Course Title: Deviance, Control and Conflict

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Deviance, Control and Conflict

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


330H Social Science & Planning


Sem 1 2006


City Campus


365H Global, Urban and Social Studies


Sem 1 2007,
Sem 1 2008,
Sem 1 2010,
Sem 2 2011,
Sem 2 2017,
Sem 2 2019,
Sem 1 2023

Course Coordinator: Dr Peta Malins

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 2110

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 37.4.19

Course Coordinator Availability: By appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

In this course you will explore the idea of social ‘deviance’, with a focus on the ways that normality and difference are controlled and contested in society. You will learn about different sociological approaches to deviance, with a particular focus on constructivist perspectives and associated ideas of ‘criminalisation’, ‘pathologisation’ and ‘labelling’. You will learn to identify various forms of power in society and to think critically about their relationship to deviance. Categories of gender, race and class will be considered alongside those of sexuality, disability, Aboriginality, youth and addiction, to explore how bodies are governed and policed in society, as well as how they resist. You will also learn to think critically about the role that justice and welfare professionals play in the creation and administration of formal and informal ‘rules’ in society, and through this, the role they might play not only in the control of deviance, but also its creation.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of the idea of ‘deviance’ as a relative, contested term;
  • Identify, differentiate and apply various sociological approaches to understanding deviance, normality and power;
  • Research and critically assess an example of deviance being created, controlled and contested in society;
  • Reflect upon and discuss the role that justice and welfare professionals play in relation to deviance;
  • Examine the broad ethical implications of the creation, control and contestation of normality and difference in society.

Overview of Learning Activities

You will be engaged in learning via a range of activities, with a focus on face to face engagement in lectorials (lecture/tutorial combined workshops), alongside active engagement with set readings. You will be expected to prepare for lectorials by completing required readings, which will also enable you to make informed contributions to class discussion and activities. Lectorials will also include activities designed to help you prepare for assessments.

Overview of Learning Resources

RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this course through our online systems. Set readings will be made available electronically.

Overview of Assessment

You will be assessed on how well you meet the course’s learning outcomes and on your development against the program capabilities. Assessments may include observational or reflective tasks, research essays, media analyses, quizzes, exams. Feedback will be given on all assessment tasks.

  • If you have a long term medical condition and/or disability it may be possible to negotiate to vary aspects of the learning or assessment methods. You can contact the program coordinator or the Disability Liaison Unit if you would like to find out more.
  • A student charter summarises your responsibilities as an RMIT student as well as those of your teachers. Your course assessment conforms to RMIT assessment principles, regulations, policies, procedures and instructions which are available for review online: