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Basic definitions and theories


Any behaviour that violates social norms, and is usually odf sufficient severity to warrant disapporval from the majority of society


The violation of a society's formally enacted criminal law

Social control:

Attempts by society to control thoughts and behaviours of individuals

Criminal justice system:

A formal response by police, courts and prison officials in regards to alleged violations of the law

Labelling theory:

The idea that deviance comes from society's reactioons rather than the actions of an individual


A powerfully negative label that greatly changes a person's self concept and social identity

Medicalisation of deviance:

The transformation of moral and legal deviance into a medical tradition

White-collar crime:

Crime committed by people of high social rank during the course of their occupation


An act of moral vengeance by which society makes the offender suffer as much as the victim


The attempt to discourage criminality by using punishment


A program for reforming the offender, to prevent repeat offences


Later offences committed by those previously convicted of crimes

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