Many of the rules of our society we abide by subconsciously Wearing clothes, stopping at lights, etc.  Why do we "agree' to these rules?

Cultural values = shared assumptions about what is good, right or important What is considered good, right or important in one culture may be considered bad, wrong or unimportant in another.

Cultural values may change over time.  In a complex society this may happen relatively quickly.

Med School changed to COPS: women in the workforce, small cars instead of big ones.

Values of Americans?

1)    Individual endeavour - the most "respected" are often the money-makers.

2)   Education

3)    Bigness - homes, businesses building, stadiums, planes, etc.

4)    Spatial movement - cover long distances for movies, work, etc.

5)    Time - time is money.  Computers make things happen in less time.  “Get here On time!'

6)     Technology - invention/advances are continuous

7)    Physical comfort - Lazy-boy chair, work overtime to get more money to make our lives more comfortable

8)    Self-improvement - physical, educational (foreign languages, correspondence courses).



Make a list of some values you believe Canadians share.


Social Norms = group-shared rules of behaviour which in turn are based on the shared values of a community­: examples: wearing clothes, paying bills, obeying traffic signals, remaining silent in a library, standing for the anthem, brushing our teeth.  One who breaks the norms (does not follow the rules) is called a deviant.  Some people are expected to behave in certain ways.  This depends on their role in the community.  Example: at the scene of an accident the role of the doctor is different than the role of the onlooker when injured people must be taken care of.    Or The centre of a football team is expected to do a certain job on the field while the quarterback is expected to do another.

Suspension of the norms may occur under special circumstances.  Ex: Ambulances Fire engines rushing to and accident



Kind of norms:

1)            Folkways: the etiquette and customs of a people that are not of critical importance to the society.  Ex: Playing a trumpet late at night when others can hear it.  Be courteous to older people.  Don’t park in the no parking zone.  For infractions of some folkways you may be reprimanded or be considered boorish, thoughtless or a nuisance but you would not be considered evil or immoral.  Spanking naughty children is a folkway.


2)         Mores: rules of behaviour that are very important since violation would endanger the basic stability of a society.  Ex: Do not kill, steal, set fire to your neighbour's house, cheat on exams (marks tell other that you are better than you really are), do not lie.  One who violates the mores is considered immoral.  Can be stated negatively or positively: ex: don't kill = Let others live.


3) Laws: the more complex a society becomes, the more its folkways and mores are turned into laws.

The difference between laws and mores: laws are set up and enforced by the state. mores are setup, maintained and enforced by public sentiment.  Laws are thus formalized norms that specify the rules and carry the threat of punishment.  They are the most clearly defined of the three kinds of social norms.


Why does every society have norms?  To keep order.  The way people keep order can be quite different in different parts of the world.  It is based on the values people hold dear.

What makes people in a society conform to the norms?


1) Internalization = The belief that a norm is good, useful or appropriate.  They obey and feel others should.  Ex: we have internalized what to do with a napkin.  Did Genie?


2)            Sanctions = rewards or punishments that a society sets up to enforce the norms.  Done to protect society from chaos. positive sanctions = rewards (promise, awards, bonuses) negative sanctions = punishment (ridicule, fines, imprisonment, beatings, spankings)


physical sanctions = bring physical pain or pleasure.  Ex: Having it brings pleasure, losing it brings pain. ( A spanking also brings pain.) psychological sanctions = address the feelings and emotions of a person.  They can make one feel good or bad.  Positive psychological sanctions are found in compliments ribbons, badges and awards.


Negative psychological sanctions are found in insults and rejection.

Formal sanctions = rewards or punishments used to enforce the laws of organizations, institutions, societies and are carried out by some regulatory body (award-granting organizations, police).  Example of rewards: physical: a trip : psychological  : Victoria cross.  Example of punishments: physical : capital punishment, imprisonment;   psychological: threat of being dispelled or loss of a license.

Informal sanctions = tend to be unwritten and are based on personal relations involving folkways and mores, and tend to be based on public opinion. Physical informal sanctions: people in your neighbourhood take up a collection for you because they want you to be able to pay the lawyers bill for having defended yourself against a thief. Psychological informal sanctions: insults, gossip, avoidance, rejection.

Social sanctions are 1) positive or negative, 2) physical or psychological, 3) formal or informal.

The development of cultures: cultures hold common beliefs (values) about what is right and wrong.

Second, cultures develop norms, (folkways, mores and laws)

Third, cultures develop sanctions to help enforce the value system (norms, etc)