In other words, this is the first stage of deviant behaviour. At this stage, the deviance goes relatively unnoticed, and there is a little social reaction or mild corrective actions. This is very common in society, and most of us may have taken part in this stage. For example, teenagers smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol with their friends is primary deviance. Furthermore, the influence of parents and peers is a major factor in primary deviance.

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Deviance is a sociological term which suggests an unaccepted behavior of a person or a group of people in a particular community. Each and every community has its own values and norms. All the citizens are expected to adhere to these value systems and those who go against these are called deviants. The deviants violate the social norms and there is always a rivalry between the deviant and the norm system.

It was Edwin Lemert who introduced primary and secondary deviance as a part of his labeling theory. Now, we will look at these two terms, primary deviance and secondary deviance, in detail. What is Primary Deviance?

As a result, the person does not perceive it negatively. For example, a young boy may smoke cigarettes if his peer group also smokes. Here, the boy performs this action together with others and does not see it wrong. This is an instance where we can see primary deviance. If the particular community asks the boy to stop smoking and if the boy listens to the society, accepting the social norm, the boy is not labeled as a deviant.

Nevertheless, if the boy disagrees and continues to smoke, he will be penalized in the community. If the boy does not stop smoking even after the punishments, there we can see the secondary deviance.

What is Secondary Deviance? If we analyse the same example that we took above, the boy has two options as to stop smoking or to continue doing it regardless of the social norms. If the boy chooses the second option, the society will punish him and label him as a deviant. However, t he boy can still carry on his practice and there arises secondary deviance.

What is the difference between Primary and Secondary Deviance? For Edwin Lemert, primary and secondary deviances are the ways to explain the labeling process.

It is after the primary deviance that a person can be labeled or not. When we analyse the similarities and differences between primary and secondary deviance, we can see that in both cases there is a violation of social norms. Also, the actor can be stopped committing the deviant act only after the primary deviance. Likewise, primary deviance and secondary deviance have their own functions.

The important thing we should remember is that a deviant in one community may not be a deviant in anther community. That is because each society has its own norm system and it might differ from other societies.

Smoking might be a deviant act in one community, but it may be accepted in another community. Further, the community has a big responsibility to stop deviant acts in their primary stages and not let the actors be criminals. Related posts:.



Tagis The Social Learning theory theorizes that deviant behavior is learned through Social Interactions with other people. Views Read Edit View history. Primary Deviance is the initial stage in defining deviant behavior. In that very moment, a person is engaging in secondary deviance and it is said that they start following a more deviant path, or a deviant career — would be a set of roles shaped by the reactions of others in different situations. This is why it is vital the Parent-Child bond is strong because it will have an ultimate influence on the peers they choose and will have an influence on if they choose to engage in primary deviant behaviors as a juvenile.


Lemert, Edwin M.: Primary and Secondary Deviance



primary and secondary deviation


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