General Question

isabel11's avatar

Why do people follow the norms of their society?

Asked by isabel11 (8points) November 12th, 2007
Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

8 Answers

omfgTALIjustIMDu's avatar

1) Because they’re afraid to stand out and be themselves at risk of being thought “weird” or “abnormal” in a world where being normal generally gets you farther in life than being quirky.

2) There’s a reason it’s the “norm;” it’s how people generally act when around other people, school, in the work force, etc.

Mangus's avatar

Norms have a lot of utility. They help us make sense of our social world, predict how others might act in a given situation, and they give us guidance in making our own decisions. Social norms are a communicator of stored soclal knowledge. Their development over time represents a complex process of group decision making on subjects ranging from table manners to dental hygiene to gender roles.

That said, there’s lot of positive and negative to that process. I’d say, in a nutshell, that the norms are more negative when they are the product of an unequal set of power relations—such norms typically aim to maintain that unequal status quo. Examples include concepts of race, gender limitation and property relations.

PHASE123's avatar

because without the norm there is confusion. People rely on the norm to make moral decisions based on what others do. But with the norm always changing how can you say what is the norm anymore?

FalcorPilot's avatar

These are all really great answers to a very big question. In my opinion, we are all very much like the silly people off of the wendy’s commercial (sheep-like). We all have some sort of passion that calls to us and the few who make the “leap” and chase that dream usually are prosperous (in one way or another) but the unknown can feel very un-inviting. Hence why our species looks to what others have done to validate their decision process. The norm is a great opportunity to test ones limits. So go get that tattoo!!!

joli's avatar

It’s safe. They will be accepted and embraced to follow the herd. I disagree these persons go farther than that individual, the one who pursues their personal dream with the courage and conviction that staying too close to the herd diminishes one’s power to create positive change in all our lives.

steelmarket's avatar

Practiced norms (whether tagged as good or bad) make the difference between society and anarchy, whether you look at the family/tribal level or at nation/states.

Mangus's avatar

@steelmarket: Though you’ll certainly get support from most for your use of anarchy for its colloquial definition, in fact you’ve used the term inappropriately. Anarchy comes from the greek root archos, which means rulers. Anarchy literally means “without rulers” which is very different from “without order”.

This isn’t just nitpicky semantics, I’m arguing that we can conceive of society with order, but without rulers. In terms of this conversation, norms, including ethics, morals and culture can all provide structure and order to a society without the need for rulers.

steelmarket's avatar

@Mangus, ‘scuse the definite colloquialism. It is easy, when generalizing on society, to cross the linguistic as well philosophical boundaries between societal structures and government. I got highway hypnosis and drifted over the line. What do you think about applying the concept of adhocracy to both societal structures and government? Or, are a lot of societal structures already adhocracies?

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther