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Fraternal relative deprivation is an aspect of relative deprivation and occurs as the result of a negative social comparison between the circumstances of ones social group (this may be based on occupational group, racial group, social class etc) and another reference group.

Social scientists, particularly political scientists and sociologists, have cited 'relative deprivation' (especially temporal relative deprivation) as a potential cause of social movements and deviance, leading in extreme situations to political violence such as rioting, terrorism, civil wars and other instances of social deviance such as crime.[1][2] For example, some scholars of social movements explain their rise by citing grievances of people who feel deprived of what they perceive as values to which they are entitled.[3] Similarly, individuals engage in deviant behaviors when their means do not match their goals.[1]


The concept was first introduced by the American sociologist Samuel Stouffer and coworkers in their 1949 book The American Soldier in which they reported that in units in which there was a great deal of personnel promotion there was also more more dissatisfaction amongst those not promoted.

Robert King Merton[4] developed the idea further suggesting that high rates of social mobility raised hopes and expectations which might not bear subsequent social comparison

See alsoEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 Robert K. Merton, "Social Structure and Anomie". American Sociological Review 3: 672-82, 1938.
  2. Ted Robert Gurr, Why Men Rebel, Princeton University Press, 1970, ISBN 0-691-07528-X
  3. Jerry D. Rose, Outbreaks, the sociology of collective behavior, 1982, New York Free Press, ISBN 0-02-926790-0
  4. R. K. Merton (1957). Social theory and Social Structure.

Further readingEdit

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