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Norms in Society

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When you sit in a group of people there are always implicit rules that the group uses. Some people may ask how they are supposed to know these rules if they are not openly stated. The answer is that these norms are often transmitted through behaviors such as body language and facial expressions. Frowns are seen on the faces of others when an individual breaks an implicit norm and when norms are followed there are smiles. People in the group must decide whether these rules are acceptable and if they aren't acceptable, individuals must make a frightening decision. Individuals must decide if they are willing to go along with these norms or risk exclusion from the group. Many people will opt to follow these norms even if they don't necessarily approve of them because many people do not want to feel like outcasts. From an early age, kids want to be accepted. ...read more.


As a society, people have internalized social norms so well because they are ingrained into our minds at an early age. Norms are so frequently activated that it becomes normal to follow them. Referring back to the hand raising example, when students are constantly being taught to raise their hands in the classroom it becomes a routine that is hard to break. According to a college professor Bradley Wright, "In ten years, I've only been able to convince one of my classes to just speak without raising their hands." There are such strong associations between situations and behaviors have formed so thinking about those situations makes the appropriate behavior more likely. (Social Psychology: Norms) Not only are norms frequently activated, but they are also enforced by rewards and punishments. Breaking norms can result in a formal punishment, such as being fined or imprisoned, or an informal punishment, such as being stared at or shunned by others. ...read more.


However, not all people have sufficient legitimate means to achieve these goals so they resort to illegitimate activities such as robbery or drug dealing. (Kendall 217) Social norms are established throughout society and within groups everywhere. In order to maintain acceptance, popularity, and often times success, it is almost essential to go along with these social norms. Since many individuals do not want to be shunned and punished for rejecting social norms, people follow these norms. It almost becomes routine because these norms are internalized in individuals from the day they are born. However, not all people follow these social norms. Some people resort to deviant behavior when they do not have legitimate means of attaining the success and wealth that people in society yearn to have or when they are already labeled as deviants. The pressure that society puts on people to follow social norms and the pressure that society puts on people to attain success is what ultimately drives people to either break or follow social norms. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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