Norms are the agreed‐upon expectations and rules by which a culture guides the behavior of its members in any given
situation. Of course, norms vary widely across cultural groups. Americans, for instance, maintain fairly direct eye contact
when conversing with others. Asians, on the other hand, may avert their eyes as a sign of politeness and respect.
Sociologists speak of at least four types of norms: folkways, mores, taboos, and laws.
Folkways, sometimes known as “conventions” or “customs,” are standards of behavior that are socially approved but not
morally significant. For example, belching loudly after eating dinner at someone else's home breaks an American folkway.
Mores are norms of morality. Breaking mores, like attending church in the nude, will offend most people of a culture.
Certain behaviors are considered
taboo, meaning a