In every society, there are unspoken agreements that describe what is acceptable and what is not. These things are called the institutionalized norms. Each society’s norms vary by its culture. Norms, according to Newman, mainly only present a “general framework of expectations.” So, within a society, each individual must be aware of what he or she can and cannot do. If one was to deviate from a norm, the deviator will then be looked upon society as “untrained” or “undisciplined.” As a student in this course, I was assigned to violate two of America’s norms.
One of the norms I attempted to violate was to sit right next to someone, despite the fact that there was ample sitting available. This violation occurred on an early Monday afternoon, on Chicago’s Blue Line, as I head home from school, for the day. The train car was fairly empty, probably about less than half a dozen people occupied it. I saw this as an opportunity to do the research so I sat next to someone as soon as I got on the train. When I did sit next to the person, she did not seem to feel uncomfortable. She just simply kept a straight face and looked out the window. The person who I sat next to was listening to her iPod and probably just decided to focus on her music instead of worrying about why some random girl, who she does not even know, decided to sit next to her when there were plenty of other seats available. It’s as if she did not really mind that someone was trying to invade her personal space.
Going back to when I had made up my mind about sitting next to someone, I felt nervous. I felt nervous about deviating from the norm. How would other people would see me? What would they think of me? Those questions and similar ones were going through my head as I proceeded with my actions. So, as I sat next to the girl, I tried my hardest to keep a straight face and act like what I am doing is normal...that it happens everyday. I was listening to my iPod the whole entire time...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document