Paul Stanley Jr.
SO1200 D: Principles of Sociology
Brown Mackie College
Violation of a Social Norm
Field Experiment: Violation of a Social Norm. In this project, we were asked to violate a social norm in a public setting and make observations on what we saw and how people respond. The social norm that I chose to violate was simply that of common courtesy. I decided to take myself and my 17 year old daughter, Zoe, to a few of the Wal-Mart’s in the area and walk around, bumping into random people and saying absolutely nothing to apologize. We would take turns simply bumping into them and keep walking. Norms are a very important part of society. In our text book, norms are defined as “established rules of behavior or standards of conduct”. (Diana Kendall, 2011, 2008) Without norms, a society has no groundwork on which to stand. It would not have any, as the name promotes, normalcy. Norms are what make a society distinctive. Other notions such as ethnocentrism also tie into how norms affect a society. People who are ethnocentric often associate the norms of their society with that of others and through this; determine that their own society is grander. In contrast of these philosophies, I believe that all societies are normal according to their own norms, not the norms of others. In doing my experiment, I expect different reactions from the people I encounter, as well as totally different reactions from the same people who get bumped into by my daughter. I also expect different reactions from people based on the geographic location. I started the experiment at the Wal-Mart in New Philadelphia, Ohio. I walked in first with Zoe about fifty feet behind me. It is a Wednesday morning and most of the area’s schools had been called off because of the weather, so this store was busier than normal. The first person I “accidentally” bumped into was a man in his late thirty’s. I was slowly moving down a grocery isle pretending to...