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Provide an example of a human behavior that is considered deviant in one society, but is not considered deviant in others

What are the factors that have contributed to this society's perspective of the
deviant behavior? Why does this society consider the behavior to be deviant but
other societies do not?

8 Answers by Expert Tutors

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Sabrina L. | Italian tutor, native speaker. Italian tutor, native speaker.
I belive the consumption of Marjuana is considered deviant by a large number of societies, while in the country of Jamaica, the Rastafarian faith accepts its consumption and actually promotes it. People of the Rastafarian faith believe that the "higher' one is, the closer he/she is to God.
Veronica D. | All K-6 subjects including Spanish and college level PsychologyAll K-6 subjects including Spanish and c...

To deviate from societal "norm" is to, in my opinion, fluctuate from what society deems acceptable at that time.  I believe the deciding factor on "normal" is by the group or groups which hold majority.  For example:  At one time in this country it was considered taboo or deviant to mark the body with tattoos.  The majority of society was over the age of the ones wearing the markings.  This act was considered deviant and carried consequences as many felt it was an indication of lack of trustworthiness and self-respect.  Today, however, as the majority has shifted, it is not uncommon to see doctors, lawyers, educators, and even politicians bearing tattoos.  Do some research on primitive societies and cultures and compare their "norm" to your own.  Do you see any variations on what that culture considers to be normal that your personal culture considers deviant?  Another had posted cannibalism as an example, and this was a great example.  For some cultures eating human flesh is normal, but in others, it is considered deviant.   

Bradley C. | Government, Political Science, and American HistoryGovernment, Political Science, and Ameri...

Many of these answers miss what the label "deviant" implies: a variation or deviation (hence the title deviant) from societal norms of behavior (a norm is something that should be in a society).  Norms are often created and enforced through religious doctrine and the broader society's acceptance of that doctrine.  One great example of this is the debate surrounding homosexuality in the United States since the end of World War II.  Prior to 1973, homosexuality was considered a deviant behavior because it varied from proscribed gender and sexual norms.  People who identified with same sex attraction were accused of deviant behavior and often alienated from the broader, "heterosexual" society.  Over the years perceptions of same sex attraction have changed and it has become a more accepted aspect of Western culture as religiosity in the United States, Europe, Canada, Australia, Latin and South America has decreased.  In the Middle East, where homosexuality is still considered deviant behavior, religiosity is quite high and thus religious officials have greater influence to shape the norms of society such as what constitutes deviant behavior.

Margie H. | Rounded Educ - MS in Psych by Sept.; study/tests/english/aspergerRounded Educ - MS in Psych by Sept.; stu...

Consider the One Chile Policy in China, passed in 1978 limiting China's urban ethnic Han couples to one child. Social Engineering at it's finest. For over 30 years there have been three person families, only child in most households, no siblings, aunt, uncles... For those that had another child without permit or exception to the rules of: Minorities (<10% pop) allowed more children, Rural populations allowed 2 children, if both parents were results of the Law or 'One Child Parents' then 2 children are permitted, and if a child is disabled or dies then the couple is allowed another child. The rivers are commonly floating with female infants, a result of infanticide due to desires for sons to carry family names; then penalized thousands of dollars - generally equal to 3 years of wages. Forced abortions and sterilizations are common. The couple may also be subject to employment termination, while couples volunteering to abide by the policy are awarded a Certificate or Honor.

In most any other place in the world, such practices are beyond deviant; they are outright illegal and barbaric. China is definitely a society of deviancy compared to the societal perspectives in the West.

Nichole C. | Excellent English Tutor Specializing in Essays and WritingExcellent English Tutor Specializing in ...
4.8 4.8 (13 lesson ratings) (13)

Another interesting example would be that of cannibalism. The vast majority of societies regard cannibalism with a marked disdain, and refer to those who do it as the worst of offenders (consider Hannibal Lecter). There are a very few societies where cannibalism is ritually required as part of the funeral ceremonies after the death of a person. Not to eat a person who has died is considered the greatest slight to a person, their soul is considered carried on in those who partake of the person's flesh.

Andrea C. | Effective, Experienced, CaringEffective, Experienced, Caring
5.0 5.0 (1 lesson ratings) (1)

I know this doesn't answer your question, but a great piece of literature with this theme is Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart.  It is an amazing book. 

Briana K. | College Biology Major Ready to Help in Math, Science, or English!College Biology Major Ready to Help in M...
5.0 5.0 (9 lesson ratings) (9)

Gregory gave you an excellent example. Another example would be a woman walking around in middle eastern countries in shorts and a t-shirt is considered deviant, while in the U.S. it is quite normal. As Gregory talked about, you will find many deviant behaviors in religious societies. There are many "Christians" who have a child out of wedlock, speak God's name in vain, or even to extreme values, lie and cheat. These are all deviant behaviors of their religion. 

Gregory B. | Spanish/English/Writing/Grammar/Algebra Tutor Spanish/English/Writing/Grammar/Algebra ...

A given society's perception of what constitutes deviant behavior is generally derived from logistical considerations. Most societies frown upon excessive sexual promiscuity because it causes difficulties with respect to raising children as well as increased risk of disease transmission. This condemnation is often codified inside of a mythological or religious systems in order to facilitate understanding and exacerbate fear of disobedience. In Islamic and in many Christian religious systems, premarital sex is prohibited. In most societies, however, there is no explicit prohibition of such activity; individuals are instead educated about the dangers and granted license to decide for themselves what is acceptable.