Acta Universitatis Danubius. Communicatio, Vol 11, No 1 (2017)

Normality. The Metamorphosis of an Immutable Concept

Alina Petra Marinescu

Abstract


Objectives: The present article discusses the realm of „normality” starting from the paradox standing behind the concept: a bench-mark always on the move. As a social concept, „normality” is based on the word „norm” understood as what is socially acceptable or desirable in terms of looks, attitudes or behaviours. Implications: The individual who doesn’t obey the rule is prone to being considered “deviant”. The present paper deals with the problematic brought by this labelling, with the subjective motivational process that leads to the social exclusion of the individuals who don’t behave in the spirit of the accepted norm and also with the methods people make use of in order to cope with their new status. Value: “Normality”, a concept apparently denoting stability, has to adapt to various contexts and this thesis seems puzzling. The first and most important condition is that of the highly subjective human nature that comes in contradiction with stability and perfection – features defining the Latin “norma”, meaning “right” angle. And still individuals themselves are the ones creating and imposing social norms. Approach: In order to try to find an explanation, the paper makes use of the realm of deviance studies and presents the reader with some paradoxical examples as the biblical one where the ejection from Paradise was caused by the crossing of a norm whereas the word “normality” or “normal” cannot be found in the Christian Holy Book. To further picture the dynamics of “normality”, a case study analysing the women’s social status in three different centuries as reflected in painting was included in the article.

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