Culture , according to the texrt book, is defined as the complex whole that includes knowledge, belief, art, law, morals, customs, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by humans as members of society. It sets the framework for individual behavior. It functions by setting loose boundries for individual behavior. These boundries are called norms. Simply put, they are rules that prohibit certain behaviors in specific situations. But what happens when someone breaks one of their cultural norms?
I went to Walmart last week and observed three people doing just that. The first person I saw breaking a cultural norm was a younger girl around 15 years old or so. She was shopping around Walmart wearing a t-shirt and pajama bottoms. This is not a normal thing to do. In general, the cultual norm is pajamas are for home, not for wearing out in public. This young girl, however, did not adhere to that norm. Sanctions are penalties ranging from mild social disapproval to banishment from a group that result from breaking cultural norms. This girl suffered the sanction of social disapproval. While observing her I noticed several people taking second looks at her as well as staring in disapproval. It also seemed as if people were attempting to keep their distance from her when she would walk down an asile. It seemed that no one wanted to be associated with her. I also saw some people give her some looks that, to me, appeared like they felt sorry for her. Others seemed to look down on her. A few of my friends were with me and I asked them what they thought of her, without telling them it was for research. They responded with saying that it made her appear somewhat trashy, immature, as well as not-well-off. This girl seemed to value her individualism, one of the defining characteristics of American society. These people don't conform to the group and do their own thing. I think that because she had this value she didn't care what others thought of her, even though she...
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