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Deviance by Paul B. Horton

Social deviation or deviation (deviance) is an example of failure to adjust to norms prevailing in a society. The social deviation is not always negative and rejected by society. In certain circumstances, the social deviation is needed by society on innovation and adaptation (Horton, Paul B., and Gerald R. Leslie, 1974).

The characteristics of social deviation are what make it different from the act of violating the law, namely crime, by placing several features that categorize an action as deviation or a person as deviant according to Paul B. Horton (Soekanto, S., Sulistyowati, B., & Waluya , Bagya., & Wrahatnala, Bondet):

1. Society defines behavior as a deviation.

This definition can occur if rules and mutual agreement regarding behavior that society considers right and wrong. Without exact (values ​​and norms, it is (unsupported)impossible to label the behavior as deviance. Because each community has varying values, society's standards and definitions for the same action are not the same. Some communities place strong and firm sanctions on cases of theft but not on other organizations.

2. It is a relative or absolute deviation.

Relative deviation refers to human learners who are not perfect and continue to learn from mistakes. This is said to be comparable because each individual commits deviations with varying frequency and the level of deviation. Some people think LGBT is expected but not with others. Absolute deviation means that every human being will have made deviations in his life. Humans who are too obedient experience difficulties and are rigid in interacting wisely and those who always violate norms become obstacles for a society.

3. The existence of deviant behavior is not always rejected by society.

This can not be separated from the results of irregularities that are not always negative. In a drug search study, scientists use animals as experimental materials, although in the process it is opposed by the animal lover community the results are because it is beneficial to society medically, so the deviations carried out by these researchers are widely accepted. . On the other hand, irregularities that end in harmful or only detrimental to the community will tend to often be denied their existence, such as murder and arson. Society wants something that brings positive benefits for social integration as a whole.

4. Social deviation from an ideal culture with real culture.

Ideal culture is a written or unwritten rule that every member is expected to live by in their social life, such as knocking on doors before entering a room and wearing seat belts for car drivers. While real culture is a social fact that occurs in implementing these community norms, there are still many people who are found who do not comply.

5. There is a norm of avoidance in deviation.

Norms do not always regulate and force people's behavior to conform to social expectations and have a preventive power against the possibility of deviant behavior. This norm is called the standard of avoidance semi-institutionalized because not all people understand and obey it, such as prohibitions or taboos on sexual activity in public. Some groups do not implement it.

6. The social deviation is adaptive.

The adaptive concept in this discussion explains the dynamic nature of society. The community always tries to adapt to the social changes that occur. The adaptation process changes the previous values ​​and norms that function as preferences by the community in defining deviant behavior. Some of the abnormal behaviors that are now considered normal are career women due to the development of a more open mind. The science of society has changed the social system that allows women to self-actualize because such deviations are positive and needed by society's development.


Horton, Paul B., and Gerald R. Leslie. The Sociology of Social Problems: Paul B. Horton Gerald R. Leslie. Prentice-Hall, 1974.

Soekanto, S., Sulistyowati, B. An IntroductionSociology (Revision). Rajawali Pers, 2017.

Waluya, Bagya. Sociology 1: Exploring Social Phenomena in Society. Jakarta: Bookkeeping Center, Ministry of National Education, 2009.

Wrahatnala, Bondet. Sociology 1 for SMA and MA Xclass.Jakarta: Bookkeeping Center of the Ministry of National Education, 2009.

Image by Sammy-Williams from Pixabay.

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