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What are examples of deviant acts?

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Quick Answer

Examples of deviant acts include arson, robbery, assault, invading a person's personal space and picking one's nose in public. Deviant acts are classified into two categories, namely formal and informal. Formal deviance relates to criminal acts as dictated by the law, while informal deviance is dictated by social norms.

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Full Answer

A deviant act is any act that goes against the law or the acceptable social norms in a community. Formal deviant acts such as robbery, rape and murder are punishable by the law. A person caught engaging in such acts is prosecuted in court and may go to jail, pay a fine or serve a community service sentence. Laws against formal deviant acts are strictly enforced, through the police and other law-enforcing agencies.

Informal deviant acts have fewer consequences and may not cause serious harm to the victims. While considered offensive, they may not earn any severe punishment. Various societies have differing social norms, and an act that is considered deviant in one community could be acceptable in another, says Boundless. Some communities have specific punishments for certain informal deviant acts, while others have none. The strictness with which a deviant act is treated depends on the age of the perpetrator, the location and the social norms that prevail in that culture, claims SparkNotes.

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