Encyclopedia of Critical Psychology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Teo


Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-5583-7_75

Introduction and Definition

The notion of deviance as a descriptive label for varieties of human thought, feeling, and behavior emerged and evolved specifically within the field of sociology beginning in the mid-twentieth century. The “attitudes,” “behaviors,” and “conditions” (Adler & Adler, 2006) that would come to be classified and studied as “deviant” had theretofore been subject of a variety of descriptive terms and associated theoretical content from within a variety of disciplines (e.g., “moral insanity,” “degeneracy,” “feeblemindedness,” and more inclusive terms such as “psychopathology”). From its origins, the concept of deviance promised organizational clarity. Forms and patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving as diverse as mental illness, illicit drug use, violent crime, and atypical sexual behavior could be studied and digested more systematically with their shared features delineated and placed within a coherent framework (e.g., Best, 2004). While the term “deviance”...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Criminal Justice StudiesBradley UniversityPeoriaUSA