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Encyclopedia > Norm (sociology)

In sociology, a norm, or social norm, is a rule that is socially enforced. Social sanctioning is what distinguishes norms from other cultural products or social constructions such as meaning and values. Norms and normlessness are thought to affect a wide variety of human behavior. Image File history File links Please see the file description page for further information. ... A convention is a set of agreed, stipulated or generally accepted rules, norms, standards or criteria, often taking the form of a custom. ... Social interactions and their consequences are the subject of sociology. ... Culture (from the Latin cultura stemming from colere, meaning to cultivate), generally refers to patterns of human activity and the symbolic structures that give such activity significance. ... A social construction, social construct or social concept is an institutionalized entity or artifact in a social system invented or constructed by participants in a particular culture or society that exists solely because people agree to behave as if it exists, or agree to follow certain conventional rules. ... The introduction to this article provides insufficient context for those unfamiliar with the subject matter. ... Each individual has certain underlying values that contribute to their value system (see value in semiotics). ... Anomie, in contemporary English means the absence of any kind of rule, law, principle or order. ... Human behavio(u)r is the collection of activities performed by human beings and influenced by culture, attitudes, emotions, values, ethics, authority, rapport, hypnosis, persuasion, and/or coercion. ...

Contents

Levels of enforcement

Levels of enforcement, in decreasing order:

  • Violations of norms are punished with sanctions, possibly enforced by law.
  • Violators of norms are considered eccentric or even deviant and are stigmatized.
  • Alternative behaviors are not acknowledged. The norm is presumed, often to an extreme, in an attempt to avoid any challenge that might provoke stigma or sanction or even lead to redefinition of normative behavior. As a series of examples that are under tremendous contemporary pressure as norms evolve: the term "lover" once was presumed to denote a person of the opposite sex; a "mature" adult once was presumed to be or have been married; and a "couple" once was presumed to have or want children.

81.145.240.133 21:07, 12 December 2006 (UTC)≈== Types of norms == WHA WHA WHINGWHA Sanction is an interesting word, in that, depending on context, it can have diametrically opposing meanings. ... // Balancing scales are symbolic of how law mediates peoples interests For other senses of this word, see Law (disambiguation). ... In popular usage, eccentricity refers to unusual or odd behavior on the part of a person, as opposed to being normal. ... Deviant behavior is behavior that is a recognized violation of cultural norms. ... Social stigma refers to severe social disapproval of personal characteristics that is against cultural norms. ...


There are three kinds of norms:


Folkways

A society's web of cultural rituals, traditions and routines. Deviation is not usually considered a serious threat to social organization and is thus sanctioned less severely than moral deviation. Example: In certain households in the U.S., it is a folkway to say grace before eating Thanksgiving dinner. See Faux pas Thanksgiving, or Thanksgiving Day, is an annual one-day holiday to give thanks, traditionally to God, for the things one has at the close of the harvest season. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...


Moral

Moral judgements that define wrong and right behavior, the allowed and the disallowed, what is wanted and not wanted within a culture. The word is the plural of the Latin mor-, mos, which means 'custom'. A violation of mores is usually considered by society as a threat to social organization and harshly sanctioned. Examples: Drug use, sexual promiscuity, and extreme styles of dress.


"More than ambition, more than ability, it is rules that limit contribution; rules are the lowest common denominator of human behavior. They are a substitute for rational thought". - Admiral Hyman Rickover


Laws

In highly organized societies, formalized and precisely delimited norms. The breaking of legal norms, or laws, invokes procedures and judgments through formal, legal institutions, such as police and the courts, set up to enforce them. These norms generally relate to individual violations of mores or to the adjustment of proprietary relationships.


Heteronormativity

Main article: Heteronormativity Heteronormativity is a term used in the discussion of sexual behavior, gender, and society, primarily within the fields of queer theory and gender theory. ...


Heteronormativity is a system of norms dictating the range of socially acceptable sexual and gender identities. It is based around the notion that all people fall into two categories, male and female, and that there are essentialized notions of how these two sexes are expected to act. Sexual orientation describes the direction of an individuals sexuality, often in relation to their own sex or gender. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... The shield and spear of the Roman God Mars are often used to represent the male sex In heterogamous species, male is the sex of an organism, or of a part of an organism, which typically produces smaller, mobile gametes (spermatozoa) that are able to fertilise female gametes (ova). ... The hand mirror and comb of the Roman Goddess Venus is often used to represent the female sex. ... Essentialism is the belief and practice centered on a philosophical claim that for any specific kind of entity it is at least theoretically possible to specify a finite list of characteristics, all of which any entity must have to belong to the group defined. ...


Game-theoretical analysis of norms

A general formal framework that can be used to represent the essential elements of the social situation surrounding a norm is the repeated game of game theory. In game theory, a repeated game (or iterated game) is an extensive form game which consists in some number of repetitions of some base game (called a stage game). ... Game theory is a branch of applied mathematics and economics that studies situations where players choose different actions in an attempt to maximize their returns. ...


A norm gives a person a rule of thumb for how she should behave. However, a rational person only acts according to the rule if only it is optimal for her. The situation can be described as follows. A norm gives an expectation of how other people act in a given situation (macro). A person acts optimally given the expectation (micro). In order for a norm to be stable, people's actions must reconstitute the expectation without change (micro-macro feedback loop). A set of such correct stable expectations is known as a Nash equilibrium. Thus, a stable norm must constitute a Nash equilibrium. A rule of thumb is an easily learned and easily applied procedure for approximately calculating or recalling some value, or for making some determination. ... Rational may be: the adjective for the state of rationality acting according to the philosophical principles of rationalism a mathematical term for certain numbers; the rational numbers the software company Rational Software; now owned by IBM, and formerly Rational Software Corporation This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid... expectation in the context of probability theory and statistics, see expected value. ... Structural stability is a mathematical concept concerning whether a given function is sensitive to a small perturbation. ... In game theory, the Nash equilibrium (named after John Forbes Nash, who proposed it) is a kind of solution concept of a game involving two or more players, where no player has anything to gain by changing only his or her own strategy unilaterally. ...


There exist various norms throughout the world. What account for the vast variety? From game theoretical point of view, there are two explanans for this. One is the difference in games. Different parts of the world may give different environmental contexts and different people may have different values, which may result in a difference in games. The other is equilibrium selection not explicable by the game itself. Equilibrium selection is closely related to coordination. For a simplest example, the game of choosing which side of the road you drive is common throughout the world, but in some countries you coordinate to drive on the right side and in other countries you coordinate on the left side (see coordination game). A framework called comparative institutional analysis is proposed to deal with the game theoretical structural understanding of the variety of norms. Hempel and Oppenheim (1948) motivate the distinction between explanans and explanandum in order to answer why-questions, rather than simply what-questions: (p. ... In game theory, the Nash equilibrium (named after John Nash) is a kind of optimal strategy for games involving two or more players, whereby the players reach an outcome to mutual advantage. ... In game theory, the Nash equilibrium (named after John Nash) is a kind of optimal strategy for games involving two or more players, whereby the players reach an outcome to mutual advantage. ...


Example (gift exchange)

The Norm of Reciprocity:


In the western world, it is a custom to exchange gifts on various holidays. It is so deeply ingrained in the minds of people that many do not think of acting otherwise.


Now, suppose you become fed up with exchanging gifts. It is not necessarily easy to change your actions. Unilaterally changing your actions to stop giving gifts may give others the impression that you are a selfish person, and that impression is probably not in your interest. Notice, that your friends may be following the norm for the same reasons as you. If that is the case, you are wrongly coordinating due to the customary norm of gift exchange and are trapped in a prisoner's dilemma game. Coordination with communication may be necessary to get out of the prisoner's dilemma situation. Will the two prisoners cooperate to minimize total loss of liberty or will one of them, trusting the other to cooperate, betray him so as to go free? In game theory, the prisoners dilemma is a type of non-zero-sum game in which two players can cooperate with...


See also

In the field of social psychology, a breaching experiment is an experiment that seeks to examine peoples reactions to violations of commonly accepted social rules or norms. ... In sociology, counterculture is a term used to describe a cultural group whose values and norms of behavior run counter to those of the social mainstream of the day, the cultural equivalent of political opposition. ... Heteronormativity is a term used in the discussion of sexual behavior, gender, and society, primarily within the fields of queer theory and gender theory. ... Intercultural competence is the ability for successful communication with people of other cultures. ... The introduction to this article provides insufficient context for those unfamiliar with the subject matter. ... In philosophy, normative is usually contrasted with positive, descriptive or explanatory when describing types of theories, beliefs, or statements. ... Peer pressure comprises a set of group dynamics whereby a group in which one feels comfortable may override personal habits, individual moral inhibitions or idiosyncratic desires to impose a group norm of attitudes and/or behaviors. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Norm (268 words)
In sociology, norm is a technical term describing the expected pattern of behavior in a given situation, the custom.
In psychometrics a norm is a statistical characteristic of a sample used for purposes of comparison.
For example, a student's score on a standardized test of academic achievement may be expressed as the percentile rank of that score in a norm group intended to be representative of the population of students.
Norm (sociology) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (849 words)
In sociology, a norm, or social norm, is a rule that is socially enforced.
Norms and normlessness are thought to affect a wide variety of human behavior.
As a series of examples that are under tremendous contemporary pressure as norms evolve: the term "lover" once was presumed to denote a person of the opposite sex; a "mature" adult once was presumed to be or have been married; and a "couple" once was presumed to have or want children.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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