In sociology, the fact of interaction between individuals defines the aspects of the examination of a society as a whole. Both, deviance and crime look at cultural norms and the way they change over time and how individuals and a society responds to these norms. Deviance and crimes vary among communities, and the primary task for sociologists is to look at these reactions to those impacts.
Deviance may be defined as a behavior that violates expected rules and norms. In other words, one can consider deviance as a significant deflection from social expectations. While examining the case, sociologists focus on social changes instead of personalities of individuals.
The context of deviance varies from a community to community. Mainly, what is considered deviant for one group may not fit the case of the other? Thus, sociologists stress on the fact that established rules are norms are created by a society. The role of individual imposture is minimal while examining a deviance. So, deviance locates in a social response of a group or a community to behavior of others.
Sociologists operate with the term “crime” to complete the discussion of deviance due to the fact that crime is any act that violates written criminal law. Usually, society perceives such deviances as robbery, assault, burglary as crimes. However, there are crimes that may not be considered as deviant due to a single fact of violating the law and the absence of behavioral reasoning. Thus, not all deviant cases shall be regarded as criminal.
So, to understand the difference between the two one shall remember that deviance contains behavior that is different from a standard set of norms in the society. In turn, crime consists of the action of breaking the law.
A modern American economist Gary Becker proposed an economic theory that explains the nature of the crime. He acknowledged the fact that many people function under high moral and ethical constraint but criminals are driven by the benefits of their action rather than a threat of the probability of being caught or the fact of potential punishment. In his theory, he used a public policy perspective to explain the fact of committing a crime. Gary Becker concluded that the best decision to resolve the deviance would be to maximize the fine and minimize surveillance.
Unlike Gary Becker, an Edwin Sutherland focused on a development of habitual patterns of criminology that arises from an interaction between those who commit crimes and the rest who do not. The structural element of the theory emphasized that the conflict and a social disorganization are the primary causes of crime due to the fact of determining the actions people usually commit. Edwin Sutherland stressed the importance of a social class as a relevant factor for committing a crime. He claimed that a person of a higher social status was more likely to commit an offense. Also, he stated that the origins of deviant behavior came from a legitimate world but were applied in a wrong or a negative context.
A criminologist Trevis Hirshi developed a theory of a general theory of crime or a self-control theory of crime. The primary claim of the theory was that individuals who faced ineffective parenting before the age of eight could control themselves less than individuals of the same age who were provided a proper parenting.
To conclude, all of the theories look at the issue from different perspectives. Each of the analyzes presented by the economists and criminologists are rather complementary in understanding the phenomenon of deviance and crime from a sociological viewpoint.