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As we learned in Unit 2, social norms are the established standards of behavior maintained by a society (Schaefer, 2018). Now that we have established a clear understanding of norms, we can begin to understand the concept of deviance. Deviance is a violation of a social norm.professional writing services near me

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Moreover, it is important to consider that established norms in society may be considered deviant in other cultures or time periods. For example, do you eat your sandwiches with a knife and fork? Norwegians do. In Norway, eating anything with one’s hands is considered weird and even impolite. Contrast this with many Indian cultures that eat almost all foods with their fingers. Or what about planning a day at the beach. Did you pack your stockings? Women in 1920’s America could be arrested if their swimwear was too revealing. The evolved norm of wearing a bikini has changed the notion of deviant attire in our culture, but nudity on an American public beach will still likely get you outfitted with an orange jumpsuit – unlike other cultures that have the accepted practice of nude beaches.
For this assignment, research norms found in other cultures or time periods that would be considered deviant in our culture today. Then, break one of our 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
  • Dropping in on a neighbor you have never met for a visit
  • 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
  • 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
  • Teasing and hair-spraying your hair excessively

Interpretation and Reflection

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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?

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