American Sociological Association

Crime, Law and Deviance

In studying crime and deviance, sociology examines individual and group behaviors by adults and juveniles that violate social norms. These norms range from formally established rules or laws to widely held expectations or standards of conduct. These rules and expectations vary across groups, cultures, and societies.

Sociology studies how laws and social expectations develop and change, how inappropriate and illegal behavior is controlled by formal and informal organizations, and how their violation is handled by government agencies such as welfare, child protection, police, courts, and corrections as well as by social institutions including family, religion, schools, workplaces, and neighborhoods

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