Problem Of Studying Social Deviation And Formation Of Legal Culture Of Youth


In periods of socio-economic instability with the growth of protest social groups, intensifying migration processes, the questions of formation of legal culture of a personality are becoming critical. One of the main indicators of formation of legal culture in society, along with the dynamics of the legal offenses, is the inclination to deviant behavior. As social expectations are diverse and are often considered disputable, to define this or that action as deviant is not an easy task. Dynamism of mental activity of young people makes them equally pliable to socially positive as well as to socially negative deeds. This provision is confirmed by the results of sociological study of social deviations among young people held in 2016. The sociological study revealed the importance of the problem of social deviations among young people, allowed one to rank the main problems, to identify their views on the causes of social deviation and their attitudes towards this phenomenon. The study indicated factors that could reduce the social deviations of youth by the decision of problems of formation of legal culture of society. The article substantiates the increasing role of the state youth policy in the formation of legal culture of the individual in order to maintain social stability.

Keywords: Deviant behaviorlegal culture of a personalityeducationup-bringingyouth


At present, special attention of the scientific community and the authorities attracts the problem of interaction among individuals, social groups and society as a whole (Bryant, 2011). This problem is not unique to public institutions; one can state that it emerged with the advent of society. However, the problem of interaction among individuals, social groups and society as a whole escalates in periods of social instability due to the accelerating dynamics of social development. This situation is typical for modern society.

In addition, it is possible to note that there is interrelation and interdependence of these processes of interaction among individuals, social groups and society and the determination of social development. Many scholars have noted the importance of studying this problem, but, unfortunately, a lasting solution is still far from complete (Sadykova, Khairullina, et al., 2015). It is, therefore, relevant to clarify, to bring a solution to this problem on the basis of all research results.

The current socio-economic condition of society puts some obstacles for sustainable development. The information about the problems of socio-economic development in modern society is constantly received from different sources of mass communication. The intensifying economic crisis leads to escalation of social problems, which are primarily associated with the interaction of the individual and society, assimilation of accepted norms of behavior and rules of cooperation, migration processes (Ustinova et al., 2016).

If we consider these issues together, there is a question of the unity of society, its integrity, development opportunities, and not destabilization. The entry of new groups of people in the current society requires the interpenetration of cultures, their interaction (Tkacheva, 2015). These questions are being raised and studied long enough, but a unified approach and a unified theory to address them have not been not developed yet. The modern system of multiculturalism faces active opposition from traditional, largely archaic cultures that is inevitable.

These processes are not always painless for society and the individual, and can intensify the problems of deviant behavior of individuals and social groups (Ardashkin, & Korniyenko, 2014). The formation of legal culture of personality in the legal culture of the society is intended, primarily, to mitigate the arising socio-economic and cultural contradictions.

Problem Statement

The issue of formation of legal culture as one of the indicators of the stability of society is vital for any state. Thus, legal culture often means the adoption by a society of common rules and norms of interaction and their consistent execution (Tolmacheva, 2014). It does not make sense to talk about society itself without social interaction based on acceptance of the rules and norms of social behavior (ideally by all members of the society or by its largest part). The society, in addition to target-directed and reasonably organized joint activity, involves convention, concord, unified focus of interests (Lukov, 2012). That is why the issues of development of legal culture are essentially the issues of the development of the society. Legal culture as a concept in the field of sociological knowledge emerged relatively recently. Law, legal education, judicial training were considered from the perspective of law, psychology, medicine, philosophy whereas, sociology began to form the direction of research of legal culture of society only at the end of the twentieth century.

Research Questions

One of key indicators of formation of legal culture in society is the tendency to deviant behavior of its members, that is the behavior which is beyond social norms, the rules of interaction which are standard in this society. In the Philosophical Encyclopedic Dictionary, the following definition was proposed: "Deviant behavior means the social or personal actions and deeds deviant from the accepted norms and values of the society, actions of separate individuals or groups, causing a violation of all norms and rules which leads to the urgent need to respond to these deviations from the society or group." (Philosophical encyclopedic dictionary, 2006, p.126). However this definition can't be full as the deviation is understood as all types of the behavior rejecting social norms. It can cause not only illegal criminal punishable acts, but also positive deviations (scientific, technical, artistic creativity) (Gilinsky, 2009). Researches of this subject have been conducted very much in various sciences, including sociology. Although practice showed that so called «positive deviation" remained beyond the scope of sociological science. Moreover, a "positive deviation" is the driver for the development and advancement of any society. It should be noted, that discoveries, inventions and openings require revision, sometimes denial and overcoming of norms and rules of society. To find a path of social development and the progress of society often require substandard behavior. However, even a positive deviation is still a deviation. It can be noted that in the society, there has to be a balance of substandard and not substandard behavior of its participants. To solve this dilemma we have to form the legal culture of society. Thus, social deviation means the system of actions which contradict the legal and moral standards of the society. This statement is primarily important for our sociological research conducted among young people.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to identify the main aspects of social deviation in the formation of the legal culture of youth. The youth as a special social and demographic group in the structure of society which valuable orientations cause modern and future dynamics of social development (Shubina, 2016) is chosen as an object of the research. These are young people who are expected to demonstrate some extraordinary acts, the new ideas, which are capable of stimulating social progress. Such hopes have not arisen from scratch. A distinctive feature of this phase of human activity is also constant determination of world outlook statements, active formation of valuable orientations of the individual and formation of legal culture of the personality (Sadykova et al., 2015). Youth as a certain stage of life cycle and the related social status depend on culture of society and regularities of socialization of this society.

Research Methods

The reconnaissance study involved young people, residents of the city of Tyumen (Russia), students of city schools, colleges and lyceums, students and working youth. In a sociological survey, 113 people aged between 15 and 29 took part. The study was conducted using the questionnaire survey in 2016. Young people expressed their opinion about the urgency of the problems, the significance and causes of social deviations among young people.

Results of the Research and Discussion

In the authors' research, the regulatory legal criterion of determination of the age of youth as a social group of society has been used: people who are at the age from 15 to 29 have been referred to youth (Youth in Russia, 2010, p.8). At the age from 15 to 29 most members of society start taking into account such criteria of social maturity as: the end of process of education, the beginning of independent labor life, marriage, etc. Therefore, determination of age of youth by regulatory legal criterion is lawful.

The survey covered questioning of 113 people, where 45% were men and 55% - women. Among respondents, young people up to 18 years old constituted 11.6%., 48.7% of respondents were 19 to 22 years old, 39% of the respondents were at the age from 23 to 29. It can be noted that the main share in a sample of respondents was young people at the age of 19-22. 11.6% of respondents were pupils of schools, i.e. had incomplete secondary education, 10.6% of respondents had secondary education and were the students of colleges and lyceums at the moment of the survey. The main share of the young people who participated in a research had incomplete higher education (57.5%), studied in various higher educational institutions of the city of Tyumen. Nearly 19.5% of respondents had higher education (young specialists working in various spheres of the national economy).

Much more than a half of the respondents (58.4%), taking part in the survey, met examples of manifestation of social deviation of youth. However, some contradiction in answers was observed: according to 41.6% of respondents, there are no people with the "deviant" behavior in their local community and they did not even meet social deviation among the environment. At the same time, the problem of social deviation is recognized by young people: 72.5% of respondents consider that this problem is particularly urgent among youth, and only 27.5% of respondents do not realize any relevance of this problem. Nevertheless, the understanding of a problem does not mean the readiness to take actions directed to its solution. At the same time, "the deviant behavior" most often is understood as illegal, criminal behavior. Positive deviations were not noted by respondents in this survey.

More often young people pointed out such examples of social deviation as: drug addiction, alcoholism, administrative offenses, criminal offenses, smoking, unwillingness to work and study, religious fanaticism. As it can be noted as the result of the analysis of the answers of the respondents, social deviation is understood one-sidedly: only from a position of negative deviation, the illegal behavior breaking norms of interaction in society. It, naturally, has attracted certain interest from a position of value (place) of these problems among young people. The analysis of opinions of respondents has allowed one to range answers according to their importance for youth: nearly 50% of respondents placed drug addiction as the top problem; most of young people have designated such a problem as alcoholism as the second important problem; young people called smoking as the third important problem. In total, 46.9% of respondents called this problem significant. It can be assumed, that other social deviations, according to respondents, are in many respects caused by the three above-listed leading problems. That is, administrative and criminal offenses, unwillingness to work and to study most often are followed by drug addiction and alcoholism.

The exacerbation of social and economic problems in modern Russian society has found the reflection in results of the research.


The modern younger generation of Russia is more than in the past subject to influence of the social and economic situation which has developed in the country (Ivanov, 2003). Lack of the uniform policy of up-bringing and education of the younger generation (not to consider such road maps of state strategy for work with youth which were registered but not realized), insufficiency of the measures, directed at formation of legal culture of youth, result in uncertainty of future development of society. It was shown by protest activity of youth in March, 2017. Therefore, identification of the causes of deviant behavior among young people is a fundamental element of a research for understanding problems of formation of legal culture of society. The analysis of answers of respondents to a question of the causes of social deviations of youth has revealed that 38.1% of respondents consider the social environment of society as the defining reason of deviant behavior. Nearly 32% of the respondents called problems of family up-bringing as the second by its importance reason of deviation. The third place noted by from 9 to 10.7% of respondents was given to such reasons of social deviation as: unrealized personal ambitions, a decrease in educational work at the place of study and lack of extra-curricular activities. One should note that positive deviations remained beyond perception by respondents again.

The research of the reasons of social deviation, its importance for society will have practical character when the ways of decreasing its negative social impact are found. Opinions of youth about the possibility of the solution of problems of society which will lead to a decrease in social deviation are especially urgent as it is supposed that respondents specify the most effective factors and instruments of influence. The respondents who have participated in a research believe that problems of social deviation can be solved, first of all, only within the framework of the state youth policy (39.8%). Within the framework of the state youth policy the hot issues such as: educational work at the educational institutions, lack of part-time jobs and extracurricular activities and formation of legal culture of society have to be resolved. These answers characterize rather realistic assessment of opportunities for formation of legal culture among young people, but not "search of a scapegoat» who is guilty of deviation problems. Only by means of the state organizations with their opportunities, it is possible to resolve issues of upbringing and education when forming legal culture. Within society, a family as a social institution cannot solve all problems of formation of legal culture alone. However, the interviewed young people realize also the importance of educational work in a family. The formation of legal culture within a family as a solution of social deviation of youth was specified by 23.0% of respondents. The respondents have given the third place on the scale of the importance of the solution of questions of social deviation to self-education and self-development. This solution of a problem of deviant behavior was noted by 15.0% of respondents.

A study of social deviations in youth was of reconnaissance nature allowing one to work out the tools and to formulate the hypotheses of the study. However, this study revealed the problem of the perception of the term "deviation". Among young people, difficulties of the perception of the deviation are particularly noticeable. The active process of socialization, formation of the outlook, and the changes of value orientations did affect the results obtained. Deviant behavior of young people which is perceived as "deviant» is often associated with the word "bad". That is, the positive value of social deviation was not considered by youngsters. In February 2017, to clarify the term "deviant behavior", a survey was conducted among high school students who have in their academic schedule the subject which is called "Social Studies", due to the need for participation in the Unified State Examination that is why they may be the experts. In the expert survey, there were 51 people who study in senior classes of secondary schools of the city of Tyumen.

Respondents were offered to give an informal definition ("by their own words") of deviant behavior. It was supposed that the open informal question will provide a better understanding of a problem of perception of the term that, in its turn, will allow receiving representative results. Summarizing answers, it should be noted that 76.5% of respondents consider that the behavior which differs from behavior of society is, in fact, deviant. Nearly 21.6% of respondents consider that deviant behavior means "ill-bred". Indirectly, the results of this poll show that "deviation" is opposite to "education", and "education" should follow norms and rules of behavior in society. For counteraction to deviant behavior, it is necessary to strengthen educational functions of public institutes. Nearly 11.8% of senior pupils named only alcoholism, drug addiction and smoking as deviations. Yet, as the results show, the majority of respondents leave a possibility of understanding deviation not only as a negative, but also positive social action.

The question of the nature of deviant behavior confirmed previous results. According to 72.6% of the respondents, deviant behavior can be both negative and positive. However, 21.5% of respondents believe that it is only negative. 5.9 percent of the respondents remarked that neutral deviant behavior does not affect the life of the society. The denial by a part of the respondents of any or someone else's influence on them and their environment is typical for research in youth, and the survey confirmed that.

Based on the classification proposed by N. V. Maisak, in the expert survey, the respondents were supposed to note the types of behavior that can be attributed to the deviant (Maysak, 2011). More than half of respondents noted murder, stealing and drug abuse as deviant behavior. The distribution of answers of senior pupils allows highlighting important types of deviation (noted by more than a third of respondents) such as swearing, alcoholism and smoking. Analyzing the answers of the respondents, it can be noted that such positive deviations as perfectionism, contemporary art, the invention were related to social deviation by only a quarter of senior pupils. Thus, the classification of types of deviant behavior in the survey served as a prompt for respondents that have expanded the understanding of social deviation.


This survey has shown that young people interpret the term "deviant behavior" correctly, but cannot precisely define its types. The provision of mainly unilateral perception by youth of deviant behavior as negative or deviating one has found confirmation again. Positive social deviation is not considered as significant by the most part of youth; at the same time, they know about a possibility of existence of these types of deviation in the society.

From the conducted surveys, it is possible to draw the following conclusions. The sociological research of the main aspects of social deviation when forming legal culture of youth has revealed that the forecast of development of the Russian society for preservation of the existing position of the relation of power bodies to youth policy in society cannot be positive (Rudneva & Chaykovskiy, 2016). In spite of the fact that nearly half of respondents did not meet social deviation in their environment, more than seventy percent of respondents consider that these problems are particularly urgent among modern youth. The research has confirmed relevance of problems of drug addiction, alcoholism, smoking, legal nihilism among young people. All these promote degradation of society due to insufficient attention to problems of formation of legal culture of youth. The youth policy of local authorities and educational work on the place of study are noted by the young people, who have participated in a research, as the necessary factors of formation of legal culture, promoting a decrease in social deviation among young people.

The positive deviant behavior is not considered as significant among modern young people. Deviation is associated only with the negative, socially blamed phenomenon. However, it is possible to call social positive deviations as the engine of progress of society (Barbakov, Belonozhko, et al., 2015). Deviant behavior in a positive aspect gives the chance to find new solutions to the challenges faced by the society. Without positive deviation, the society can come to degradation. Therefore, it is important within the framework of youth policy of the state, of local government, of such public institutes as education, family to form legal culture of the personality and to develop positive social deviation among young people.


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19 February 2018

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Tolmacheva, S., Siteva, S., & Koltunova, A. (2018). Problem Of Studying Social Deviation And Formation Of Legal Culture Of Youth. In I. B. Ardashkin, N. V. Martyushev, S. V. Klyagin, E. V. Barkova, A. R. Massalimova, & V. N. Syrov (Eds.), Research Paradigms Transformation in Social Sciences, vol 35. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 1356-1363). Future Academy.