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SOCY 211 (69)

cultural norms

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Queen's University
SOCY 211
Sidney Eve Matrix

SOCA10-Lecture 3 Culture and Society: 4 types of Norms: Folkways, Mores, Taboos, Customs Sanction (punishment) strength: how strong does society punish people for violating any of these norms Weakest  Folkways Customs Mores Strongest Taboos What are norms? -they are more specific to groups and individuals here -fewer people adhere to norms -norms govern everyday conduct (mundane = ordinary) routines -they are concrete guides to conduct -they tell us what is permitted/allowed (prescribed) and what is not allowed (proscribed) -they vary widely particularly in a modern society that is multicultural (they are more complicated) -they refer to some average behaviour of a culture -modern societies tend to be more accepting of deviance -norms that stray outside the average, modern societies tend to be more accepting of that than traditional societies (there is more flexibility in modern societies) -there is greater opportunity to do your own thing -Sanctions can be informal (done by parents, siblings, friends etc.) -if informal sanctions don’t work, the culture has at its disposal formal sanctions (police and courts can impose these) -these can be employed in the workplace (ex. getting fired) Modern societies have many subcultures: -modern societies are called pluralistic (there is a diversity of norms due to many subcultures) Ethnic norms: -in multicultural societies there are many ethnic subcultures (each has different norms) -many ethnic groups have extended family in which aunts, uncles, grandparents etc. all play a role in raising the children -in your immediate family, only your parents and siblings play a role in socializing Occupational norms: -each occupation has its own mores -there are norms and standards that govern how you do your job -there are guides of conducts -there are ~ 4000 occupations in Canada and each represents a small normative universe -they each have common outlooks of the world within themselves -ex. Journalists always protect their sources -whistle blowers: people who work in the government and see corruption in the government (illegal doings) and expose these -they meet up with journalists and give them the story about government corruption -journalists will never identify that person -many journalists have gone to jail instead of identify the person who gave them their story -if a journalist does identify their sources, they probably wouldn’t get anyone to tell them stories again Countercultural norms: -these norms oppose and reject mainstream norms -ex. Hippie counterculture -rejected consumerism -rejected trying to get rich (wealth) -preferred to live on farms -weren’t interested in the “rat race” Music norms: -norms are not as quite countercultural as you may expect -a lot of hip hop music is mainstream, but some music are specifically countercultural -in Hippie era there was “protest music” =countercultural -in response to the Vietnam War (make love not war) -countercultural music classic  buffalo springfield -Neil Young (classic countercultural guy) -pop musician -Jimmy Hendricks another countercultural figure (overdosed anomic suicide) Norms and Laws -most often norms and mores coincide with laws -ex. most people oppose stealing (norm) and there are laws against stealing -norms and laws don’t always go together -a more is not always a law -ex. friendship norms -mores and norms have certain situationality about them Situationality: norms apply in one situation but not in another -norms are situation specific -ex. you can talk loudly all you like in some social situations, but when it comes to lecture halls, norms specify that remarks should be exchanged quietly -the norms that govern behaviour the most are funeral service norms -you are expected to behave in a grave fashion (gravitaslook/behave serious) Interactive comfort zones: -refers to social distance when you’re interacting with somebody -there are 4 interactive zones: 1. Intimate zones18” –boyfriend/girlfriend -you get up close in cases like dancing 2. Personal zone18”-4’ –friends/acquaintances 3. Social zone 4’-12’ –strangers 4. Public zone >12’ –audiences Ex. behaviour in elevators -people behave strange in elevators because their personal space is invaded -people are crowded together and so people feel uncomfortable -other types of norms -can be divided into the types of sanctions that are imposed when those norms are violated or broken -sometimes when norms are broken, all you get it a little raised eyebrow -but when other norms are broken, you can get disgust, revulsion etc. Folkways: -if a folkway is violated you can get a mild reaction Taboo: -if it is violated, the reaction can sometimes be violent -it all depends on the way a specific culture defines what is a serious violation or what is unimportant as a violation -folkways don’t bring about strong moral disapproval -ex. using the wrong utensil at the dinner table, picking their nose violations of folkways -however, if someone was picking their nose and they were talking to you, that is not a folkway -BUT, if you increase the social distance that can become a folkway, which is the reason why people who drive their cars are frequently picking their nose -social distance in that case means that you cannot provide disapproval because you are too far away -the other thing that operates here as well is that you’re here one second and then you’re gone the next -so social distance influences the strengths of sanctions -that is why people will do things in other fields, but not in situations like face to face encounters Customs: these are norms that have been enforced for a long time -so customs of a culture have tradition behind them -when they are violated, you get a stronger response than you do for a folkway, but it still doesn’t approach a mores -ex. of moresstealing -ex. of custom lineup behaviour: based on equality -held back by possible disapproval -based on first come first serve -people who violate this customjumping lines -ex. greeting people -a custom is “we’ve done this so long, we can’t remember when we started it”, “we’ve done this time out of mind” -sometimes we call customs politeness Taboos: -when you break a taboo, you get a powerful response -you can get horror, disgust, etc. -ex. the incest taboo: members of the same family cannot have sexual relations -ex. murder, serial rape, pedophilia (the desire that some people have to have sexual relations with children) -when sex offenders are put behind bars/ in prison, you need to segregate them -sex offenders are given protective custody -otherwise other inmates will kill them (because they see themselves as totally different than the sex offenders—they don’t like the idea of having to share facilities with people who deserve to be killed) -ex. Paul Bernardo, Jeffery Daumer: was in protective custody, a serial murder, rapist, sex offender, but other inmates managed to get to him and killed him -prison inmates treat people who violate taboos more harshly than society Status and Role: -status is not prestige -status is a socially defined position/slot in a culture -all cultures have statuses -the most common clusters of statuses are called kinship statuses -father, mother, daughter, sister, brother, grandmother -it tells people how they should relate to each other -what is desirable behaviour and undesirable behaviour Male/female status Marital status-married, divorced, single, widowed -not apparent -but society finds it useful to distinguish married people from unmarried people by married people having a ring showing people to back off Religious status -if you live in a society where everyone is of the same religion it’s much more difficult to say religion is a status in those circumstances -the degree to which religion becomes a status can vary widely -the same applies to ethnicity and race -if you are a catholic or a protestant, so in Northern Ireland, they are very important statuses -ethnicity can be very important in ex. Afghanistan which is mostly tribal, so an ethnic status can be significant in that country -race can be an important status in a country like Guyana where there is friction between black and south Asians Educational status -it is a notch/position in society -it is important because it relates to the master status (Occupation) -tells people who you are -work tells people how much money you make -your occupational status also tells people about the education you’ve had -gives people an idea of the amount of prestige you have -some occupations have more prestige than others -the occupations in our society with the most prestige are the professions (doctors, dentists, lawyers) -occupational statuses also tell people about your social class -all societies are stratified based on occupation, education, income, and prestige -by these statuses, people know what they can and cannot say Role: the dynamic aspect of status -we occupy statuses but we play roles -a role is a set of cultural expectations that focus on a particular status -so if you occupy a certain status, t
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