deference(redirected from deferences)
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- 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.
- the outcome of a power relationship requiring a submissive response from a subordinated actor or group.
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.