Deviance is a common phenomenon in the life of every human being, even in the so-called simple societies. It is always defined from the point of view of particular normative structure, and in a complex society where there are a multiplicity of groups and conflicting normative standards, each member of the society is at some time liable to be considered deviant by one standard or another. Often deviance simply involves conformity to the standards of a subgroup rather than those of the dominant social group. The consequences of deviance from normative standards are varied and may range from a frown to imprisonment or confinement for mental illness. However, people who deviate from social norms are not necessarily (or necessarily considered) mentally ill, nor does deviance necessary entail mental illness. The despised deviant from a particular society or social system may be regarded as a martyr or saint by another ethical philosophy or historical period. Deviance is not inherent in specific behaviour or attitudes but rather is a phenomenon of human interaction in a particular normative setting.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
Non-profit, apolitical, independent, and non-governmental in nature, the UIA has been a pioneer in the research, monitoring and provision of information on international organizations, international associations and their global challenges since 1907.