What is crime? What is Deviance?

Begin by asking students to write down their own definition of the term ‘crime’. Share individual definitions in small groups and decide upon one definition (perhaps a combination of different contributions). Then ask students to consider the term ‘deviance’ and the ways in which this can differ from crime.

Students can then work in groups to draw out two over-lapping circles where one circle contains examples of crimes, the second circle examples of deviance and the over-lapping part can be acts which are both criminal and deviant. Useful examples can be found in the introductory six slides contained within this presentation (students can initially find it difficult to think of acts which are criminal but not deviant):

Discover More Sociology crime and deviance
A useful ‘what is deviance?’ activity can also be found here:

Discover More ‘what is deviance?’ in-class activity
In this activity, students are asked to identify and categorise deviant acts on a scale (handouts provided in the link).


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