Who Defines Normality and Abnormality?

Topics: Definition, Sociology, Extensional definition Pages: 2 (367 words) Published: March 20, 2012
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Title: Who defines the concepts of normality and abnormality?

When we look around at the people that surround us, we expect to see a person with two eyes, two ears, hair, nose, mouth, bones, etc. This, in our minds, is a picture of a normal human being. The food we eat, the places we go to, the person we marry, and the culture we live in, defines what is normal from our point of view. Today there are various definitions that are used by psychologists and people in general for defining abnormal and normal behavior. Of course, these definitions are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Social norm violation: Breaking social "rules". Most of our behavior is shaped by social norms imposed by the society we live in. There are some cultural expectations about the right and wrong way to do things. Someone who frequently violates these unwritten rules is seen as abnormal. This is a very powerful and persuasive definition. It is seemingly common-sense. Norms are so deeply ingrained they seem absolute. In addition, even in a single society such as Romania., there are a multitude of subcultures. Add to this the fact that norms change through the years so that what's normative in one generation, may not be in another. We are left with a single society where there are no clear norms that apply across all individuals. This definitional stance implies that normality is the same as conformity to the mainstream, when in fact there are many streams. The term abnormality thus loses any firm referent. It is worth mentioning that the definition of normal and abnormal is culturally based. Obviously, social norms vary from one cultural to another.  

I. Real life situation: female circumcision
The first real life situation we will debate on is female circumcision.  Nowadays we have eliberated ourselves from the restrictions of the morality in the past.

When trying to define concepts such as normality and...
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