Norm Break

Better Essays
Jake Flaherty
SOC 101-102
Norm Break

Humans are a very odd species. They require the sense of comfort and safety to operate their daily lives effectively. They embrace the idea of ‘normal.’ Going as far back as the ancient times, keeping a general law of behavior was and still is extremely important for humans to coexist successfully. When cultures clash and when society cannot blend, lines get drawn and wars are fought. No matter what culture is being observed, the status quo must be maintained, or else several consequences can spur up from the action, either severe or benign. To break a social norm is to not be 'normal’ and can be considered treading 'off the deep end,’ as the saying goes. Without social norms, normality as we know it would not exist, and chaos would reign supreme. The funny thing about chaos is that it causes a very odd reaction, but chaos can also be a learning experience, because sometimes to in order to find the line, you have to cross it first. Breaking the social norm is one of those ways to experience that chaos. Social norms, as Diane Kendall (2012) states, is an “Established rules of behavior or standards of conduct”(p. 54). The levels of these norms vary, as do the consequences of breaking those said norms. Some norms may just be a slight annoyance, and will not cause much of a rouse from outside perspectives. More severs norms, called Mores, strongly dictate how one should behave, and breaking one of these can cause severe negative sanctions. Taboos are even worse, I wish I could tell you what they are (get it? no? damn.). Norms are everywhere, and are so interconnected with society that they are often hard to come up with when doing a norm break. Elevators, compared to other public spaces, are quite intimate due to the lack of space. Personal space is compromised and the social awkwardness is elevated, no pun intended. This very fact makes elevators an excellent locale to break my social norm, looking in the wrong



Cited: Kendall, Diane. 2012. Sociology in Our Times. 8th ed. Belmont, CA:

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