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Select ONE and post your response below. Remember to post at least two comments on other posts. Your comments should be about 4 lines in length each. If you are shooting for an A in this course, then do more than the minimum of two. Your main post should be at least 3 paragraphs in length, 250 words.
1. STAR WARS SUBCULTURE: Watch this 10 minute video clip on Star Wars Fans (Star Wars Fans – Violating Cultural Norms (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.). Use the CC, if needed. Answer the following questions: What specific American values are the fans threatening and how? You need to refer to chapter two’s discussion on values. What are several ways that the fans receive negative sanctions for their non-conformity? How are these negative sanctions promoting social conformity? The fans and the humiliation they are subjected to are a good demonstration of how powerful cultural norms can be in controlling behavior. In this video, we can see how deviation from mainstream behaviors often results in social rejection. How do negative sanctions keep you conforming to cultural norms? Are there activities, goals, interests you do not pursue for threat of being judged harshly? Overall, why is it important that most/all people of a society follow a set of rules and expectations of behavior (norms)? How can this be limiting to a person’s potential?
2. Doing Nothing: An Experiment in Norm Breaking
Read the very short article here http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2011/03/04/doing-nothing-an-experiment-in-norm-breaking-2/
(Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
Doing Nothing Video (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
Doing Nothing video.
Then respond to the following questions: Think about every moment of every day, how many actions do you engage in just to avoid negative sanctions? Describe a few in your post. What decisions have you made under pressure to conform to social expectations (maybe date a certain person to win the approval of your friends, major in a certain field to please your parents, manage your image to attract partners)? In this sense, are people really free to make their own decisions and live an individualistic life? How does cultural conformity limit one’s potential? On the other hand, what are the benefits of conforming to social norms?
3. SOCIAL EXPERIMENT: BREAKING A NORM: YOU MUST FOLLOW THE RULES – CONDUCT THIS EXPERIMENT IN YOUR HOME WITH FAMILY ONLY. GET THEIR CONSENT TO BE A PART OF YOUR EXPERIMENT. NO EXCEPTIONS. A norm is a cultural value that has been turned into a rule enforced with rewards and punishments. They are ideas not only about how people behave, but about how they appear and, in some cases, who they are. We can also think of norms as social expectations for appropriate behavior or cultural beliefs about what people ought to do in specific situations.
The purpose of your experiment is to determine both the extent to which and the ways in which norms influence behavior. You will discover how norms are a means of social control. This experiment requires you read the chapter on culture first so that you understand what norms are and how they relate to values.
Choose a behavior/norm to violate. The norm you select needs to be simple like picking your nose, eating with your hands, staring, making strange facial expressions, engage in a typical behavior of the opposite sex, i.e. males can pretend to cry/tear up in a movie while females can tell people they don’t want to get married or have babies. Select a norm that makes you a little uncomfortable to violate, but remember this is an education experiment not a practical joke. You will be scored on the appropriateness of your norm. Do not pick any behaviors that are dangerous, illegal, or disruptive in any way.
In a safe setting like your home or a friend’s house, violate the behavior/norm. Mentally note the witnesses reactions (verbal and nonverbal). You can also get someone else to watch their reactions. Once you feel like you got plenty of reactions, then end the experiment by interviewing the witnesses.
What did they think about your violating behavior? Why did they react they way they did? Explain to them the main points of the experiment and get their feedback on culture as a form of social control.
In your post, describe the experiment and the reactions. What specific American values (according the chapter) did your experiment violate? Remember, if people reacted negatively, then you violated a value, can you connect the violating behavior with the appropriate value? How did you feel as the norm violator? Think about every moment of every day, how many actions do you engage in just to avoid negative sanctions? Describe a few in your post. What decisions have you made under pressure to conform to social expectations (maybe date a certain person to win the approval of your friends, major in a certain field to please your parents, manage your image to attract partners)? In this sense, are people really free to make their own decisions and live an individualistic life? How does cultural conformity limit one’s potential? On the other hand, what are the benefits of conforming to social norms?
Here are other videos and brief articles that you can watch to help you understand norm breaking.
Norm Breaching: Social Responses to Mild Deviance (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
Informal Norms of Men’s Restrooms (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

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