List the norms, folkways, and mores from American society. Is it difficult to identify them? Why?
Discuss the importance of these in American culture. Do any of them seem silly, irrelevant, etc.? What would happen if someone “broke a norm” (not a law)? How would people respond? Why?
If your parents/grandparents were to make this list would it look the same/different? What do these differences imply about the social changes that have taken place in our society? Has cultural leveling influenced any of these changes?
Many social norms which we follow involve respecting others and representing ourselves well. A few social norms which I believe to be most important are dressing properly for certain occasions, like work, tipping at restaurants, saying please and thank you, asking for permission to do things when at others’ homes, not commenting on someone’s appearance, and respecting others’ personal space. These social norms have become an integral component of our society. Some of these social norms may seem silly at times, but they are very important in creating strong social relations. It is important that we respect one another and are aware of how we present ourselves. If anyone chooses to divert from these social norms, they may be perceived as disrespectful and unaware of their surroundings. People would react very negatively to this, possibly vocally expressing their concern, or by showing their discontent. If my parents and or grandparents were to create their own list of social norms, I believe that there would be many similarities, but also many differences. Because my parents and grandparents grew up during a time where society was so different, their concept of what is socially acceptable is not the same as my own. Technology is a big contributor to this, as it has caused the evolution of mankind and society to be exaggerated and accelerated. One example of this is that my dad often uses his iPhone speaker audio in crowded public areas. Because he never experienced having access to such technology up until the past decade, he has not been acclimated to the social responsibility and expectation that comes along with using these devices. Although I, and many people my age, view this as disrespectful because it creates social tension, my dad does not understand this concept because he lived a majority of his life without having to worry about such social norms. A similarity I have noticed between my own concept of social norms and my parents’ and grandparents’ concepts is being especially polite when in others’ homes. I think that this similarity has sustained itself because humans naturally value respect. Social norms are bound to change and evolve based on the current society, but the basic concept of respect has been expressed since the beginning of time. Cultural leveling has contributed greatly to a shift in social norms. Diversity and how we address it has changed drastically over time, and along with it, so have our norms. The United States of America is an extremely diverse country that houses many ethnic and racial backgrounds. Over time, we have become more accepting and tolerant of other cultures. One example of this is that in the past, we used to have separate restrooms for white people and people of color. Although we now see this as wrong, that was what was socially acceptable in the past. If people participated in this action today, they would be labeled as racist, but because it was socially acceptable in the past, everyone assumed it to be normal. We are still a very diverse country, but we have become more integrated over time, leading to the widespread shift in social norms.
Norms are classified as the expectations within a given society, depending on the cultural values. A normless society would bring about disorder since norms relate to a set of rules and conduct. Norms also allow society to follow enforceability, which can create further order and stability in a society. It is important to note that norms are deeply rooted in most state of affairs, in which they are either colloquial or formal in nature. All the more, people would intrinsically know how to act and participate in a given environment when acknowledging the rules. Folkways are the degree/mode of conduct, which are behaviors that are followed by a certain set of groups. They are classified as salient beliefs, based upon the costumes of a subset of individual groups. Mores are stern norms that are unequivocally able to control ethical and moral values. The majority of mores are the laws and rules within a given culture. Through the means of violating a more, one would be punished according to the law. Distinguishing between norms, folkways, and mores is made simple, in which all are classified with a given set of examples in accordance with their individual descriptions. Each are held at certain levels that differ from each other, in which folkways are based on belief, norms are based on expectations, and mores are able to control ethical and moral values through strict norms. Following, such factors are found in most situations in today’s day and age, as they relate to day-to-day life.
In American culture, the idea of folkways is still heavily used in today’s day and age in which certain groups of people are enthralled by traditional values and theology. As folkways relate to behaviors that are influenced by individual groups, many desire to spread their ideologies. This in my opinion is made silly since some individuals go against mores as they base their beliefs on their religion, thereby changing laws when successful. This ties into the idea of theocracy vs democracy in which such factors must be separated in society. If someone were to break a norm, they would break a general rule in which they will be judged by their humanistic behavior in a society, this could eventually lead to social deviance. Yes, if my parents/grandparents were to make such a list, such factors would be similar; they have experienced society long enough to understand such implications. As they are influenced by society, they would have similar ideologies to most others who are following the norms, mores, and folkways. However, each individual has their own beliefs on society so they would not be exact; especially when taking politics and religion into account (serving as examples out of many). Due to social changes, society must take time to adjust since the aforementioned factors must slowly change overtime. Depending on the individual, one can be progressive or vice versa, in this given case scenario both my parents and grandparents share the same values; thereby reinforcing the aforementioned statement. cultural leveling has influenced such changes due to technology and globalization etc., in which people are able to adjust to changes at a faster level due to the further perpetuation of human advancement. Likewise, mores, folkways, and norms will always have their place in society, however, they are always adjusting with the times due to societal transformation.