Deviant Behavior

I.     Course Prefix/Number: SOC 220

       Course Name: Deviant Behavior

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite

Recommended: SOC 101

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course uses variety of sociological perspectives to study behaviors commonly labeled deviant because they fall outside societal norms. Content includes process of defining deviance; different forms of deviance such as criminal deviance to mental illness; social causes of deviance; social responses to deviance from stigmatization; systems of social control; reintegration of deviants into society.

IV.   Learning Objectives

  1. The student will be able to define and discuss the concept of social deviance.
  2. The student will be able to compare the different sociological perspectives regarding the causes of deviance.
  3. The student will understand the relative nature of deviance.
  4. The student will be able to describe how deviance is functional and is a normal phenomenon of society.
  5. The student will be knowledgeable about several types of deviant behavior.
  6. The student will be able to differentiate between and describe the major categories of crime.
  7. The student will be able to distinguish between internal and external social controls and how these are used in controlling deviance.
  8. The student will become more aware of the many ways in which people differ, and become less judgmental of those who differ from us.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

  1. Defining Deviance
  2. Sociological Perspectives of Deviance
    1. Labeling theory
    2. Conflict theory
    3. Structural-functional theory
    4. Social learning theory
  3. Measuring Deviance
  4. Crime as Deviance
    1. Juvenile delinquency
    2. Crimes of violence
    3. Property crimes
    4. White-collar crimes
    5. Victimless crimes
  5. Sexual Deviance
    1. Prostitution
    2. Homosexuality
    3. Transvestitism/Transsexualism
    4. Rape
    5. Incest
    6. Pornography
  6. Mental Illness as Deviance
  7. Agents of Social Control
  8. The Future of Deviance

VII.  Methods of Instruction

  1. Lecture
  2. Discussion
  3. Audio-visual materials
  4. Field trips

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

  1. Reading
  2. Writing: Students will be required to write for the class the equivalent of 12-15 typed pages of material that will be graded. This writing may take the form of a research or term paper, summaries of journal articles, and/or a series of shorter, analytical papers.
  3. Field work

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

Representative texts may include:

Clinard, Marshall, B. and Meier, Robert, F. (2008).  Sociology of Deviant Behavior (13th ed.). Belmont, CA: Cengage.

Heitzeg, Nancy A. (1996). Deviance: Rule Makers and Rule Breakers.  Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Co.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

  1. Exams
  2. Research Paper
  3. Field work

XI.   Other Course Information

Attendance required.

Students will be able to take make-up exams if they have an acceptable excuse. Late assignments will be penalized.

Instructional Support Services offers a wide variety of instructional support services for students, including the "College Survival Workshops," which are designed to help students succeed in college course work. Time management, textbook reading, note taking, critical reasoning and test taking are among the topics addressed.

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.