Describe the social norm violation.

Describe the social norm violation.

When we violate unwritten rules for appropriate social behavior, we quickly learn the power of social norms. The
purpose of this assignment is to raise awareness of how these subtle norms shape everyday behavior and consequences
of violating norms. This assignment requires the student to commit a norm violation and to note his/her own reaction
and the reactions of others. Note that social norm violations must be committed in the presence of at least one other
person, preferably unknown, where safely possible. After the social norm violation is committed and reactions are
recorded, students are allowed (but not required) to tell the “audience” that the violation was done as a requirement
for a sociology class assignment.

One inch margins (left, right, top and bottom), double spaced, 12 point font, about 1-2 pages
Place your name and Section # on first line, then double space to begin writing.
FIRST, pick a social norm violation from the list below. Students can choose their own social norm violation as long as it
has been approved by the professor BEFORE it is committed. Then, pick your audience and location.

• Staring at people for 1-2 minutes (or until they notice)
• Sing and dance to music in your headphones in public
• Make a large purchase with pennies
• Wear your clothes backwards to a public place
• Stand right next to someone if they are the only person in the elevator
• Go to a parent’s house and ask their permission to do everything (get a drink, use the bathroom, etc)
• Have an animated conversation with yourself in public
• Jump up and down while waiting in the check-out line at the grocery store

SECOND, answer the following questions in paragraph format. No introduction or conclusion paragraphs are necessary.
Paragraph 1 Describe the social norm violation. What did you do? Where? To whom?
Paragraph 2 How did you feel about violating this social norm? Why do you think you

felt this way?

Paragraph 3 Describe the reactions of others that were present for the norm violation,
including facial expression, what they said, and their body language. What
do you think they thought about you after the violation (and before you
told them that this was a class assignment)?

Paragraph 4 What did this assignment teach you about the experiences of those who
do not fit in because they are either new to the culture or are noticeably
handicapped in some way?


Academic Level

College (3-4 years: Junior, Senior)

Subject AreaSociology
Paper Type Term paper
Number of Pages2 Page(s)/550 words
Paper FormatMLA
SpacingDouble spaced

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