Deviance is in the Eye of the Beholder

Not only beauty but also deviance is in the eye of the beholder, which is what many criminologists say. However, when they refer to deviance, they do not mean that everything is relative. There are categories of deviance that set the standards whether or not an act can be considered as criminal. Moreover, they give the context the freedom to define what behavior is fit for punishment or not; and that human behavior depends on the motives why they are being enacted.

Consequently, there are two defining ideas of deviance: an act can be criminal and deviant; and an act can be deviant but not criminal. In the first category, murder is rigidly and definitely included because it is a criminal act more than that it is a social and moral deviancy. Killing a person is a criminal act and it is being deviant because it is not a norm to kill a person. On the other hand, in some contexts, like in tribal where there is a head hunting season and murdering people is just part of their culture. But in a general and most acceptable context, murder is criminal deviancy.

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The second category is more subjective. For example, in a society where norms are very patriarchal and where the standards of dressing is set, men dressing as women are social deviancy but is not considered a criminal act. Other examples of such deviance come with breaking religious rules. When a member breaks a rule in his or her religious he or she is not subject to the punishment of the social law rather limited to the religious laws. What is a deviant to one organization may not be taken against a person in other organizations. The subjectivity of the category depends on the context.

As such, when a deviancy is committed, it is not always subjected in the eyes of the criminologists to consider as a criminal act; it is still in the eyes of the beholder.

 

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