Society, Social Norms and Deviance

A society is a large group of people who are involved in interpersonal relationships. Human societies have various pattern of social relations based on culture, race, color and more.

“A society can also consist of like-minded people governed by their own norms and values within a dominant, larger society. This is sometimes referred to as a subculture, a term used extensively within criminology.

More broadly, and especially within structuralist thought, a society may be illustrated as an economic, social, industrial or cultural infrastructure, made up of, yet distinct from, a varied collection of individuals. In this regard society can mean the objective relationships people have with the material world and with other people, rather than other people.”

Etymology of the word society:

On Wikipedia, “The term society came from the Latin word societas, which in turn was derived from the noun socius meaning comrade, friend, ally, used to describe a bond or interaction between parties that are friendly, or at least civil. Without an article, the term can refer to the entirety of humanity, although those who are unfriendly or uncivil to the remainder of society in this sense may be deemed to be antisocial. Adam Smith wrote that a society may subsist among different men, as among different merchants, from a sense of its utility without any mutual love or affection, if only they refrain from doing injury to each other.”

Social norms

As described online, “Social norms or mores are the rules of behavior that are considered acceptable in a group or society. People who do not follow these norms may be shunned or suffer some kind of consequence. Norms change according to the environment or situation and may change or be modified over time.”

“Norms running counter to the behaviors of the overarching society or culture may be transmitted and maintained within small subgroups of society.”

Norms include fundamental knowledge about what a person does and they should do based on other’s point of view. Norms is a standard that governs an individual’s behavior in a society.


Deviance is an act or behavior that violate social norms. It is usually the cause of disapproval from majority of people in the society.

“Norms are rules and expectations by which members of society are conventionally guided. Deviance is an absence of conformity to these norms. Social norms differ from culture to culture. For example, a deviant act can be committed in one society that breaks a social norm there, but may be normal for another society.”

As Wikipedia stated, “Viewing deviance as a violation of social norms, sociologists have characterized it as “any thought, feeling, or action that members of a social group judge to be a violation of their values or rules “or group” conduct, that violates definitions of appropriate and inappropriate conduct shared by the members of a social system. The departure of certain types of behavior from the norms of a particular society at a particular time and “violation of certain types of group norms where behavior is in a disapproved direction and of sufficient degree to exceed the tolerance limit of the community.”

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