Breaking Social Norms

Topics: Sociology, Folkways, Anomie Pages: 3 (1120 words) Published: May 12, 2013
Breaking a social Norm
Social norms are the customary rules that govern behavior in certain group of individuals. These rules specify how one should behave, and it clarifies what may be considered normal or acceptable to society. The type of norm that I have decided to violate for this assignment is a folkway. Folkways are informal, unstated rules that govern society, unlike laws, which are formal written rules. Folkways are a behavioral adaptation that developed to make social life possible. They are considered less essential to the stability of society since it applies to everyday people. For instance Americans shake hands when meeting, while members of other cultures bow, or kiss. For this assignment I decided to stand outside the mall and hand shake individuals as they walk in and out of the mall. Since norms consist of preferences, rather than demands the mechanism of social control results in sanctions. Whether informal positive or informal negative, these sanctions may result in a simile, or a dirty look. This essay will explore the reaction of individuals when greeted by a stranger and the subsequent actions that resulted.

For this assignment I decided to go to South Coast Plaza Mall in Costa Mesa. South Coast Plaza is a place where a concierge will check your bags when your arms are too tired, where personal shoppers are at your service, and where your electric jaguar can get serviced while you shop or dine. Around the fancy cluster of shops are Prada, Burberry, Armani, and Tiffany & Co. At the same time you can also find a local McDonald’s, Beackworks, and a Sears at the other end of the mall. Due to its Cultural Diversity I decided to take on the challenge. Considering this, I arrived the location around 10:00am (opening time) on Sunday September 30th. The multitude of individuals roaming the mall were mostly women in different age groups, varying between 20-60 years of age. About 10 people who are walking in and out of the mall are observing me,...
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