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Important information about Norms

Sociologists recognize norms in two different categories; formal and informal. These formal and informal categories govern every culture's daily activities.

If you were asked to temporarily take the position of a high school principal, from a sociological perspective, what norms would you want to govern the student's behavior?

Could you please include the type of norm you would suggest and provide examples please.

How might these norms differ from those appropriate for college students?

Solution Preview

Establishing norms and values is a part of forming a society and building a culture. Norms and values evolve as new technologies or social movements are diffused into a society. For instance, when I was a child in the 1970s divorce was scandalous. I remember when the parents of a girl in my elementary school divorced mainly because it was such a big deal at the time. Obviously our society now has adopted new views of marriage and subsequently divorce. The current norm is that divorce happens.

Norms, once understood, tend to dictate our behavior. It is the norm in the United States for all people to wear clothes in public and for women to wear clothes that cover their entire torsos. A woman who walks around topless in public definitely goes against the norm. We learn in our early childhood what these norms are and we follow them up until the point we decide - either as a culture or a subculture - that we don't like the way things are. Maybe that means women stop wearing shirts, that we accept and understand that some marriages end in divorce, or that we decide it is OK to be "fashionably late."

I helped another student with a question about subcultures. I want to give you a definition I found for him at ...

Solution Summary

The solution provides assistance and advise in tackling the topic of formal and informal norms as set in the original question (see above). It is scenario-based and as such the solution is also based on the proposed scenario (the suggested norms to govern student behavior in a high school).