Social Norms

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Social norms are almost an invisible part of our society. They play a role in our lives every single day, but for the most part, they go unnoticed. Social norms are the established standards of behavior maintained by a society. They are basically “guidelines” on how to act, what is normal behavior, and if anyone breaks these standards, their actions are considered to be unnormal or inappropriate. There are a few different types of social norms; they include folkways, mores, formal norms, laws, and informal norms. Folkways are norms governing everyday behavior and they provide guidelines on how to act in a certain culture. Mores are needed for the welfare and safety of society because they are the guidelines that society must follow or suffer with the penalties. An example of mores is committing murder in the state of Michigan, the penalty of violating that is life in prison. Laws are formal norms enforced by the state. Formal norms generally have been written down and specify strict punishments for violators. Formal norms are often formalized into laws. Informal norms are like formal norms but a little different. They are generally understood but not precisely recorded. An example of an informal norm is turning off the lights when you walk into a room. Based on the society’s standard of social norms, they mold society based on the people’s actions on what is normal to them. What is “normal” to a society may be completely unnormal in another society. An example is if someone burped during dinner in the United States that would be considered rude, inappropriate, and pretty gross. But in the Middle East, if someone burped after a meal it would be considered as a compliment to the cook.
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