• Demonstrate a sound understanding of the nature of deviance its definition(s), and its impact(s) on ‘deviants’ and the wider society (Discipline Knowledge, Professional Ethics, Communication and Collaboration)
  • Acquire a broad appreciation of criminological perspectives on deviance (Discipline Knowledge, Communication and Collaboration
  • Explore and investigate the effect of folk and professional conceptions of ‘deviance’ and ‘deviants’ on social, criminal, welfare, and business policies in law and government programs (Discipline Knowledge, Professional Ethics, Critical Thinking and Basic Research Skills)
  • Critically evaluate how deviant behaviours and groups are constructed, managed and contested (Discipline Knowledge, Professional Ethics, Critical Thinking and Basic Research Skills

Propose strategies to manage real world social problems (Critical Thinking, Basic Research Skills Problem Solving)

Students are asked to examine a real world and/or ‘everyday’ act of deviance (from a list provided: see Assessment 1 under) and critically evaluate its definition/s, social impacts and management. Drawing on different perspectives in the social sciences, students will be required to interpret the activity and make proposals as to whether the activity needs to be controlled/regulated or otherwise socially managed. Students can build on one of the activities chosen for the first assessment item, but are also free to change to a different deviant activity from the list provided for Assessment 1.


This assement includes examining an act of deviance, undertaking a review of the literature and preparing a written essay.

Students will need to find a combination of scholarly and popular sources relevant to the deviant activity selected/observed.

The project should follow an essay structure with an introduction, body and conclusion. Students are encouraged to use subheadings to assist in structuring their essays.


The introduction should introduce and describe the act of deviance that will be examined and the structure of the essay/main arguments should be outlined.


The body should follow a logical paragraph structure and critically evaluate the definition of the social problem, social impacts, and social responses/management. Different (and competing) explanations and responses should be considered, and students should critically evaluate positive and negative aspects or consequences of the potential responses. Students should support their arguments with reference to relevant evidence and literature.


The conclusion should provide a summary of the main arguments explored, leading to a recommendation of the best response to the deviant activity.


Students are encouraged to structure their essays with subheadings. Suggested structure and subheadings are as follows:


  1. Introduction
  2. Definition/s
  3. Social impacts
  4. Social responses and management
  5. Recommendations
  6. Conclusion

Assessment 1 (mentioned above)

Students should note that there are eight topics (pairs of “deviant activities”) from which students are to choose one; these are as follows:

(1) Tobacco smoking versus illicit drug use


(2) Tattooing versus vandalism


(3) Welfare dependency versus corporate crime


(4) Begging/homelessness versus state sanctioned violence


(5) Adultery versus sexual violence


(6) Protesting versus war/genocide


(7) Homosexuality versus homophobic hate crimes


(8) Assisted suicide/euthanasia versus homicide

Once you have selected your two topics, you then need to do some targeted research, critically evaluate the definition/s of each and compare and contrast the two activities in contemporary society. Therefore, your submission should be in three sections (using appropriate subheadings)

Here are a few important points to take note of for your second assessment item. The length of this assessment is 1,500 wordsincluding reference list). It is suggested that students begin working on this submission as soon as they can, as the more time spent researching and preparing your work, the better the final result is likely to be.

Only one of the sixteen topics provided for Assessment 1 is to be chosen for this assessment. Students may choose either of the two “deviant” activities they examined for Assessment 1, or a different activity may be chosen from that list if desired.

Your task is to examine your chosen deviant activity in context and critically evaluate its definition, social impacts and management. Students are encouraged to think of deviance beyond the realms of simply what is legally defined as criminal (you should have ascertained from Assessment 1 that the criminality or otherwise of these different activities is complex and often contested).

Remember that your work should engage with the course content you have studied this semester, in terms of providing the reader with an understanding of how the act is defined as deviant: this may include, for example, some historical and/or cultural background on the activity, and/or evidence as to how the deviance of the activity is contested (differing viewpoints).

Students are advised in the Task Sheet to use six subheadings to help organise their arguments: it is strongly recommended that you follow this suggested structure or something similar.

A range of sources should be used to show breadth of research and to support your arguments as to the different approaches to defining the deviant act, as well as your recommendations for responding to or managing the activity in the future.

You have been provided with ample word range for this assessment (1,500 words including Reference List, +/- 10%) so it is expectedthat all students will remain within this range. Submissions under 1,350 words will be penalised for lack of detail and any content in excess of 1,650 words will not be read by the marker and penalised accordingly. Each submission must feature a title page that includes an exact word count.

All submissions must be with double spacing and 12 point font. Links to Citewrite guides for presentation are provided in the Task Sheet.

Assisted Suicide/Euthanasia versus Homicide

Assisted Suicide/Euthanasia

Assisted suicide, commonly referred to as Euthanasia is the deliberate action of ending a patient’s life to relieve them of pain and suffering especially for those that are terminally ill (Paterson 2012). Whereas some perceive euthanasia as a method of ending life in a less painful manner, others strongly disagree with this perspective arguing it has to make reference to suffering that is intractable. Consequently, both euthanasia and assisted suicide are considered illegal under Australian law even though debate continues on whether to legalize the practice as noted by Brooks (2017). This regards to its social impacts, euthanasia affects the entire society. For example, terminally ill patients are subjected to the pressure of having to make a choice of relieving their families from physical or financial burdens by opting for euthanasia. More importantly, medical research would suffer as physicians focus more on ending patients’ lives rather than research on future cures for the same (Paterson 2012).


This refers the act of one person killing another. Nevertheless, Fairall (2012) argues we should note that not every homicide is considered a criminal offense. For instance, most homicides like manslaughter or murder constitute criminal offenses. However, there are situations where someone kills in self defense, which is justifiable under the law. Essentially, murders and manslaughters constitute illegal killings. The criminality, or lack thereof, of a homicide is usually a matter for the courts to determine based on the circumstances Fairall (2012). With regards to the social impacts of homicide, homicides have a huge psychological effect on the society (UN Habitat 2012). For instance, they destroy the family unit as it robs couples of their spouses, or children of their parents. As a result, the family unit usually goes through rapid changes that surviving members find difficult to cope with. The roles of remaining members change immediately as they have to take responsibilities previously occupied by the deceased like caring and providing for children Fairall (2012).

Comparison of Deviance 

Deviance refers to the recognized contravention of established societal norms as noted by Inderbitzin, Bates and Gainey (2014). Like conformity, deviance is shaped by society. Generally, deviance is based upon three social foundations: social conflict, structural functionalism and symbolic interaction. However, our focus is on the similarities and differences in deviance between euthanasia and homicide.

With regards to the similarity, both euthanasia and homicide qualify as deviant actions owing to the fact that they go against the religious values and customs of most societies. For example, euthanasia is considered a sin by most society as it goes against their religious teachings. For most societies, only the creator has the discretion to take life. Similarly, homicide whether justifiable by law, is considered deviance because it goes contrary to most societies cultural values. As in the case of euthanasia, taking someone else’s life is considered abominable in most societies. In terms of the differences, the only notable distinction between the two comes from the fact that whereas euthanasia is strictly rejected by most societies on religious grounds. The case is different with homicide as society is much more tolerant of people who kill in self-defense meaning such people are rarely labeled as deviant.

Reference list

Brooks, Emily. 2017. “Here are the arguments for and against euthanasia and where it could soon be legal”. The Huffington Post. Accessed March 15, 2017.

Fairall, Paul A. 2012. Homicide: The Laws of Australia,.1st ed. Thomson Reuters Australia.

Inderbitzin, Michelle L, Bates, Kristin A and Gainey, Randy R. 2014. Perspectives on deviance and social control, 1st ed. SAGE Publications.

Paterson, Craig. 2012. Assisted suicide and euthanasia: a natural law ethics approach. 3rd ed. Ashgate Publishing.

UN Habitat. 2012. Enhancing Urban Safety and Security: Global Report on Human Settlements”, Routledge.


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