Culture and Its Norms

Culture and Its Norms

Sociologists have defined 4 different sorts of norms; folkways, taboos, mores, law. Folkways are set of behaviours that are generally accepted but not that important, such as saying 'excuse me' when a person sneezes. Mores refer to certain rules that are supposed to be followed by everyone since they are off great importance, for example, attending church in well-mannered clothes. Taboos are those behaviours that are forbidden, for example, child abuse. The last type of norm is the law, which rules are made by the state that are supposed to be followed, for example breaking the traffic signal is breaking a law. Norms are different in every culture. For instance, there are different ways to greet people in different countries. The way in which you exchange conversation and interact with people is vastly different from culture to culture. Staring at the people you don’t know is considered rude in US but it is normal in other societies. Hugging someone when you meet them is a norm in some cultures but not a norm in other cultures. These aspects of norms, which deal with the way we interact with each other, play a large role in other aspects of society such as family structures and workplace environments.

Every member of a community has both, as sociologists define it, an individual identity and a collective identity. Every human faces a personality conflict about expressing ‘social; the self of accepting his ‘private’ self and throughout his life strives to maintain a balance between them. The community, at the same time, tries to achieve this equilibrium by socializing its members into a conventional, the perfectly balanced Libra, with ‘individual autonomy’ on one side and social obligation on the other. Now the question arises, what is a ‘healthy balance?’ well, it values culture to culture and a community’s pattern of ‘individualism versus collectivism, best describes these variations.

Individualistic cultures are ones that boost a high point of individuality, extremely different uniqueness considering it appropriate for people to behave in certain ways would be a benefit to them. This though places more attention to a highly developed social identity and hopes the member’s behaviour would be an advantage for not only themselves but also for the whole group. The extremes of both types of cultures can be seen in the US harbouring a highly individualistic culture and in eastern Asian countries having strong cultivist cultures. 

 

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