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Lecture 2

SOCB50H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Tim Hortons, Panopticon

Course Code
Joe Hermer

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September 24, 2018
SOCB50 — LEC 02 !
What is a norm?
-A norm is a behaviour, an attribute or idea that is widely viewed as being acceptable
at a particular time and place!
Two general ways that sociologists approach studying norms and deviance
-Objectivist (positivist) : take social norms as given and ‘natural’; assume widespread
consensus !
Interest in why people break norms !
And how people can be made to conform !
-Subjectivist (humanist): do not take social norms as natural, given — norms are a
product of social relations!
Do not assume widespread consensus — acknowledge conflict and dissent !
Interested in how norms are constructed and what the consequences are !
-Most people are on the subjectivist end !
-Able to tell how politicians think about norms based on how they approach the topic !
Qualities of norms
-A norm of civic inattention: when going about your day and minding your own
business, you don’t look at other people !
-Socially defined roles don’t require us to care about the context around us, just
allows us to do our job!
-Norms are internalized in ways we are not aware of (mundane)!
Because they are internalized it makes them powerful, why?!
Theres a price for dissenting, the world is the way it is and theres nothing we can
do about it !
They are morally neutral !
-Norms are the moral machinery that make everyday life possible !
Behaviour norms are conducts that happen everyday automatically!
-Norms are externalized in terms of space !
-The panopticon (Bentham, 1785)!
A new type of prison that keeps surveillance on the prison population!
The guards are placed in a position where they can see all the prisoners at every
angle very quickly!
The idea of placing one person to watch all over others through space as a form
social control emerged and influenced prison schools, etc !
Has many qualities to it !
Informs the norms of the place you are in (classroom)!
-Places are designed to encourage a certain type of behaviour or norm (norms are
-Internalized norms work with externalized norms that has to do with norms and laws !
-Norm breach: someone breaches a norm to see what happens !
-Remember example of walking into Tim Hortons and not waiting your turn in line!
There is always a relationship b/w norms, rules, and laws!
Even if breaking a norm is not illegal, the law is always watching, its not illegal but
can be made illegal !
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