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What is folkways in norms?

3 Answer(s) Available
Answer # 1 #

Sociologists believe that norms govern our lives by giving us implicit and explicit guidance on what to think and believe, how to behave, and how to interact with others.

We learn norms in a variety of settings and from various people, including our family, our teachers and peers at school, and members of the media. There are four key types of norms, with differing levels of scope and reach, significance and importance, and methods of enforcement. These norms are, in order of increasing significance:

Early American sociologist William Graham Sumner was the first to write about the distinctions between different types of norms in his book Folkways: A Study of the Sociological Importance of Usages, Manners, Customs, Mores, and Morals (1906). Sumner created the framework that sociologists still use.

Folkways, he wrote, are norms that stem from and organize casual interactions, and emerge out of repetition and routines. We engage in them to satisfy our daily needs, and they are most often unconscious in operation, though they are quite useful for the ordered functioning of society.

A common example of a folkway is the practice, in many societies, of waiting in line. This practice brings order to the process of buying things or receiving services, allowing us to more easily perform the tasks of our daily lives.

Other examples of folkways include the concept of appropriate dress, the practice of raising one's hand to take turns speaking in a group, and the practice of "civil inattention"—when we politely ignore others around us in public settings.

Folkways mark the distinction between rude and polite behavior, so they exert a form of social pressure that encourages us to act and interact in certain ways. However, they do not have moral significance, and there are rarely serious consequences or sanctions for violating them.

Mores are more strict than folkways, as they determine what is considered moral and ethical behavior; they structure the difference between right and wrong.

People feel strongly about mores, and violating them typically results in disapproval or ostracizing. As such, mores exact a greater coercive force in shaping our values, beliefs, behavior, and interactions than do folkways.

Religious doctrines are an example of mores that govern social behavior.

For example, many religions have prohibitions on cohabitation with a romantic partner before marriage. If a young adult from a strict religious family moves in with her boyfriend then her family, friends, and congregation are likely to view her behavior as immoral.

They might punish her behavior by scolding her, threatening judgment in the afterlife, or shunning her from their homes and the church. These actions are meant to indicate that her behavior is immoral and unacceptable, and are designed to make her change her behavior to align with the violated more.

The belief that forms of discrimination and oppression, like racism and sexism, are unethical is another example of an important more in many societies.

A taboo is a very strong negative norm; it is a prohibition of certain behavior that is so strict that violating it results in extreme disgust and even expulsion from the group or society.

Often the violator of the taboo is considered unfit to live in that society. For instance, in some Muslim cultures, eating pork is taboo because the pig is considered unclean. At the more extreme end, incest and cannibalism are both considered taboos in most places.

A law is a norm that is formally inscribed at the state or federal level and is enforced by police or other government agents.

Laws exist to discourage behavior that would typically result in injury or harm to another person, including violations of property rights. Those who enforce laws have been given legal right by a government to control behavior for the good of society at large.

Vimi Panjuani
Answer # 2 #

According to Sumner, and how sociologists understand this term today, folkways are norms that stem from and organize casual interaction, and that emerge out of repetition and routines.

Daf Ochoa
Selected Station Master
Answer # 3 #

Folkways are specific social norms that define and guide behavior in society. Sociologists study social norms, which are rules and standards for behavior shared by members of social groups. Many individuals understand social norms, including folkways, by the terms unwritten rules or conventions.

Social norms shape human behavior. Social norms are defined as rules or standards of behavior shared by members of a social group. For example, a social norm is that people do not pick their noses in public. Norms are often internalized by individuals so that they conform to the larger social group; this learned behavior may be shaped by rewards or punishments. There are four types of social norms that social groups create and hold members of their social groups responsible for abiding by - folkways, mores, taboos, and laws.

Sociologist William Graham Sumner coined the term folkways as one of the social norms that are more often social conventions and that are not as morally significant if broken or not followed. For example, talking loudly on a cell phone in a restaurant for all to hear may be considered inappropriate and a breach of folkway norms, but it is not considered a serious moral offense. Tradition and habits create strong folkways. They range from shaking hands when meeting someone, writing a thank you card for gifts, or how to dress when attending certain ceremonies. All social norms are intended to guide the behavior of the social group or society towards definite expectations and patterns of life. The folkways definition in sociology is a social norm that is developed by social conventions or traditions and without the sanctions possessed by other morally significant social norms.

Folkway examples:

Social norms are customary, normal expectations with few sanctions or punishments if not followed. However, social norms created at a certain point in history or time can change in their expectations of behavior so that the violation is seen differently and may not even have a punishment. For example, it may have been a social norm for females to wear skirts and dresses to school, but today that is not the social norm and would not be considered a violation. On the other hand, it is traditional to wear formal clothing to a wedding, and if an individual chooses not to do this, it is violating a folkway. However, if they choose to wear no clothing at all, it violates a taboo or even breaks the law.

Mores are another type of social norm that is more coercive than folkways. The term mores comes from the Latin word mores which means manners, customs, or morals. There is usually severe disapproval and punishment when breaking social mores. For example, having sexual relations before marriage, for some individuals, violates mores. Mores are the struggle between what is considered morally right and wrong, while folkways are concerned with what is right and rude. If mores are violated, individuals could be ostracized and shunned out of the social group.

Mores Examples:

Violating a taboo comes with similar negative associations as violating a more; however, the negative association is much more severe. Essentially, if a particular behavior violates a taboo social norm, it results in extreme disgust and most often expulsion from society. For example, incest or cannibalism is taboo in most cultures and countries. As with most social norms, each social group, such as a religious group, has its own taboos, and a violation will result in being shunned from that group.

Taboo examples:

Dayle Wyatt
Copy Editor