Break a Social Norm Assignment
A norm is an expected form of behavior in a given situation. There are norms for how to behave in classrooms, waiting rooms, restaurants, on dates, at family gatherings, on public transportation, in traffic, during the day, at night, in a cafe, at a store, in public, in private. For every situation that we find ourselves in, there is a socially agreed-upon set of behaviors that is considered normal.
For this assignment you will choose a social norm, research the social norm, analyze the social norm in writing, break the social norm, and write a written reflection of your experience (i.e. research).
The purpose of this assignment is to think critically about social norms, learn more about one social norm in particular, experience social control/social sanctions, and effectively write about it.
Step 1: Choose a social norm.
Step 2: Do some research. Google the social norm and learn about where it came
from, why we have it, etc. Find out if it’s regional or cross-cultural. Take notes on what you find out.
Step 3: Break/violate the social norm.
Before you break the norm write down some notes about how you feel, what you’re nervous/worried/excited about. What you hypothesize will happen.
After you break the norm write down what happened--just the basic reporting of what occured. Then interpret what occurred. What did it feel like to break the norm? How did people react? Did you expect their reactions? Did anything surprise you?
Step 4: Write a reflection paper in which you address the following questions: - What social norm did you pick?
- Why did you pick it?
- What have you noticed about this social norm so far in your life?
- What did you learn about the social norm from reading about it online? Answer as many of the following questions as possible:
- Why do we have this norm?
- Is the norm local or global?
- Is it cross-cultural?
- What kinds of people adhere to this norm?
- What is the history of the norm?
- Report on how you felt before you broke the norm, what you thought would happen (your hypothesis), what did happen, what you expected v. what surprised you, and what you learned overall from the assignment.
Introduction and selection of the social norm
Social norms are unwritten behavioral rules often considered acceptable within a particular social group. As noted by Acemoglu and Jackson (2017), social norms normally function to provide predictability and order within society. They allow individuals to belong to a social group, hence acceptance by others within that community. Breaking any of the norms can, therefore, result in isolation. For this discussion, I chose to investigate one of the social norms that mainly functions in public gyms. Public gyms are fitness centers shared by different people from diverse backgrounds. In modern society, especially within the urban settlements, open gyms have become common as most people do not have enough spaces in their homes to set up private physical activity facilities. There are usually normalized behaviors in the gym. If one breaks any of the typical behaviors, it is highly likely that other people will react indifferently to...
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