Deviance theories: Part one

Still from documentary ‘A Very British Gangster’ – SBS

A deviance essay requires you to explain deviance using a range of sociological theories. In the past two lessons we have looked at Functionalist theories, including:

  • Traditional functionalist theory (Durkheim)
  • Anomie theory, specifically known as Structural-strain theory (Merton)
  • Delinquent Subculture theory (Cohen)
  • Cultural-transmission theory, specifically Differential Association theory (Sutherland) This theory is sometimes viewed as an interactionist theory. 


VanKriekenDeviance (Functionalist theories plus more)

Cohen Delinquent Subculture

Gang babes love to kill (This is a case study about female gangs in New York City)

Gang babes love to kill page 2

RobertsonDeviance (Differential Association theory plus more)



The mid year exam and end of year exam require you to choose between writing an essay on socialisation and deviance. Thursday’s lesson symbolised our first day of looking at the topic of deviance. The lesson involved looking at definitions of deviance and understanding the fact that deviance is relative.

 Deviance (Part 1 of PowerPoint)