Conduct an exercise in which you break a folkway, a norm governing everyday behavior. Then, you will complete a worksheet by answering a series of questions about your experiment. You can break the norm with family members or friends only.Please pick one of the following social norms to break for this assignment:Proximity norms — sit or stand too close or too far from people (friends or family only).Food norms — eat non-finger foods with your fingers, or eat with the wrong utensils.Clothing norms — wear your clothes backwards or inside out, wear socks with sandals, wear sunglasses indoors, wear a funny hat or costume, or wear casual clothing to a formal event or formal clothing to a casual event.The document attached has the questions on it.
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Course Learning Outcomes for Unit IV
Upon completion of this unit, students should be able to:
4. Interpret patterns of behavior through sociological skills and theory.
4.1 Illustrate how sociological skills and theory can be applied to a norm-breaking activity.
4.2 Interpret the outcomes of a norm-breaking activity.
Learning Outcomes
Learning Activity
Unit Lesson
Chapter 6
Unit IV Assignment
Unit Lesson
Chapter 6
Unit IV Assignment
Reading Assignment
Chapter 6: Deviance
Unit Lesson
In Unit II, we learned about the importance of norms in culture and a little bit about breaking norms and
sanctions. We learned that norms are the rules of behavior learned in society and the important role of
socialization in transmitting cultural norms. In Unit III, we learned about statuses, roles, and groups in society.
We will expand on these ideas as we discuss social control and deviance in society.
What Is Deviance?
In sociology, deviance is any behavior that does not conform to norms. Does deviant behavior meet the
expectations of a group or a society as a whole? Probably not. Deviance can be viewed in both a positive and
negative light. Deviance can have positive consequences, which is why society, in a sense, needs deviants.
Each time a group defines a particular act as deviant, it teaches people acceptable social behavior. For
example, in most states, people believe smoking to be a deviant behavior because of health costs and
hygiene factors. There are states that have outlawed smoking in public buildings to promote smoke-free
behaviors. Another useful consequence of deviance is that it strengthens group norms and values. For
example, when a hit-and-run driver hits a child, the neighborhood responds with signs, vigils, and donations in
an attempt to state that it opposes hit-and-runs. Sometimes, negative consequences result from deviant
behavior. For example, large-scale deviance may harm stability, and it may induce distrust and ill will. The
aftermath of Hurricane Katrina resulted in thousands of people displaced from their homes with no access to
money, transportation, or the bare necessities of life. The lack of provisions resulted in looting and other largescale deviant behaviors that caused ill will between the community and storeowners and between the
community and the government.
Think of ways a group might consider your own behavior to be deviant. How might some of the
behaviors of our country generate accusations of deviance (whether deservedly or not)? Who decides
what is deviant?
SOC 1010, Introduction to Sociology
Social Control and Deviance
Social interaction describes the behaviors of two or more people whereby there is reciprocal influence when in
contact with one another. Think about the last time you went out to eat. You engaged in interaction with your
dining partner or partners and with the server, and indirectly with the chef. Did you interact solely based on
how you like to act? Did you wear clothing based on what is comfortable (e.g., did you wear clothing)? Did you
bring your own soda? How you answer these questions depends somewhat on the influence you wish to have
on others, as well as your adherence to social control and norms. What is social control? Social control is
when individuals and groups engage in behaviors designed to uphold societal norms and prevent deviant
behavior in society (Witt, 2018).
By this point in the course, it should be evident that we have many mechanisms built into our social life that
bring about social control. The largest among these mechanisms is the socialization process itself. Almost
from birth, parents teach children what society expects of them and the resulting sanctions when children fail to
meet the expectations. Children learn a system of values that provides justification and motivation for wanting
to do certain types of things that meet the approval of parents. Youth also seek out other agents of
socialization like media and peers to learn the norms in society. The socialization process creates a system of
self-controls that incorporate the internalized values and norms. Thus, each day, every person experiences
pressures to meet the expectations of others. Over time, these obligations become part of the structure of
society. The obligations are to our primary and secondary groups, as well as to formal groups such as
corporations, unions, professional associations, and churches.
Social control is a tool to make social life predictable and to prevent deviance. A positive of this is it prevents
chaos in society. The negative is that sometimes following the norm is not the best for you or society as
discussed above. We learned in Unit II that positive or negative sanctions are often a technique used in
society to maintain social control and deter deviant behavior. Sanctions for not fulfilling these obligations vary
depending on to whom we owe the obligations and the degree of importance that the obligations hold to
society. For example, not fulfilling an obligation to a friend to meet for drinks results in minor sanctions. Not
meeting an important client for drinks may well result in the loss of a job. When law violations occur, external
formal mechanisms of social control—the police, courts, and correctional systems—come into play.
Social control can be enforced through informal means by members in society. An example of an informal
means of social control would be a person smiling and thanking someone who holds the door for him or her.
Being polite can be deemed a very important value and reinforced by promoting norms like smiling or
thanking someone for holding the door for others. Social control can also be achieved through more formal
means in which an authority figure uses formal rules as guidelines for sanctions. For example, society dislikes
people driving fast through school zones. To encourage conformity in school zones, having to pay speeding
fines exceeds the benefits of speeding for some. We choose to go the speed limit, not because we dislike
speeding, but because there is a law in place that results in a substantial monetary fine.
The textbook discusses three types of social control: conformity, obedience, and stigma. Conformity is a type
of control that is maintained by going along with the group. This can be seen in everyday life in a variety of
ways like the choice in clothing, music, cars, or activities. We learned in Unit II about the important part peers
and other socializing agents have on behavior. An individual conforms to gain acceptance and avoid seeming
out of place or different. Obedience is a type of social control based on hierarchy and authority. In Unit III, we
learned about the important role of status in society (Witt, 2018). The Milgram Experiment is used in the
textbook as an example of obedience as a social control. Other examples would include following the
direction of a teacher or superior. Stigma is a form of social control where a person is labeled as different and
put in a category that is viewed as unworthy (Witt, 2018). Being stigmatized can lead to loss of privileges,
status, or resources. An example would be shunning in the Amish community.
Deviance and Crime
As discussed earlier in the lecture, some deviance can be viewed as a formal violation of a society’s rules and
laws. A violation of these formal norms is considered a crime. Crime is socially constructed. A society places
crimes into categories of what it deems the most offensive and least offensive. Different cultures can have
different ideas about what would be considered more or less offensive (Witt, 2018). For example, one culture
may view stealing as a low-level offense while another culture may view stealing as a very serious crime.
SOC 1010, Introduction to Sociology
The dominant class defines what a crime is and what it is not. This definition occurs
a political,
UNIT xwithin
economic, and social context. Lawmakers (who themselves are mostly privileged)
Titleare encouraged by
lobbyists (who mostly represent those in the dominant class) to punish activities that go against their
interests. So what does society define as crime? Are behaviors that are in direct and indirect conflict
with the dominant class defined as criminal?
For example, ask yourselves these questions: Why are there laws against loitering? Why is vagrancy
against the law? Crime is socially constructed in such a way as to benefit the dominant class. How? In
this case, people who are vagrant do not own such things as homes or cars. Moreover, they do not
work at jobs, increasing the wealth of the owners.
Can you think of other examples of how crime is socially constructed to benefit the dominant class?
Witt, J. (2018). SOC 2018 (5th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.
Learning Activities (Nongraded)
Nongraded Learning Activities are provided to aid students in their course of study. You do not have to submit
them. If you have questions, contact your instructor for further guidance and information.
1. SocThink
Your textbook provides several opportunities for you to explore relevant topics, from personal selfexploration to challenging questions concerning topics being studied in this unit. Taking the time to read and
respond to these opportunities will help you learn and apply the information being studied. These
opportunities can be found on the following pages:

Chapter 6:
o p. 130
o p. 136
o p. 138
o p. 142
2. Check your Learning
Quizzes are a way to self-test and see if you understand what you are studying. The textbook provides a brief
Pop Quiz for each chapter. Take advantage of this learning tool to enrich your learning experience. The
answers are provided, so you can check and see how well you did. For this unit, the quiz is available on the
following page:

Chapter 6: Pop Quiz, p. 151
SOC 1010, Introduction to Sociology
Unit IV Norm-Breaking Worksheet
What norm did you decide to break?
Was it a formal or informal norm you were breaking?
What were your thoughts, concerns, and feelings about breaking the norm before you broke it?
What were your behaviors or actions while breaking the norm? Discuss what happened during the
How did you feel while breaking the norm?
How did others react when you broke the norm?
How did the reaction reinforce or not reinforce the norm?
What did you learn about yourself or others from this experience?

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