Norms are the rules and guidelines by which a group of people live by. It’s a standard form of living which is acceptable by all persons in a given set up. They are those behaviors which develop from the social value of a society and help in defining the expected code of conduct at any given setting. These norms help in differentiating human beings from other species as they can be able undertake the process of communication which makes them extinguished from the rest. Its only human beings who can be able to communicate in an elaborate way and as a result they can be able to structure their behavior according to a given setting. This way, different settings provides the human beings with the ability to behave in a certain expected way which is usually the expected way (Hechter, 2005).
This expected way of behaving becomes the norm in that society. Social norms cover almost every conceivable situation, and they vary from standards where almost complete conformity is demanded to those where there is great freedom of choice. Norms also vary in the kinds of sanctions that are attached to violation of the norms. Since norms derive from values, and since complex societies have multiple and conflicting value systems, it follows that norms frequently are in conflict also (Terry, 2009).
They therefore become the rules that are developed by a certain group of people that specifies how people may, should, ought to, should not or must not behave in the various settings they find themselves. In my observation, the gender norm and the social norms will be discussed. These two types of norms helped in really distinguishing how people tend to follow the unwritten laws of doing the norm. when one goes contrary to the norm, they are considered to acting in some strange manner and people tends to gaze at them or even get disgusted by such manner of conduct. A gender norm which was observed was how some conducts are only attributed to one sex and not the other. Much of the house keeping job as well as taking care of the children is taken to be the role of the women and not men. A socio norm that was observered in a table tennis match where the players would shake hands whenever they were changing sides. No normal player would just cross to the other side without greeting the opponent (Platteau, 2000).
The observation that is discussed was carried out in a social gathering where various families had attended for the family day retreat. The area was a large park which had several buildings all around it. In these buildings were various activities been undertaken such as face painting, snow skating, dancing halls, video theatres, games arenas, shops and a lot of activities which were sheltered there. Inside the big park was a small lake where those interested would have some boat riding moments of fun. There was also some place where there were some swings, a swimming pool, trees, and an open ground to do the racing. The area was filled with mostly the young couples who were mostly in the mid thirties and with approximately two kids at most. The people gathered there were from different ethnic backgrounds, races and even nationalities. Most of these families were well up financially as they could afford the different kind of activities which were carried at some reasonable cost to them. The day was sunny with temperatures not very high as there was some wind blowing gently. The observation was carried out during the evening hours of the day as it was noted to have a majority of people attending.
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From the observation, it was noted that, there were those activities which parents were mostly involved in. the male parents could be spotted taking the boys to some very common areas like the boat riding session, horse ridding, playing football and some other men dominated activities. The young boys were noted to have maximum joy undertaking the activities. On the other side, the mothers would take their daughters to those beauty shops where they would purchase the young one some playing toys, have them eat ice creams, do the face painting thing and engaging in playing with the other girls using the rope for skipping. Nobody had declared what activities were meant for the boys and which ones were for the girls. Everyone found themselves participating in their respective games and activities.
The major concern was on how the onlookers would respond if a man went ahead and mingled with the women together with the young girls who were playing those games which are mostly meant for the girls. Another concern which was targeted at breaking was the fact that, it was expected that every parent would accompany their young one in the enjoying of the activities. Basically, nobody would expect that a stranger would come from nowhere and get them involved in a particular group in a manner that suggested that they knew each other though this was not the case. It was desired to see the reaction of the concerned parent to the intruder and how the small one would treat the unwelcomed visitor.
The first thing that was noted when I started moving to the mothers and the young girls were that kind of a look which was like directing me away. The other big handle was how my involvement with any random family which was really hostile. Every parent looks like they wanted to protect their loved one from this stranger who was poking his nose in other people’s business. The young girls looked like they were enquiring from their parents whether men were allowed to play using the bed bags, or even hold their toys. From the reaction of the group, it was clear to that, the women expected me to use the common sense in trying to know where I fitted best.
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There was also this other aspect which the society held that, no person who was a total stranger would dare try and get them in an activity which they were not involved leave alone to people who were very strange. Socionorms tries to define these concepts of people having to follow the set regulations which are neither enforced by anyone but are just what should followed to the latter. When a person’s goes against a social norm or would involve in breaking of the norm. When a social norm is broken people may respond with alarm, humor, fear, irritation, or an array of other emotions. When you think of a norm, you are probably thinking about being normal. But in psychology terms, norm means, a standard or representative value for a group. The norm that is more common to people is social norm. Meaning expectations about what behavior thoughts or feelings are appropriate within a given group within a given context (Sartorius, 2009).
In society today we the people decide what is normal and abnormal. In a survey of some five people who were been questioned on what they thought was normal and abnormal. The first question was asking if they thought that dressing weirdly while out there in the public was really normal. A good number said that it wasn’t normal since everybody agrees to it anyway and that nobody would really give a guide on how to dress modestly. The next question was whether being rude to an elderly, if it was normal or not. The response was as expected that, they don’t expect anyone to be rude on the elderly though no one declared it to be right. This is how the norms in various societies take place. No one is there to keep reminding on the right kind of behavior, it’s expected to be from within and automatic.