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Breaking Social Norms Essay

Example #1

In our society, we have a number of society norms that we abide by. For example, there is an unwritten rule of how one should behave in an elevator. For example, it is proper to face front, stand away from strangers, and not to look at others. When a social norm is broken people may respond with alarm, humor, fear, irritation, or an array of other emotions. When you think of a norm, you are probably thinking about being normal. But in psychology terms, norm means, a standard or representative value for a group. The norm that is more common to people is a social norm. Meaning expectations about what behavior, thoughts, or feelings are appropriate within a given group within a given context. I wanted to turn around and say something but I just kept my cool and said to myself, “This is only a test Cynthia don’t let them get to you.” Once I finished talking to myself I was relieved and ready to go into the movies. While walking into the movies, I received more looks and heard more whispers coming out of people which really didn’t make sense.

All they had to do was just accept me for who I was and that I was wearing clothes. After I got tired of the looks and whispers I changed my clothes and walked back to the movie theatre. Once again my boyfriend looked at me strangely and said, “ Why did you change”? When I finally broke it down to him that I was doing a project for psychology he started to laugh. His response towards me was, he was going to love me no matter how I come out of the house. I thought that was cute, that let me know that he doesn’t care what people think and that he was always going to be with me no matter how I look. When I broke the norm of how I look, I felt really insecure about myself and I really did care of what people were going to say about me. But I did learn these people are very judgmental of a person that they have no clue about. The other norm that I broke was going against authority. The authority that I went against was my mom during Thanksgiving dinner.

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Example #2

Almost every single thing we do in life is judged by a certain set of guidelines. When we are growing up, we are taught by our parents what to do and what not to do. Of course, every household lives by a different set of ideas and beliefs. It can be influenced by religion, the environment they live in, and what kind of government they abide by. However, the one constant which holds true in all households and societies is norms. Norms are established standards of behavior maintained by a society. Norms are important to a society because it pretty much keeps every citizen in a society in check with themselves and their behavior. Laws are not sufficient enough to keep society at peace. The two types of norms that exist are formal and informal. Formal norms are pretty much what we call laws in our society, while informal norms are pretty much norms in which there is a mutual agreement among everyone in a society to follow.

Norms can be viewed as all the petty things and the serious things combined in which all citizens should abide by. It can be more important than laws in a way because informal norms cover a lot of things in which there can be many disagreements among people and can cause fights, which might escalate to violating laws. It is not very clear if all people in a society follow all the norms, but it is clear people understand these norms and live their life according to them. Our experiment, which we will explain more about in detail later on in the paper, was basically about us being dressed up as a homeless person and holding obscure signs out in the public streets. We held up signs saying things as, ¡°Need Money for a Car¡±, ¡°Change for Hats¡±, etc. The kind of norm which we breached is the informal norm, and a folkway to be more exact.

 

Example #3

Social norms are the customary rules that govern behavior in certain group of individuals. These rules specify how one should behave, and it clarifies what may be considered normal or acceptable to society. The type of norm that I have decided to violate for this assignment is a folkway. Folkways are informal, unstated rules that govern society, unlike laws, which are formal written rules. Folkways are a behavioral adaptation that developed to make social life possible. They are considered less essential to the stability of society since it applies to everyday people. For instance, Americans shake hands when meeting, while members of other cultures bow, or kiss. For this assignment, I decided to stand outside the mall and handshake individuals as they walk in and out of the mall. Since norms consist of preferences, rather than demands the mechanism of social control results in sanctions. Whether informal positive or informal negative, these sanctions may result in a simile or a dirty look.

This essay will explore the reaction of individuals when greeted by a stranger and the subsequent actions that resulted. For this assignment, I decided to go to South Coast Plaza Mall in Costa Mesa. South Coast Plaza is a place where a concierge will check your bags when your arms are too tired, where personal shoppers are at your service, and where your electric jaguar can get serviced while you shop or dine. Around the fancy cluster of shops are Prada, Burberry, Armani, and Tiffany & Co. At the same time, you can also find a local McDonald’s, Beackworks, and a Sears at the other end of the mall. Due to its Cultural Diversity, I decided to take on the challenge. Considering this, I arrived at the location around 10:00 am (opening time) on Sunday, September 30th. The multitude of individuals roaming the mall was mostly women in different age groups, varying between 20-60 years of age. About 10 people who are walking in and out of the mall are observing me, my intuition is that being a female will prevent these women from feeling harassed and accept my handshake.

As I stood outside the second level Macy’s Valet Entrance I approached the first individual, I extended my hand and smiled at this 20 something-year-old Persian woman who pulled out of a white Escalade. She asked if I worked there and if I could guide her to the concierge desk, but she never welcomed my hand gesture. I immediately removed my arm feeling very uncomfortable and guided the way. Breaking this social norm, in this case, caused a negative informal sanction, and as a result, the woman disregarded my handshake and left me feeling disapproval. The second individual I approached was a Hispanic woman in her mid-30s’ with a stroller in hand, and a 5-year-old boy who seemed very much interested in greeting me. To my surprise, she pretended to have her hands tied up, and asked her son to hold her hand so he would not get lost.

Being ignored is a negative informal sanction and it made me feel public ridicule along with rejection. However, a few minutes later an elderly Caucasian woman walking out with her granddaughter acknowledged my greeting. When her grand-daughter did not respond to my hand gesture she exclaimed, “Honey don’t be rude! Where are your manners? ” and the grand-daughter finally welcomed my hand gesture. The polite lady started talking to me about customs and traditions, and how people are not as polite as they used to be. She exclaimed that individuals are too focused on other things and forget their manners. Aside from the previous experiences, breaking this social norm ended in positive formal sanctions; as a result of my gesture, the lady smiled and complimented my actions.

Correspondingly there were a few other individuals who accepted my greetings, while others looked the other way and pretended I was not there. Individuals who live according to these norms often Theis?.. Almost every single thing we do in life is judged by a certain set of guidelines. When we are growing up, we are taught by our parents what to do and what not to do. Of course, every household lives by a different set of ideas and beliefs. It can be influenced by religion, the environment they live in, and what kind of government they abide by. However, the one constant which holds true in all households and societies is norms. Norms are established standards of behavior maintained by a society. Norms are important to a society because it pretty much keeps every citizen in a society in check with themselves and their behavior. Laws are not sufficient enough to keep society at peace.

The two types of norms that exist are formal and informal. Formal norms are pretty much what we call laws in our society, while informal norms are pretty much norms in which there is a mutual agreement among everyone in a society to follow. Norms can be viewed as all the petty things and the serious things combined in which all citizens should abide by. It can be more important than laws in their judgment on looks, whether it is the color of one’s skin, the clothes that one wears, and even the way a person carries himself or herself, individuals make instant judgments based on these social prejudices. This perception based on appearance determines the behavior towards the person. A Player Piano In our textbook, “Sociology: A Down-to-Earth Approach,” Henslin defines social control as a group’s formal and informal means of enforcing its norms.

Two prime examples of social control are positive and negative sanctions. A positive sanction is a reward or positive reaction to following norms. A positive sanction could possibly be given to someone who tries to break and change norms in society for the advancement of the community. A good example of this would be Dr. Martin Luther King’s movement for civil rights. A negative sanction is the opposite, an expression of disapproval for breaking a norm. These reactions can be severe and formal, or they can be mild and informal. How do these ideas of social control apply in the society created by Vonnegut in “Player Piano? ” In the book “Player Piano” by Kurt Vonnegut, there are many examples of positive and negative sanctions. A perfect example of sanctions affecting lives in a dramatic way was the aptitude test taken by all citizens. If you do poorly on it, then you have to live the rest of your life in the Army or in the Reeks and Wrecks.

 

Example #4

“Etiquette is all human social behavior. If you’re a hermit on a mountain, you don’t have to worry about etiquette; if somebody comes up the mountain, then you’ve got a problem…” This quote from an American journalist, Judith Martin, illustrates the concept that the presence of others creates or inspires expectations. Social norms, or specific cultural expectations for how to behave in a given situation, are practiced throughout various societies and cultures across the planet. People rely on social norms to provide order and predictability in social situations. Social roles are the part people play as members of a social group. With each social role one plays, the behavior changes to fit the expectations both you and others have of that role.

It is most common for people to conform to the guidelines provided by the roles we perform. When one does not conform to the social norms, it is considered abnormal behavior. For this assignment, I faced the challenge to disregard expectations of social roles and norms in society. I wanted to choose a social setting and role that is common to most members of society throughout the course of the day. In one way or another, be it direct or indirect, most people in American society play the role of a consumer or customer. I also wanted the business to be fairly common and causal, but also a place with frequent and busy customers.

 

Example #5

While deviant behavior is looked upon by society as wrong, and in some cases dangerous, it is necessary at times for clarifying societal expectations. Without examples of deviant behavior, children would not have the proper examples needed to be molded into acceptable and productive members of society. But for those whose behavior is considered deviant, the response from society comes in the form of negative sanctions that are meant to correct that behavior. In order to test the boundaries of deviant behavior in society, I followed through on two experiments in order to experience the negative sanctions that would result.

For my first experiment in breaking social norms, I decided to wear a purse and go shopping at Old Navy. This social norm is a gendered norm, as it has been established by western society and tradition that only females are allowed to carry purses on their arms, not men. I borrowed a purse from a female friend, and I went to the store. I stepped out of my car and walked towards the Old Navy with the purse straps slung over my shoulder, with the purse being cradled against my body by my arm. I looked at some photos of women carrying purses and attempted to copy the way they carried theirs. While walking up to the department store, I noticed people staring at me and looking at me a bit longer than I am accustomed to people looking at me for.

When I got into the store, I browsed the men’s section of clothing. I noticed a male employee standing off to the side, about 15 feet away, watching me. I did not make eye contact with him right away, but in my peripheral vision, I could see him staring at me. I turned to look at him, and he quickly averted his gaze and turned away. I approached him and told him that I was shopping for some shoes, and asked him about the different brands they had available. While he did not overtly act in any way that could be deemed a straightforward negative sanction, I sensed a feeling of unease coming from him as we talked. I could feel that he was actively trying to make my purse not seem like a big deal, but based on my interactions with store employees when I was not wearing a purse, his way of conduct with me seemed awkward. I eventually chose a shirt that I wanted to buy for myself, and I proceeded to walk to the registers. On the way there, I passed by the kid’s clothing section.

Standing in an aisle were a very young boy and his mother. The boy was looking up at me as I walked by. The mother turned around and saw me, and then she quickly turned the boy around and led him away. I could tell she led him away as a reaction to me wearing a purse, and she did not want her son to see a man breaking a gender norm. When I got to the register, a young woman was the cashier. She smiled at me when she saw the purse as if she wanted to laugh. She told me it was a nice purse. I told her thanks and that I had gotten it for my birthday. She asked me if I was big into purses and I told her I was. She smirked at this and said nothing else until she gave me my change and wished me a good day. I went back into my car and left.

When taking into account all of the reactions I received by breaking the gender norm of carrying a purse, I can categorize each of them as being a form of a negative sanction. The male employee acted awkwardly with me, the mother quickly turned her son away from me, and the female employee acted amused towards me, in addition to looking slightly confused. All of these interactions were informal negative sanctions due to me deviating from social gender norms. If I had not worn the purse at all, the positive informal sanctions I would have received would have been the employee acting professional, the mother not noticing me at all, and the cashier not acting amused and confused at my wearing a purse. In terms of the structural-functionalist theory, my deviant behavior, and the informal negative sanctions I received because of it, help to clarify the social boundaries in society, therefore producing more social cohesion among the different populations that make it up. For example, the mother turned her son away from me helped to clarify in his mind that wearing a purse is deviant behavior for males in society.

When planning my second experiment in breaking social norms, I decided to attempt to go watch a movie with no shoes or socks on. I drove to Fairview Theater and walked up towards the ticket window. Even as I walked up to the building, I noticed some people looking down to my bare feet. When I got in line in front of the ticket booth, I was of course the only individual in line wearing nothing on my feet. As people turned around in line to look behind them or talk to the person behind them, they would see me and look at my bare feet, and then they would quickly turn away. I tapped a man in front of me on the shoulder who had not yet seen me, and as he turned around, I asked him what time Batman vs Superman was supposed to be starting at.

He started to answer my question halfway as he was turning around to face me, but he stopped when he turned all the way around and noticed I was barefoot. Although he only briefly paused to look at my feet, before starting to talk again and answer my question, it was extremely noticeable that my being barefoot in the line caused him to become distracted. As I got closer to the front of the line, a family exited the theater, and they walked close by me on their way out to the parking lot. The family consisted of a mother and father, and a son and daughter who both appeared to be between the ages of five and seven. As the family walked by, the son pointed out to me and said “Look momma, he has no shoes on!” The mother quickly turned towards me, glanced at my feet for a brief moment, and told her son “Shhh!”, and hurried him off towards the rest of the family.

The boy said it loud enough that others in line who hadn’t yet noticed me turned to look at my feet. When it was finally my turn to buy a ticket, the woman selling the tickets asked me if I had any shoes I could put on. I told her that I preferred not to wear shoes because I liked the feeling of having the ground beneath my bare feet. She informed me that company policy would not allow me to purchase a ticket and watch a movie at that theater because all patrons needed to be fully clothed to be admitted. I asked her if there was no way around this because I never wore shoes, and just wanted to watch a movie. She said she was sorry but I would have to leave if I had no shoes to wear. I thanked her and left.

When looking back on my experiences at the theater, I can say that I observed numerous negative sanctions in regards to my walking around barefoot. All of the individuals in line who saw that I was barefoot looked as if they might have been slightly annoyed at seeing me barefoot. Many of the looks on the faces of these people were blank as they looked at me, with no warmth or friendliness to be seen. By acting as if I was breaking some form of rule, and looking at me like I was a rule-breaker, these people imposed a negative informal sanction on me. The little boy who pointed me out, and the mother who simply told him to “shh”, before hurrying him along, was also a negative sanction. The boy pointing me out made me feel as if I was sticking out from the crowd, which I was. The mother not advising him to not point at people, and instead just hurrying him along, also seemed like a negative sanction to me.

By not correcting his pointing, it seemed as if she partially agreed with his pointing me out. The woman selling the tickets who would not let me buy one was a formal negative sanction. Since the theater had rules about being fully clothed, I was formally denied admittance. In contrast, if I had worn shoes as everyone else does in western society, I would have not received the slightly annoyed glances from those in line, the child would not have pointed me out, and the woman selling tickets would have allowed me to purchase one and enter the theater. When looking at the concept of social conformity, it was clear that I was breaking with social norms on clothing. Individuals in western society are expected to wear something on their feet in most cases, and watching a movie at the theater is one of them.

While every single person I saw at the theater conformed to the expectation of wearing shoes, I did not, and I received annoyed glances, was pointed out by a young child, and was denied admittance into the theater. By breaking social norms, and exhibiting deviant behavior, I was on the receiving end of negative sanctions. Negative sanctions or important to society, as they serve to make clear the social boundaries for acceptable behavior, in addition to what constitutes unacceptable behavior. When these lines are clear, it is much easier for individuals in society to conform to acceptable behavior, but deviant behavior is needed to reinforce these boundaries. By going shopping with a purse, and by attempting to watch a movie barefoot, I was subjected to negative sanctions that made it crystal clear to me that society considered my actions to be deviant behavior.

 

Example #6

Field Experiment: Violation of a Social Norm. In this project, we were asked to violate a social norm in a public setting and make observations on what we saw and how our audience responded. The social norm that I chose to violate was simply that of common courtesy. I decided to go to the mall and walked around, bumping into random people and saying absolutely nothing in apology. I simply bump into them and keep walking as if nothing has happened. Norms are a very important part of society. In the book, norms are defined as “the specific expectations about how people behave in a given situation”. Without norms, a society has no foundation on which to stand. It would have no, as the name promotes, normalcy. Norms are what make a society unique. Other concepts such as ethnocentrism also tie into how norms affect a society.

People who are ethnocentric often compare the norms of their society with that of others and through this, determine that their own society is superior. In contrast to these ideas, I believe that all societies are normal according to their owns norms, not the norms of others. In doing my experiment, I expect many different kinds of rections from people I encouter. I am not actually sure what kind of reactions to expect. There may be mostly strange looks and maybe some hostility due to the blatent rudeness of my violation. People might say excuse me and be surprised to not get an answer or any kind of reaction at all. I am going to the mall, so the kinds of people I encounter may vary.  I predict that the major reaction will be a sense of confusion and self-questioning as to why I didn’t respond or how someone could be so rude. I decided to do my research in and around the food court at Crabtree Valley Mall on Sunday, August 18. I chose this location because there is always a lot of traffic and plenty of opportunities to be rude. The food court is right next to the arcade along with many other stores, so there are a lot of people.

 

Example #7

A social norm is a regulation or expectancy that dominates people’s morals, beliefs, actions, attitudes and behaviors. These regulations are expected of individuals in certain places and settings and are therefore utilized to lead individual behavior which determines what is considered appropriate or inappropriate. It could be argued that those who are accused of breaking the norms are seen as ‘abnormal’. Consequently, failure to maintain regulations can result in severe punishments. For example, being an outcast from society, lack of friends, as well as a lack of social development. It is also important to consider that the nature of behavior and accuracy of social norms perceptions are both important when developing changing behaviors. However, it could be argued that norms influence individuals in different ways as everyone has different attitudes and levels of persuasion, what may be seen as influential and appealing to some groups of society, may not appeal to others.

This assignment will discuss three types of social norms including; descriptive, subjective and injunctive. These norms will also be explored through the use of studies that will be illustrated with appropriate examples of empirical research and will be based on social psychological theory. Sherrif (1936) described norms as “jointly negotiated rules for social behavior, the customs, traditions, standards, rules, values, and fashions which are standardized as a consequence of the contact of individuals”. Whereas, Festinger’s (1954) social comparison theory found that individuals often tend to compare themselves to others with whom they share ‘similar characteristics’. Festinger, (1954) believed that individuals are most likely to follow those of similar features, including age, gender, personality attributes, and attitudes. Subsequently, a person’s social identity also plays a part in influencing decisions. Tajfel & Turner (1986) extend Festinger’s (1954) social comparison theory and suggest that the outcome of intergroup comparisons is “essentially relative in nature and individuals assess groups worth by comparing it to others”.

However, these intergroup comparisons indirectly subsidize to self-esteem. Similarly, Cialdini et al. (1976) found that the supporters of those who watched the football games would often be seen in college insignia and clothing than after defeats. This was due to their willingness to be identified as belonging to the group and being involved and having a sense of belonging within the group’s “fortunes” and intergroup meetings. However, Abrams & Hogg (1988) suggest that discrimination that may occur in intergroup may be due to increasing self-esteem as well as enhancing social identity. Alternatively, it is said that people conform because they are group members and evidence indicates that conformity is higher when participants see themselves as in-group members. This implies that the validation of physical reality or the avoidance of social disapproval is important. On the other hand, Deutsch & Gerard (1955) argued that “in order to explain group influence, it was necessary to distinguish between informational social influenced and normative social influence”.

When focussing on attitudes, it is important to consider that attitudes are beliefs, feelings and behavioral tendencies that “predict behavior to the extent that the prediction of behavior can be improved by taking into account other predictor variables as well as the processes involved in attitude formation and retrieval”. The theory of planned behavior by Ajzen (1991) was assumed to improve prediction especially for behaviors over which a person does not have complete voluntary control, for example, complex behaviors that require extensive planning and the right conditions. It has been suggested that the reasons for the difficulty in predicting attitudes could have been determinant behavior and behavioral intentions has to be combined with attitude violence.

In contrast, Drug use, a predominantly influential and theoretically damaging social influence is perceived as a descriptive norm. Descriptive norms are perceptions of individual behavior. (Botvin,1995;Hansen et al,1988) argued that “social skills training can change student’s descriptive norms concerning the prevalence of drug use”. However, (Donaldson et al.,1995; Moberg & Piper;1995) have suggested there has been a major impact after the social skills training as students have reported more drug use. On the other hand, (Albert, Miller-Rassuro & Hecht, 1991) found that by reducing the frequency of drug use in school, decreased the reports of drug use. They also argued that drug prevention programs “do not simultaneously teach resistance skills and lower the perceived prevalence of drug use” and this may “not only be ineffective but actually promotes drug use amongst adolescents”. To support this, Bakker (1995) argued that friend’s experiences influence others through their use of enthusiasm.

Cialdini et al. (2006) highlighted negative descriptive norms and the removal of wood from national parks increased, they highlighted injunctive norms and the removal of wood from national parks decreased but obviously, highlighting descriptive norms is not always counterproductive. While considering social norms and changing behavior, (Goldstein et al.,2008) conducted an experiment to investigate whether using an appeal that conveys the descriptive norm for participation would be desirable or undesirable when trying to encourage guests to change behavior towards being conservative, enabling them to demonstrate behavioral change. This experiment was designed to emphasize the importance of environmental protection but no explicit norm was provided. 75% of the guests had an opportunity to participate in conservation programs and were said to reuse their towels at least once during their stay. The theoretical purpose of this investigation was to examine how the guest’s conformity applies to a descriptive norm.

Goldstein et al (2008) argued that if guests were motivated to reuse their towels, it was hypothesized that the message conveying the descriptive norm would result in greater towel reuse. This intervention was a desirable request and standardized manipulation was given. However, it could be argued that the impact of social norms may have been exaggerated in experimental settings that typically manage and prioritize norm salience. Another intervention was undertaken by Neighbors et al (2004) which involved a scheme to lessen binge drinking among heavy-drinking college students. This involved 252 students who completed measures of reasons for drinking, perceived norms, and drinking behavior. The students were also asked to give their perceptions of typical student drinking and actual student drinking. The results obtained indicated that normative feedback was effective in changing perceived norms and alcohol consumption at 3 and 6 months follow up assessments.

However, in addition, the intervention was somewhat more effective at 3 monthly follow-ups among participants who drank for more social reasons. Although behaviors may have changed slightly, the behavior was thought to be undesirable as it was subjective. However, students tend to overestimate peer consumption of drugs and alcohol, and highlighting the actual consumption rates can reduce consumption. The evidence that changing social norms can influence behavior has been criticized by Mcalanay & McMahon (2007) who believed Neighbors et al (2004)’s study did not take into account factors such as the duration of the drinking sessions and therefore, cannot reliably predict blood alcohol level and intoxication.

While, subjective norms can be assessed directly through asking individuals to give their perceptions, injunctive norms involve voicing opinions. Measuring subjective norms requires individuals to identify referents whose opinions are important, to describe them and their behavior which they are willing to comply with those norms. However, when analysing injunctive norms, it is essential to characterize the perceptions of what most individuals approve or disapprove. They specify what should be done and therefore are morals of the group. Cialdini, Kallgren & Reno (1991) argue that injunctive norms motivate behavior by proposing social rewards or punishments for it. (Fishbein & Ajzen,1975;Ajzen & Fishbein,1980) analysed subjective norms and developed the theory of action as a response to assertions that the concept of attitudes was not particularly useful when predicting behavior.

It is essential to regard the perceptions of friends and families and their expectations regarding any given situation in which individuals may want to participate in. When predicting the likelihood of those who will donate blood, it is necessary to measure how strongly they believe in this necessity and to be compliant with the expectancies, attitudes, and subjective norms which are later combined to form behavior intentions that are used to predict behavior. Similarly, Fishbein (1996) found that the likelihood of undergraduate men engaging in premarital sexual activity was more heavily determined by the expectations of their friends than by their attitudes towards the situation. More recently, Fishbein et al (1993) found that men in well-organized gay communities perceived more pressure and had stronger intentions to avoid sexual activities than those in a less organized community.

In conclusion, it is evident that social norms influence behavior and this has been supported by the evidence given throughout this assignment. The nature of behavior and accuracy of social norm perceptions are both important factors to consider when developing behaviors to change behavior. It is also important to consider that changing norms in the same way for all behaviors and therefore levels of persuasion vary. It is evident that an individual’s decisions are generally based on what friends and families say. When considering how this knowledge may be used to persuade others to change their behavior, it could be argued that change is influenced by injunctive norms which are mediated by cognitive processing of the message and behavior change is influence by descriptive norms and will not require the processing of the message. However, social norms may be influential to individuals in different ways and some are more influential than others as some behavior are affected more by social norms.

 

Example #8 – interesting ideas

How did I break the social norm? I have to do a project and I broke the social norm by riding up the stairs backward but we have to answer questions and I have no idea. Explain how you broke the social norm? What do you even say to that?

Answer. That’s breaking the social norm because the social norm would be walking down the stairs forwards not cycling up the stairs backward. A social norm is something that a certain society deems as normal for example it’s a social norm for people in western society to celebrate their birthday by having a party/presents etc whereas in some cultures they do not do this.


Why is it functional to break social norms? For my sociology class, I have to break a social norm so I wore my clothes inside out for four days. now I have to answer the question “why is it functional to break social norms?”

Answer. I’m guessing when you say functional you mean it works against the social norm. This can usually only be done in large groups, because when you break a social norm, wearing your clothes forward (or “regularly”), people still have the social norm to disregard what you are trying to prove. It usually ends up making “you” the indifferent person rather than changing people’s opinions on wearing their clothes backward, so they probably want because they don’t want to be like you, or indifferent. However, if you did happen to break a social norm it would result in a “hole” for individuality, also meaning people would choose what they want to do rather than following what everyone else is doing and being what our society considers normal. This normality of society can be constricting to one’s ambitions.


BREAKING SOCIAL NORMS!!!!? Need some fun ideas for breaking social norms.

Answer. Unfortunately, to break social norms in today’s society you would have to:

  • Have neat and clean hair.
  • No tattoos, body piercings, or rings on your nose.
  • No blaring music, if you can call it music.
  • Be polite and respectful to everyone
  • Learn to count change.

What are some fun ways to break social norms? For sociology, I need to break a social norm but I don’t want to do a boring one like standing backward in the elevator. Any ideas? It’s due Tuesday so I have a few days to do the project.

Answer. When I was in college, I took a sociology course in which our professor asked us to break the social norm of the dress. I wore tacky clothes, a red bra over my shirt, mix-matched shoes, my hair in a crazy bird’s nest, and shades to class. We were asked to document our experiences and write an 8-10 page paper using certain sociological terms to explain the events that occurred throughout the day. It was so FUN! I truly enjoyed this assignment and the experience. It helped me to realize how significant social norms of dress can really be. Why don’t you try this? I assure you, it is quite hilarious to see people’s reactions!

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