Social Norms

Definition 1
Norms are what shape a culture’s behavior and the things they do also known as expectations of a specific Culture. Such as traditions, hospitality, clothing, and actions of the people and who in general the people of a specific society are

An Example of the concept as it is affected my life.
An Example is, In Ukraine (The Country I Grew up in) we would have an expectation of where, If we would go to someone’s house for tea, before entering the house we would need to take our shoes off to show respect to the housewife. And another Norm is when we greet someone such as a woman greets women they would hug and sometimes if it is a family then they would give a kiss on the cheek. If a Woman greets a Man then it would be a simple handshake but if family then it would be a hug… Then if a Man Greets a Man it would be a hug and a pat on the back… Also during festivals, the men and women would wear vyshyvanka which is an embroidered shirt which we use to show off.

Picture of Ukrainian Norms

Photo of Ukranian dancer
Source: Creative Commons

Definition 2
Concept: How something/a situation is supposed to be according to the society and to meet its expectations

Personal example: My parents got divorced when I was about 8, and my dad has had custody over me ever since. The norm in society, to me, seems to be that the mothers get the children or should get the children. For the fathers to get custody of the children is not very common. It happens, but it is not common in society. Society has made it out that when parents get divorced, it should be the mother that gets custody of the child/children. I have had some family friends from an old church tell my dad that my mother needs to be more included and even had some family members say how my dad should be dating to get remarried. It gets annoying after a while.

Definition 3
A norm is an unwritten rule of society, the breaking of which is not necessarily illegal and therefore punishable by law but would be seen as abnormal and possibly rude. Different cultures have greatly different norms, and norms in certain societies may be considered very strange in others.

An example of a norm is shaking hands with someone you are greeting or who is greeting you. This is especially common in professional settings, and not shaking someone’s hand when offered to is considered rude.

Definition 4
A norm is what is expected and what is “normal” to society. I can be written as law or become an informal norm that will not send people to jail for breaking them but can be considered rude or weird to the people that follow that norm.

Example: In my culture, when a family member dies the males closest to the family member are expected to become monks for the funeral service. I had to do this and go through this process for my grandmothers funeral.

Definition 5

The “normal” in society, what most people see as a guideline to act like or look like where they would be accepted in society. I’ve seen myself do this multiple times, not wearing something because “nobody wears that, only the bold people” or “should I do this? How will others view this/me?

Carteoon with man saying, "Does anyone know where we keep the unwritten rules?" as he looks through file cabinet


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Our Sociological Glossary, by LWTech Students Copyright © 2021 by Lake Washington Institute of Technology is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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