Violating Social Norms

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In order for a society to operate cohesively, certain standards must be set. From the minute we are born, we begin the process of conforming to whatever society, culture we are born into. As we grow older we are influenced by our culture to develop certain values, which we use to guide our choices and indicate what we hold worthwhile in life. In a world as complex as ours, cultural diversity makes social norms; expectations of right behavior, difficult to define. Depending on your culture, subculture, and social location, your interpretation of social norms will differ. For example, here in the USA it is a rudimentary act to use utensils when consuming your food. Growing up in a Filipino household, however most of my relatives used their hands…show more content…
So one day in elementary school, I decided to do just that, eat with my hands. As you can guess I received sanctions from all around. Sanctions are expressions, whether good or bad in reaction to people upholding or violating norms. Norms are our expectations of “right” behavior. Some students looked over at me in disgust; others welcomed my idea and ditched their utensils as well. When an authority figure had seen what was being done, I was condemned for violating a norm. I learned quickly that what was acceptable behavior at home, may not be considered normal at school. As a result of this, I realized there was a huge gap between the two worlds I lived in, the one at home that was greatly influenced by mother’s heritage, and the outside world influenced by standards set by American…show more content…
Here in the states that is a taboo act, a norm, so strong that it brings extreme sanctions, even revulsion, if violated. In our society, we look at dogs and cats as pets, for someone to consume a dog or cat as nourishment is barbaric, because here in America we have an abundance of everything. If you want meat, you can go to the grocery store and pick up a cow that has been slaughtered and conveniently packaged for you. While that may be a norm here, in Hinduism that would be looked at as a taboo act since they believe we are reincarnated into cows. One group's mores, norms that are strictly enforced because they are thought to be essential to core values or the well-being of an individual; can also be what another group considers taboo. In order for our society to operate efficiently we must develop cultural relativism. Cultural Relativism is the act of understanding how a culture operates instead of judging or deeming them inferior to our way of life. America is known as a melting pot, we have so many cultural influences from around the world that it is impossible not to impacted by the way other cultures go about their business. Whether we react positively or negatively to the practices of other societies, is up to us. To a certain extent, we are all ethnocentric. Meaning, we use our own groups ways of doing things as a yardstick for judging

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