceptable when they are in violation of the rules. All norms vary from society to society. What would be considered a normal action in one society would be considered an abnormal action in another one. Behavior is not really considered deviant unless it violates the norms of a particular social system or society.
Most of us could list quite a few behaviors or conditions that could be considered deviant. Things such as rape, murder, drug addiction, and prostitution are considered to be deviant behavior in our society. Some people think that some conditions such as mental illness, and handicaps are deviant. Homosexuality to some is a deviant behavior while to others it a normal way of life. Deviance has always been around, from thee early days of the Romans to modern society, as we know it today. But how does one rate deviance. Why is it that one violator is punished for a behavior in one country and another person in another country is not? Deviance is a matter of degree. The greater number of people who do or who would condemn a given action, the more deviant it is. The more influence the people have in higher positions who disapproves of a given behavior the greater chance of being punished for engaging in it and the more deviant it is. Behavior that generated a mild reaction is normally not considered deviant. Official and authorized personnel, in which case it is known as law and overlaps with crime, may express society's reaction. Disapproval may also take the form of ridicule, gossip, ostracism,.
exclusion, avoidance, stares, sneers, and so on.