Social variance as it exists between conformity and deviance: Following some advice from Ogburn*

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Ralph G. O'Sullivan


*Originally printed in Free Inquiry in Creative Sociology 2007 35(1).

The purpose of this article is to introduce social variance as the "stuff'' that
exists between conformity and deviance in modern sociology. We often overemphasize the either-or qualities of conformity and deviance, presuming that nothing lies between them. A foot-long ruler is not intended to look at 0 or 12 on a stick, so why do we do that very thing? By borrowing generously from novels, distance measurements and art, social variance represents aberrations from conformity and from deviance as a new subject in a discipline which has been dedicated to traditional definitions, dualisms, and labeling theory.

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