Social Adaptation

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Social Adaptation


the adjustment of individual and group behavior to conform with the prevailing system of norms and values in a given society, class, or social group. Social adaptation occurs in the process of socialization and also with the aid of mechanisms of social control, which include social pressure and state regulation.

Social adaptation becomes increasingly significant when social change affects important aspects of life over comparatively short periods of time. Such changes include migration, changes in age, rapid industrial development, and major shifts of the population from the country to the city.

In antagonistic societies, the individual may find himself unable to cope with life, to react properly to social change and to the increasingly complex demands of society, or to achieve his objectives within prescribed norms. Consequently, deviant behavior, including unlawful behavior, frequently results.

With the elimination of class antagonisms in socialist society, the process of social adaptation has undergone fundamental changes. Relationships between the individual and the group are characterized primarily by the individual’s conscious and voluntary compliance with social norms, including legal norms, and with the rules of morality and of the socialist community.

In socialist society, the process of social adaptation requires study and concentrated action. The failure of certain individuals to adapt, combined with specific unfavorable situations, may adversely affect the individual’s conduct. It is useful to study crime from the point of view of unsatisfactory social adaptation in order to understand the causes of crime and to fight crime effectively.


Iakovlev, A. M. Prestupnost’ i sotsial’naia psikhologiia. Moscow, 1971.
Chelovek i obshchestvo: Problemy sotsializatsii individa. Leningrad, 1971. (Uchenye zapiski Nil kompleksnykh sotsial’nykh issledovanii, fasc. 9.)
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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