Discussion As you have learned from the Week 4 learning resources (UMGC, n.d.), deviant behaviors are violations of social norms, and what is “deviant” is

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As you have learned from the Week 4 learning resources (UMGC, n.d.), deviant behaviors are violations of social norms, and what is “deviant” is defined variously across time and place. Our resources for this week offer a variety of sociological theories for why deviance occurs in society. Your main post for this discussion should have two parts:

Part 1. Identify something that people do that would be considered a violation of social norms. Briefly discuss this action. Who regards this action as deviant and why?

Part 2. Explain why this type of deviance occurs and/or how society responds to this form of deviance, according to one of the theories in the chapter. As part of your explanation, make sure to also briefly explain the theory.

Responses to Classmates: When responding to classmates, try to examine the form of deviance that they have identified by analyzing it from a different theoretical perspective than they did.

References and Citations

Here is the reference you should cite in your main post:

University of Maryland Global Campus. (n.d.). Week 4. Socialization, Social groups, and deviance. Document posted in UMGC SOCY 100 online classroom, archived at https://learn.umgc.edu

Make sure to include the complete reference information at the end of your post. If you refer to any additional sources, please be sure to include them in your reference list as well.

When referring to the different topics of the material in the learning resources within your posts, use the following citation format: (UMGC, n.d., name of topic).

For example: (UMGC, n.d., Socialization) or (UMGC, n.d., Deviance and Social Control).

If you use any additional sources in your posts, be sure to cite them in the post and include the full reference information at the end of the post. To learn more about how to cite in APA style, visit the UMGC Library at https://libguides.umgc.edu/c.php?g=1003870.

Provide your initial post by 11:59 pm on Sunday, February 6. Your initial post should be at least 200 words, excluding the discussion prompt and the references. Please use in-text APA citations within your post as well as full APA references at the end of your post.

Requirements: In Depth

Section Summary and Key Terms

Section Summary

The Sociological Self

Charles Cooley and George Mead both contributed significantly to the sociological

understanding of the development of self. Lawrence Kohlberg and Carol Gilligan

developed their ideas further and researched how our sense of morality develops.

Gilligan added the dimension of gender differences to Kohlberg’s theory.


Socialization is important because it helps uphold societies and cultures; it is also a

key part of individual development. Research demonstrates that who we are is

affected by both nature (our genetic and hormonal makeup) and nurture (the social

environment in which we are raised). Sociology is most concerned with the way that

society’s influence affects our behavior patterns, such as in the way behavior varies

across class and gender. Resocialization is a process that removes the socialization

we have developed over time and replaces it with newly learned rules and roles.


Groups largely define how we think of ourselves. There are two main types of

groups: primary and secondary. Primary groups are long-term and complex. People

use groups as standards of comparison to define themselves—both who they are and

who they are not. The size and dynamic of a group greatly affects how members act.

Primary groups rarely have formal leaders, although there can be informal


Formal Organizations

Learning Resource

Large organizations fall into three main categories: normative (or voluntary),

coercive, and utilitarian. Bureaucracies are a common form of formal organization.

They are often meritocracies, meaning that hiring and promotion is based on proven

and documented skills, rather than on nepotism or random choice.

Deviance and Social Control

Deviance is a violation of norms. Whether or not something is deviant depends on

contextual definitions, the situation, and people’s response to the behavior. The use

of sanctions contributes to a system of social control. Deviance is often relative, and

perceptions of it can change quickly and unexpectedly.

The three major sociological paradigms offer different explanations for the causes of

deviance and crime. Functionalists point out that deviance is a social necessity

because it reinforces norms by reminding people of the consequences of violating

them. Violating norms can also open society’s eyes to injustice in the system.

Conflict theorists argue that crime stems from a system of inequality that keeps

those with power at the top and those without power at the bottom. Symbolic

interactionists focus attention on the socially constructed nature of the labels

related to deviance. Crime and deviance are learned from the environment and

enforced or discouraged by those around us.

Key Terms

aggregate—a collection of people who exist in the same place at the same time, but

who don’t interact or share a sense of identity

anticipatory socialization—the way we prepare for future life roles

authoritarian leader—a leader who issues orders and assigns tasks

bureaucracies—formal organizations characterized by a hierarchy of authority, a

clear division of labor, explicit rules, and impersonality

category—people who share similar characteristics but who are not connected in

any way

clear division of labor—the fact that each individual in a bureaucracy has a

specialized task to perform

coercive organizations—organizations that people do not voluntarily join, such as

prison or a mental hospital

conflict theory—a theory that examines social and economic factors as the causes

of criminal deviance

conformity—the extent to which an individual complies with group or societal norms

control theory—a theory that states social control is directly affected by the

strength of social bonds and that deviance results from a feeling of disconnection

from society

degradation ceremony—the process by which new members of a total institution

lose aspects of their old identities and are given new ones

democratic leader—a leader who encourages group participation and consensus-

building before moving into action

deviance—a violation of contextual, cultural, or social norms

differential association theory—a theory that states individuals learn deviant

behavior from those close to them who provide models of and opportunities for


explicit rules—the types of rules in a bureaucracy; rules that are outlined, recorded,

and standardized

expressive function—a group function that serves an emotional need

expressive—a leader who is concerned with process and with ensuring everyone’s

emotional well-being

formal organizations—large, impersonal organizations

formal sanctions—sanctions that are officially recognized and enforced

generalized other—the common behavioral expectations of general society

group—any collection of at least two people who interact with some frequency and

share some sense of aligned identity

hidden curriculum—the informal teaching done in schools that socializes children to

societal norms

hierarchy of authority—a clear chain of command found in a bureaucracy

impersonality—the removal of personal feelings from a professional situation

informal sanctions—sanctions that occur in face-to-face interactions

in-group—a group a person belongs to and feels is an integral part of his identity

instrumental function—being oriented toward a task or goal

instrumental leader—a leader who is goal oriented with a primary focus on

accomplishing tasks

iron rule of oligarchy—the theory that an organization is ruled by a few elites rather

than through collaboration

labeling theory—sociological perspective on the ascribing of a deviant behavior to

another person by members of society

laissez-faire leader—a hands-off leader who allows members of the group to make

their own decisions

leadership function—the main focus or goal of a leader

leadership style—the approach a leader uses to achieve goals or elicit action from

group members

meritocracy—a bureaucracy where membership and advancement are based on

merit—proven and documented skills

moral development—the way people learn what is considered good and bad in


nature—the influence of our genetic makeup on self-development

negative sanctions—punishments for violating norms

normative (or voluntary) organizations—organizations that people join to pursue

shared interests or because they provide some intangible rewards

nurture—the role that our social environment plays in self-development

out-group—a group that an individual is not a member of, and may even compete


peer group—a group made up of people who are similar in age and social status and

who share interests

positive sanctions—rewards given for conforming to norms

power elite—a small group of wealthy and influential people at the top of society

who hold the power and resources

primary deviance—a violation of norms that does not result in any long-term effects

on the individual’s self- image or interactions with others

primary groups—small, informal groups of people who are closest to us

reference groups—groups to which individuals compare themselves

resocialization—the process by which old behaviors are removed and new behaviors

are learned in their place

sanctions—means of enforcing rules

secondary deviance—deviance that occurs when a person’s self-concept and

behavior begin to change after actions are labeled as deviant by members of society

secondary groups—larger and more impersonal groups that are task-focused and

time limited

self—a person’s distinct sense of identity as developed through social interaction

social control—the regulation and enforcement of norms

social disorganization theory—a theory that asserts crime occurs in communities

with weak social ties and the absence of social control

social order—an arrangement of practices and behaviors on which society’s

members base their daily lives

socialization—the process through which people come to understand societal norms

and expectations, to accept society’s beliefs, and to be aware of societal values

strain theory—a theory that addresses the relationship between having socially

acceptable goals and having socially acceptable means to reach those goals

total institution—an organization in which participants live a controlled lifestyle and

in which total resocialization occurs

utilitarian organizations—organizations that people join to fill a specific material


Licenses and Attributions

Introduction to Sociology 3e (https://openstax.org/details/books/introduction-sociology-

3e) by Tonja R. Conerly, Kathleen Holmes, and Asha Lal Tamang from OpenStax is

available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International

(https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) license. © June 3, 2021,

OpenStax. UMGC has modified this work and it is available under the original

license. Download for free at https://openstax.org/books/introduction-sociology-

3e/pages/1-introduction (https://openstax.org/books/introduction-sociology-3e/pages/1-


© 2022 University of Maryland Global Campus

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