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Social norms can be defined as – The rules that a group uses for appropriate and inappropriate values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors. These rules may be explicit or implicit. Failure to stick to the rules can result in severe punishments, the most feared of which is exclusion from the group. A common rule is that the some norms must frequently be displayed; neutrality is seldom an option. Here I include other norms, which are as follows:
a. ) Injunctive Norms – These are behaviors, which are perceived as being approved of by other people.
b.) Descriptive Norms – The perceptions of how other people are actually behaving and whether their behavior is accepted or not.
c. ) Explicit Norms – written or spoken openly.
d. ) Implicit Norms – not openly stated (but you find out when you trespass them.
e. ) Subjective Norms – How we will behave with others who valued us.
f. ) Personal Norms – Knowing our standards about our own actions.
By exploring social norms and inequalities, let me be more specific, about the Americans – Inequalities in American society have become so institutionalized that we rarely recognize most of them on a daily basis.
Some are glaringly obvious: the privileges of the elite, the boss’ ability to come and go as he pleases- but these inequalities are sustaining, obvious, and don’t hurt as much because we are conditioned to accept them… Some inequalities change as certain circumstances change. The type of social stratification I wish to discuss is ever changing, we’ve all experienced it, but have we all noticed it? We like to think we live in a classless, multicultural society where everyone is treated equally.
Frankly we are deluded.
Of course there are classes, and not everyone is treated equally. The classes in our world are based on race, ethnicity, education and politics. Of the phenomenons of social stratification is social inequality, which is the distribution of resources dividing society into rank, grades, family, religion and education. These divisions should not occur in our society, but it is the sad truth that it does. Ethnicity is different to race as ethnicity is a distinct cultural definition which people identify with as customs, family patterns and religion.
The sociologist, Max Weber, defines ethnic groups as “human groups that entertain a subjective belief in their common descent because of physical type or of customs or of both or because of memories of colonialisation or migration”. The biggest problem that arises in race and ethnic relations is prejudice, which is born out of pre-judgment and lack of knowledge. The Sociological causes of prejudice are: 1. It draws together people who share it; superiority is important. This is an element of Emile Durkheim’s Collective Consensus Theory. 2. Competing for resources. It is easier to get things if you can write others off as less deserving. 3.
We can project onto others, who we think are lesser than us, those parts of ourselves that we don’t like. The prejudices against those we think are ‘different’ have negative consequences such as limiting our vision of the world. But far worse is its effect on society; it leads to discrimination and the consequence of discrimination is inequality. For Karl Marx, inequality was seen as a dichotomy based on the relations of production and the concept of class is the basic indicator of inequality. Weber saw inequality as three abstracted mechanisms of power; class (economic power), status (social prestige power) and party (political power).
Whichever way it is described, inequality is found everywhere, between class, in education, health, occupations and power and within classes with sex, age, ethnicity and religion. However, there is hope in the end, for people can be socially mobile, which is the movement of people between social classes. Society’s idea is that if you work hard enough you will move up in society, but this is not always true. People can move downwards in the social scale, or may start on the bottom and stay there because they do not have the same access to education as others may have.
These people have less opportunities than others yet they are looked down upon because they are not upwardly mobile. How can people move up socially if they are not on an equal playing field to begin with? As long as people continue acting the way they do, inequality and racism will exist. Education is the key, and while older people may be set in their ways and may not be willing to change their views, we must educate the children, who are are future. Children must be taught that all people are equal and that thinking otherwise is wrong. For it is wrong.
We were all created equal. Man made us not so. As per my view, when we live in a society were abiding by social, personal, or subjective norms, which are laid out for social and societal living is of utmost significance; I tend to stick to those norms and also inculcate the same things to people who are not aware of them. Man is a social animal, who needs to be trained to adapt different changes in societal environment. He has to abide by the norms laid out by the society to be accepted socially and morally, or else he/she is treated as a aborigine or uncivilized.
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