In criminology, political deviance is viewed as a broad concept that covers the definitions of behavior perpetrated by those in power or by those striving for social change. Broadly, political deviance can be defined as criminal behavior that transgresses the limits of aspects considered politically possible. Political deviance is considered a tricky subject for politicians and citizens alike as the burden of responsibility for ‘possible’ behavior is often tricky to define. In theory, all behavior that transgresses the limits of what is politically possible can be judged as deviant, despite the intentions or harm they create. Then again, dominant groups can set rules & standards and then label inferior/dominated groups as deviant for an excuse to police them.
For example, atheists, anti-capitalists, or even white supremacists can be said to be ‘in the same boat’ since their positions might not be wholesomely accepted by the politics of society. Since politics defines what is considered deviant or moral, the politics of deviance prove hard to decipher. Another example is when citizens call for a similar goal, action or change, through civil disobedience or terrorism. While both civil disobedience and terrorism aim to create social change, they are differentiated by the approaches or means used to achieve these goals. In the political arena, therefore, political deviance can prove tricky to define or even understand without taking the dynamics of power into account.
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