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Relativity of Deviance
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relativity of deviance

How to Cite

Grau, Amy. 2018. “Relativity of Deviance”. TRAILS: Teaching Resources and Innovations Library for Sociology, April. Washington DC: American Sociological Association.


A group based activity that challenges students to think about the relativity or degrees of deviance through manipulation of the context in which the deviance occurs. Students are exposed to many examples of the concept of the relativity of deviance and thus reflect over their own judgments about acts of deviance. The activity is adaptable to encourage...

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Subject Area(s):
Deviant Behavior/Social Disorganization
Resource Type(s):
Class Activity
Class Level(s):
Any Level
Class Size(s):

Usage Notes

• Break students in groups. It works best if students are in groups ranging in size from 4 to 6 persons. Students should work in groups for the duration of the activity.
• It is important to stress to students not to google any of the terms, and instead have ready definitions for any terms that students may not know. See notes...

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Learning Goals and Assessments

Learning Goal(s):

  1. 1. Students will articulate what it means for deviance to be relative.
  2. 2. Students will demonstrate the relativity of deviance.
  3. 3. Students will reflect upon what factors influence the relativity of deviance.

Goal Assessment(s):

  1. 1. Students will work together to define or respond to discussion questions on paper and/or verbally.
  2. 2. Students will work together to rank acts of deviance based upon context and explain what influenced their decisions to assign that rank ordering.
  3. 3. Students will work together to respond to in class on paper or verbally, or later journal in response to discussion questions.

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Requires Subscription DOCX

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