Preparation: Review chapter 9 on deviance and the section on norms in chapter 3.
Homework Activity: Violate a norm in order to study its features.
Instructions: Choose three different norms from the list below and violate each one at least twice this week. Decide in advance how, when and with whom you will violate these norms norm. Your experiments should be intentional and deliberate. Do NOT violate norms in such a way that could put you in physical or emotional danger irreparably harm a professional relationship!
Norm Violation Options:
Standing too close to someone when talking
Standing too far away when talking
Failing to make eye contact during a conversation
Failing to reply to social greetings such as "hello," "goodbye," or saying "thank you"
Taking food off of another person's plate in a social setting
Standing too close to someone you do not know well in an elevator or in a line
Failing to practice good personal grooming or hygiene habits (usually best on a weekend)
Dressing up or down in a way that does not match the work/social/home/public occasion
Carry out the norm violations throughout the week. It may be useful to try violating the norms in different settings with different people. For instance, a coworker may react differently to you taking food off of their plate than your spouse might.
Summary and Analysis: After you have completed the norm violations, respond to the following:
Which norm violations you selected and why.
Where, when, and with whom you violated the norms.
What took place while you were violating the norm.
The reaction of those who witnessed the norm violation.
Explain why norms an important part of social structure.
Explain why some norms are more important for the social order than others.
Explain why a better understanding of norms can make you a better employee, co-worker or boss.