Breaking Social Norms Exercise

Topics: Sociology, Norm, Heteronormativity Pages: 4 (1644 words) Published: November 4, 2013
Social norms are created through both cultural values and presentation of self, with these concepts of reality being constantly learned throughout our lives by means of social interaction as well as outside influences such as media, movies, television, and even observing strangers. Through these interactions and influences we determine what is publically acceptable in our society and conform ourselves to these social norms in order to remain in sync, by upholding our self presentation and social status. For this norm breaching assignment I decided to challenge myself by attempting to disregard my self preservation and cultural values for the night. I chose to do this exercise in Chinatown near a family member’s home because in all of my years visiting there nothing out of the ordinary ever happens. The Chinese culture is rather traditional and conservative, even on a Friday night it is very calm and peaceful. Initially I failed miserably, I was too embarrassed and unable to fully commit, so I decided to enlist some of my friends to help me out and we set out for a night of social norm breaking. The “out of the ordinary” things we decided on doing involved breaking both cultural values and presentation of self by not upholding socially acceptable behavior, not showing courtesy, and invading others personal space. The purpose for these functions is solely to create structure and order in people’s lives, as virtually everyone focuses on being as efficient as possible, going out and upholding what is expected in our “performances”, doing what has to be done, and for all of those things to happen smoothly with out any disruptions. Maintaining these social norms standardizes the behavior of the general public and is supposed to build pro-social behavior, although that can be argued. We violated “the norm” in many ways that night, most of them being pretty simple once breaking through our usual in-public manners. The people downtown that day was a combination of all...
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