deference


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deference

  1. an attitude assumed to be based on the belief that there is a natural order of inferiority and superiority in which the inferior recognize the right of the superior to rule.
  2. the outcome of a power relationship requiring a submissive response from a subordinated actor or group.
Most early work carried out within the framework of definition i was inspired by POLITICAL SCIENCE studies in the tradition of Bagehot (a 19th-century social commentator who, in The English Constitution, ascribed the relative stability of British society to its essentially deferential and, hence, élitist character). A number of voting and attitude studies used the notion of deference, in explanations of working-class VOTING BEHAVIOUR in the 1950s when manual workers’ votes had clearly served to maintain Conservative governments in power. These studies were criticized on both operational and theoretical grounds. Operationally the studies employed crude indicators of ‘deference’ (e.g. McKenzie and Silver, 1968, labelled as ‘deferential’ all respondents who indicated a preference in general terms for a public-school-educated rather than a grammar-school-educated candidate for political office). Theoretically, the studies failed to explore with any precision the social structural and ‘relational’ dimensions of deference.

These dimensions are uppermost in sense 2 of deference, e.g. as formulated by H. Newby (1977). Drawing on a variety of earlier anthropological and historical studies, which indicated that deference did not always involve ‘feelings of inferiority’ but arose simply from a relationship of subordination and POWER, Newby was able to demonstrate the existence of deference in this sense in his study of agricultural workers. Thus for Newby deference is a ‘form of social interaction which occurs in situations involving the exercise of traditional authority.’ Deference, then, is better seen as conformity to a set of social expectations, to a ROLE, within a power structure, than merely as an attitude (see also G. Lenski, 1966). See also CLASS IMAGERY.

References in classic literature ?
At home they might hear political and ecclesiastical secrets intended not for them but for their husbands and brothers, and might even issue commands in the name of a priestly Circle; out of doors the striking combination of red and green, without addition of any other colours, would be sure to lead the common people into endless mistakes, and the Women would gain whatever the Circles lost, in the deference of the passers by.
The dark deference of fear and slavery, my friend," observed the Marquis, "will keep the dogs obedient to the whip, as long as this roof," looking up to it, "shuts out the sky.
I had invariably noticed a certain degree of deference paid to him by all with whom I had ever seen him brought in contact; but when I remembered that my wanderings had been confined to a limited portion of the valley, and that towards the sea a number of distinguished chiefs resided, some of whom had separately visited me at Marheyo's house, and whom, until the Festival, I had never seen in the company of Mehevi, I felt disposed to believe that his rank after all might not be particularly elevated.
A secretary, with the good-humored deference common to every one in Stepan Arkadyevitch's office, came up with papers, and began to speak in the familiar and easy tone which had been introduced by Stepan Arkadyevitch.
The descendants of these simple and single-minded provincials have been content to reject the ordinary and artificial means by which honours have been perpetuated in families, and have substituted a standard which brings the individual himself to the ordeal of the public estimation, paying as little deference as may be to those who have gone before him.
His deference to this particular branch of science had induced him to listen to the application of a medical man, whose thirst for natural history had led him to the desire of profiting by the migratory propensities of the squatter.
She was not struck by any thing remarkably clever in Miss Smith's conversation, but she found her altogether very engagingnot inconveniently shy, not unwilling to talkand yet so far from pushing, shewing so proper and becoming a deference, seeming so pleasantly grateful for being admitted to Hartfield, and so artlessly impressed by the appearance of every thing in so superior a style to what she had been used to, that she must have good sense, and deserve encouragement.
His behaviour to her in this, as well as in every other particular, his open pleasure in meeting her after an absence of only ten days, his readiness to converse with her, and his deference for her opinion, might very well justify Mrs.
In short, Sancho, I would have thee tell me all that has come to thine ears on this subject; and thou art to tell me, without adding anything to the good or taking away anything from the bad; for it is the duty of loyal vassals to tell the truth to their lords just as it is and in its proper shape, not allowing flattery to add to it or any idle deference to lessen it.
The first three remained constantly in a small waiting-room, ready to obey the summons of a small golden bell, or to receive the orders of the Romaic slave, who knew just enough French to be able to transmit her mistress's wishes to the three other waiting-women; the latter had received most peremptory instructions from Monte Cristo to treat Haidee with all the deference they would observe to a queen.
Elizabeth was chiefly struck by his extraordinary deference for Lady Catherine, and his kind intention of christening, marrying, and burying his parishioners whenever it were required.
Based on 1,558 agency interpretations the circuit courts reviewed from 2003 through 2013 (where they cited Chevron), we found that the circuit courts overall upheld 71% of interpretations and applied Chevron deference 77% of the time.