Nonconformity to social norms
Deviance is a common phenomenon in the life of every human being, even in the so-called simple societies. It is always defined from the point of view of particular normative structure, and in a complex society where there are a multiplicity of groups and conflicting normative standards, each member of the society is at some time liable to be considered deviant by one standard or another. Often deviance simply involves conformity to the standards of a subgroup rather than those of the dominant social group. The consequences of deviance from normative standards are varied and may range from a frown to imprisonment or confinement for mental illness. However, people who deviate from social norms are not necessarily (or necessarily considered) mentally ill, nor does deviance necessary entail mental illness. The despised deviant from a particular society or social system may be regarded as a martyr or saint by another ethical philosophy or historical period. Deviance is not inherent in specific behaviour or attitudes but rather is a phenomenon of human interaction in a particular normative setting.