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The Peculiarities Of Social Norms

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As we know that diverse people deport our self contrarily in certain situations. This is how they behave in these circumstances. Let take an example of any food restaurant, like – McDonalds, when people visit there, they stand in line to order their food at the counter, after then they again make line at serving counter to take their order and then after consumption when leaving the restaurant, throw left-over food material or any waste in dustbins. So, who told them to do this, who made these types of rules like standing in line, etc. people cram these sorts of thing from each other, by beholding at other people just to uphold discipline in society.

Social norms

Now come to a point, social norms, what are these? As I gave example in foremost passage, Social norms are written and unwritten rules. Different societies have different rules followed by people.

These norms tells us what is good, right or wrong in the society. So, these are rules and regulations by which society guides the behaviour of its members. For example – while boarding a bus, again all people silently stand in the line. One more when boarding a bus, all other people give priority to old ones to go at first. This is a kind of norm made by community to respect, help and give precedence to old people.

There are mainly two types of norms: –

  1. Formal norms
  2. Informal norms

Formal Norms

Formal norms are written rules. These are the kind of norms which are established and also these are firmly enforced to the society. Formal norms are very imperative rules. If someone violate these rules, then strict action is taken against that person. All people must obey these norms. If anyone break the law, then he/she get arrested.

For example – Laws, laws are formal norms because these are inscribed and recognised. All people follow these laws no matter who they are, even politicians or people who are at higher post also maintain these commandments. Like- in some countries, money is highly valued. So, in these countries, monetary crimes are strictly punished. If someone break this rule like rob a bank, then the robber is highly punished and also go to prison. Because if that robber is punished then other people will aware about this and maybe if someone other plan to do same then he could think upon it about the consequences of doing this.

It is also against the law to drive drunk, because it is dangerous for the life of that people because by doing this accident might happen and it could lead to death. These rules cares for the people’s lives. In Canada, it is strictly against the law to drive drunk. There are many laws in Canada to punish drunk driving.

Murder is also a kind of formal norm. if someone do a murder then he/she will face many difficulties like go to prison, sometimes martyrdom.

Informal norms

These are norms which are not written. These are very simple norms like made by society. People learn these norms by observing other people, by socialization and sometimes from their elders also. If someone do not track informal norms, then he/she is not strictly chastised but considered as shameful in the society sometimes. Informal norms are different among different societies. This is a kind of casual behaviour and express personal relations also.

For example – Different Cultures have different methods of greeting new people. Like – in some cultures, people kiss on other person’s cheeks while in others, people start conversations after handshaking and in few cultures, when greeting person join his both hands to show respect to other person.

Use napkins, cover your mouth with your hands while coughing, sneezing, etc. kids acquire very quickly that picking your nose in front of others is measured as shameful.

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In Canada, there are many informal norms at restaurants, any public place, while rooming a bus, etc. As I already mentioned in the initial, an example of McDonalds, like here people stand in a line to order and then after eating, just leave rather than talking with strangers by sitting at the tables of the restaurant.

There are a lot of rulebooks to talk with outsiders in the community. It is fine if someone sit beside to the stranger in crowded bus, but it is not okay if take a seat only beside to the stranger in empty bus. Similarly, it is good to stand with someone in atm line but weird if look over his shoulders as he/she makes the transaction.

Norms are further classified into three categories: –

  1. Folkways
  2. Mores
  3. Taboos


These are just conventional and small norms. These direct usual behaviours of the person. If someone violate folkways then there is no serious punishment given to the subject, because these are common things and used in day-to-day life of everyone. These are made by society. For example – if a cellphone rings in a class then lass may laugh at this rather than giving any punishment like prison. Folkways specify whether to shake hands or kiss on cheeks while acknowledgment. It also tells whether to wear a black colour shirt with blue jeans or to wear white colour shirt. Like in some counties if women say hello or smile with men in street then it is okay, there is no problem to anyone but in some nations, it is not satisfactory. Folkways might be minor behaviours.


These are the norms highly connected to morality. These are strictly enforced and constructed on societal necessities. There are a lot of strong mores which are threatened by legal laws. If someone intrude upon mores, then he/she face serious consequences. Like in most of the countries murder is considered as more (formal norm), if someone break this or do the murder then he will strictly be punished. There are some mores which are controlled by public sentiment those are informal. People who violate these kinds of mores, they considered as shameful in the society or sometimes banned in some groups of society. For example – in some countries, not having a sex before marriage, like in India, if someone do the sex before marriage then they and even their family along with them considered as disgraceful in the culture. In some countries, for example – in Canada, plagiarism is taken as more in schools (plagiarism means if a student copy from internet or from any other source and just paste it on his/her assignment/notes).


These are really very chief and strong norms. These are referring to activities which are outlawed by ethical principles. Taboos are most deeply held norms. Their disobedience induces severe chastisement. Taboos are slightly similar to mores because their destruction leads to serious penalty. Taboos are also mention to authoritative decent exclusions in secular framework.


These are people’s reactions to follow/track and breaking/avoiding social norms. Sanctions are of two types –POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE.

Positive sanctions

It means, if someone shadow norms, then society’s reaction is positive, means people treat them in a positive/ good way. Smile and promotion is an example of positive sanction.

Laughing is also a kind of positive sanction but it depends on a situation. If people laugh on someone’s joke, then it is taken as positive respond to that person who voices a joke.

Negative sanctions

It is just reverse to positive sanctions, it simply means when people treat that person in adverse manner. For example – getting scolded from someone, bad grades, etc. Like I already mentioned in first type of sanction, that laughing depends on situation. In this, if people laughed on someone’s insult then it seems as negative sanction.

So, social norms are really very important for the society. Just imagine if there are no social norms, what happens, simple everyone has a liberty to do any crime and has no limits. Thus, these are responsible to sustain harmony, peace and discipline in the culture.

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The Peculiarities Of Social Norms. (2021, August 16). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 8, 2023, from
“The Peculiarities Of Social Norms.” Edubirdie, 16 Aug. 2021,
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