Thursday, April 29, 2010

The difference between deviant behaviour and crimes


Differing from a norm or from the accepted standards of a society.
One that differs from a norm, especially a person whose behavior and attitudes differ from accepted social standards.
[Middle English deviaunt, from Late Latin dvins, dviant-, present participle of dvire, to deviate; see deviate.] (source:

an action or an instance of negligence that is deemed injurious to the public welfare or morals or to the interests of the state and that is legally prohibited.
criminal activity and those engaged in it: to fight crime.
the habitual or frequent commission of crimes: a life of crime.
any offense, serious wrongdoing, or sin.
a foolish, senseless, or shameful act: It's a crime to let that beautiful garden go to ruin.

The biggest difference between deviant behaviour and a crime is, that a crime is against the law, while deviance is only against social norms.A crime has an added characteristic in that a law has been passed against it, making it a crime or criminal offence.Deviation is what is defined as not normal by norms, values, or laws. This could be something like wearing the wrong kind of clothes to a party or killing someone – deviance is behavior that is not seen as acceptable or normal.

examples for deviant behaviour (but not criminal):
  • A woman who pretends she's pregnant to keep her boyfriend - devious, but not a crime.
  • A child who says he will clean his room after you give them their reward - then he does not. No crime committed, but a mistrust is gained.
  • A boyfriend who says he'll kill himself if his girlfriend leaves. Manipulative, but no crime.
  • putting a permanent outhouse in a residental area
examples of crimes (but not deviant):
  • smoking marijuana
  • Illegal Music Download
  • picking provincially protected wildflowers

Putting a permanent outhouse in a residental area should be a crime, because eventually the sewage will leach into other peoples´properties , possibly contaminating water causing neighbours to get seriously sick.

In my opinion, illegal music downloads should be legalized, because so many people are engaged in doing that already without penalties. It seems impossible to stop people downloading the music as it is a global phenomenon. As long as companies and music artists are still making money, why not legalize illegal downloading?

1 comment:

  1. Good ideas here I sabelle. In Canada the Supreme Court has upheld the right for individuals to upload and download music (sharing files). In the United States it is against the law and considered a felony offense (same as theft). It is, however, somewhat dangerous to "rationalize" theft. Just because someone is making money doesn't mean that stealing a little is acceptable. I think that most of Canadian society believes in copyright but also believes in sharing so there is some confusion about norms here. Good work