A banner with block letters reading "lecture activity" in the top left corner. In the center of the page, the title, "what is deviant behavior?" is on top of a graphic of a list with two figures, the one on the left of the list holding a pencil. To the left of the list, under the block letters, there is a speedometer on fire, then a stick figure adults smoking a cigarette around a stick figure baby playing with blocks. To the right of the list, there is a crime scene body diagram, a person masking, a clock checking the time and running (as if late), and a pole dancer.

What Behaviors do you Consider Deviant?

The following activity was planned for use during a lecture introducing the sociological study of deviance and social control. You can view the example lecture HERE. You are welcome to use the sample lecture, adapt the sample lecture, or ditch the sample lecture keeping only the activity–do what makes the most sense for your course and your students.

Expected duration for step 3, “After the lecture,” for a class of 45 students

20 Minutes

Before the lecture – Write down 5 behaviors you would consider deviant
During the lecture – Think about the behaviors you listed; what kind of deviance are these, and why would you consider them deviant?
After the lecture (For Instructors/Classroom Settings) –
1) Everyone take a few minutes to rank the behaviors you listed
from least deviant (1) to most deviant (5)
2) Have each student report their “most” deviant behavior,
note the behaviors, giving 5 points for each mention of the behavior
3) Ask if anyone listed the behaviors but ranked them 1-4. Give additional
points to the behaviors for each listing, selecting the number of points
corresponding to the ranking for each additional mention.
4) Repeat steps 2 and 3 for the remaining listed deviant behaviors starting
with ranking 4, then 3, 2, and 1, until each student has reported all 5
of their listed deviant behaviors.
5) Calculate the total points for each behavior.
6) Rank the full list of behaviors from most deviant (highest points) to least
deviant (lowest points).
7) Class Discussion –
– What kind of deviance are these behaviors?
– Why are these behaviors considered deviant?
– Are these behaviors considered more deviant in certain contexts? Why?
– How are these behaviors sanctioned (punished, corrected)?
– Do you agree with this rank-ordering of deviant behaviors?
– What changes would you make?
– Are there any highly deviant behaviors that are missing from the list?

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