I want you to think about is how things are presented to us in our social environments. Think about the things we get from teachers, family, television, movies, music, and even casual social interaction that influence us to behave in a certain way. Not only in telling us what to buy, but telling us how to act. These are the norms we are taught to follow. Norms are social rules which we are taught by society to adhere. Some are laws, like killing and stealing, and some are just socially regulated. More severe norm violations have more severe consequences or sanctions. Norms that when violated have more severe sanctions are called mores (pronounced morays) and those with less severe sanctions are called folkways. An example of a more violation is stealing from someone. The social more is not to steal, and the sanction is regulated by the law. A folkway violation is less severe and therefore has softer sanctions. If I were to ask a stranger about the particulars ailment in the waiting room of a doctor’s office for example, this would be a folkway violation. People just don’t do that. The individual may look at me funny and give an uncomfortable response, or they may think I had some kind of imbalance and want to get out of the situation as soon as possible. Either way, his or her reaction is the sanction for my folkway violation. These norms differ among societies and they are formulated based on the beliefs and values of that society. In America, for example, the production and consumption of marijuana is illegal and enforced by sanctions where in Holland it isn’t a norm violation that is governed by lawful means. Your charge is to go out and break one of these social norms, not the illegal ones, but one that has less severe consequences, a folkway. It could be talking loudly on a cell phone in a quiet restaurant, farting in an elevator…and then talking about it, talking to people at the bus stop, dancing in an isle at Vons while...
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