The Norm in Sociology

Topics: Sociology, Convention, Anomie Pages: 2 (515 words) Published: April 6, 2012
“The social norm” refers to “an established standard of behavior shared by members of a social group to which each member is expected to conform” ( Expected to behave, individuals must act a certain way to gain acceptance into society. “Sociologists believe an individual’s behavior and self-definitions are structured by relationships. (The relationships themselves are often structured by institutions – schools, workplaces, courts, etc.)” (O’Connell 32). Failure to adhere to a society’s expectations typically results in some form of alienation and denial from that society or group. Parents teach their children typical norms at a young age like polite etiquette and behavior. Norms influence how people behave in society. Without a set norm, people have no standard by which to act or behave when interacting with others in society. “Social norms cover almost every conceivable situation, and they vary from standards where almost complete conformity is demanded to those where there is great freedom of choice. Norms also vary in the kinds of sanctions that are attached to violation of the norms” ( A violation of the norm results in alienation from set group and for not following the believed standard. Individuals learn through trial and error and adapt a personality and identity in their selves, accepted by society as a whole. A norm will establish the overall consensus of qualifications for acceptance by that group or society. “Since norms derive from values, and since complex societies have multiple and conflicting value systems, it follows that norms frequently are in conflict also” ( A conflict may arise from someone’s breaking a norm in a scenario that offends others in that group or society. Every detail of a norm its expectations, the individual must learn through experience and examples. Parents can set an example for their children in order for them to see a simple lecture or instructions about how to...
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