Theoretical Perspectives on Deviance

Theoretical Perspectives on Deviance

Protesters are shown here wearing yellow chicken costumers and holding PETA signs that say “I Am Not a Nugget” and “Stop McCruelty.”
Functionalists believe that deviance plays an important role in society and can be used to challenge people’s views. Protesters, such as these PETA members, often use this method to draw attention to their cause. (Photo courtesy of David Shankbone/flickr)

Why does deviance occur? How does it affect a society? Since the early days of sociology, scholars have developed theories that attempt to explain what deviance and crime mean to society. These theories can be grouped according to the three major sociological paradigms: functionalism, symbolic interactionism, and conflict theory.

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