In this unit students explore the concepts of deviance and crime. The study of these concepts from a sociological perspective involves ascertaining the types and degree of rule breaking behaviour, examining traditional views of criminality and deviance and analysing why people commit crimes or engage in deviant behaviour. It also involves consideration of the justice system, how the understanding of crime and deviance has changed over time, and the relationship between crime and other aspects of a society, such as gender and ethnicity. 

In Area of Study 1 students explore the concept of deviance. There are different explanations of what constitutes deviant behaviour. Generally, it is defined as involving actions that are considered to be outside the normal range of behaviour according to the majority of members of a society. Students investigate the functionalist, interactionist, social control and positive theories of deviance. Students also explore the phenomenon known as moral panic. This refers to the belief that a subculture or group poses a threat to the social values and culture of broader society. The event is often presented in a stereotypical fashion by the mass media.

In Area of Study 2, students investigate crime and punishment. They explore patterns of crime and consider the significance of a range of factors, such as class, gender, age, race and ethnicity. Students explore different methods of punishment and the extent to which each of these methods serves its aims.

This unit is delivered in Year 11.

Unit details

Study level:
Vocational and further education (TAFE)
Unit code:


Assessment tasks will be designed to reinforce and extend knowledge in accordance with each unit's learning outcomes, including the setting of practical application tasks designed to provide evidence of competence outcomes, within periodic and scheduled timelines. Students will be expected to demonstrate the following knowledge: Outcome 1 On completion of this unit the student should be able to analyse a range of sociological theories explaining deviant behaviour and the impact of moral panic on those considered deviant. Outcome 2 On completion of this unit the student should be able to discuss crime in Australia and evaluate the effectiveness of methods of punishment in the judicial system for shaping human behaviour.Assessment will follow the requirements set out in the VCE Sociology Study Guide: The award of satisfactory completion for a unit is based on whether the student has demonstrated the set of outcomes specified for the unit. A variety of learning activities and assessment tasks will provide a range of opportunities for students to demonstrate the key knowledge and key skills in the outcomes. Assessment will be a part of the regular teaching and learning program and will be completed mainly in class and within a limited time-frame. All assessments at Units 1 and 2 are school-based. For this unit students are required to demonstrate achievement of two outcomes. As a set these outcomes encompass all areas of study in the unit.

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