Deviance: Breaking Social Norms
For this assignment, research norms found in other cultures that would be considered deviant in our culture today. Then, break one of American society’s expected norms by performing a behavior that is common in another culture or time period.
*Please remember to perform a deviant behavior, not a criminal behavior*.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
Bowing instead of shaking hands
Invading the personal space of someone with whom you are talking
Slurping your food loudly
Riding in the front seat of a taxi
Avoiding making eye contact while speaking to someone
Dropping in on a neighbor you have never met for a visit
Teasing and hair-spraying your hair excessively
Wearing a minimum of four layers of clothing – for women
Wearing shoes with a noticeable heel and/or donning a long-haired wig – for men
Interpretation and Reflection
In a 1–2-page paper, address the following questions:
What norm did you break, and where (or when) is this behavior considered normal?
How did breaking this social norm make you feel? How did people react to you?
How do norms contribute to the concept of conformity and social control?
What is the relationship between deviance and crime? Discuss why certain acts are formally discouraged by laws while other behaviors are simply informally discouraged but not illegal.
In your opinion, if someone commits a deviant act but no one is around to see it, is it still deviant?
Schaefer, R. T. (2018). Sociology in modules. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.