Norms, Values and Sanctions


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Just an introduction to a few concpets of culture to do with norms, sanctions and values.

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Norms, Values and Sanctions

  1. 1. Elements of Culture 2 Norms, Sanctions, ValuesWhat are your feelings when you see these graduates hanging around at the beachside park?
  2. 2. Objectives• To gain a deeper understanding of how norms, sanctions and values maintain behavior within a society.• Degrees of seriousness: mores vs folkways• A deeper understanding of societal change.• Cultural Integration and Variation (part 3)
  3. 3. Preview: Topics of Discussion• Cultural Norms Formal (Mores) & Informal (Folkways)• Acceptance of Norms Norms in conflict / exceptions / change• Sanctions and Rewards• Values• Cultural Integration (in part 3)• Cultural Variation (in part 3)
  4. 4. Norms• Deeply established standards of behavior maintained by a society. N. America – Young people make life decisions (study / career path) Japan – Respect for the elderly. China – Criticizing the gov’t is rare.• The intricacies of norms are widely shared and understood by all members of a society. N. America – People are expected to remain quiet in a theatre. Therefore an Usher can enforce this and are expected to. Depends on film and audience though (not in Rocky Horror!) Serious films and plays this norm is insisted upon.
  5. 5. Make noise in this serious, political In N. America, break the quiet film with historical significance andnorm in this fun Teenage movie it strangers will verbally tell you to is doubtful that anyone will say adjust you behavior. much. Maybe “shhhhh”.
  6. 6. Classification of Norms: Formal vs. Informal1. Formal Norms Norms that have been formally written down and offenders face strict punishment. Formalized norms in many countries become law and have very precise definitions of what is considered proper and improper behavior. ex. Guidelines for meeting a Major at university and rules for card games are other examples of formalized norms. They are written down with precise regulations.
  7. 7. Classification of Norms: Formal vs. Informal2. Informal Norms Generally understood norms, but not precisely recorded. Standards of proper dress Taboo subject matter Attitude towards being late Deviating from these norms will not get you thrown in jail, but may lead a to a bad reputation or in being talked about by others. Social Norms & Impression Management
  8. 8. Classification of Norms: Mores vs. Folkways3. MoresMores are norms that are regarded as being highly necessary to the well being of the overall society.They are the most cherished principles of a people. They demand obedience and breaking them will result in severe penalties. murder, treason, theft, fraud, corruption, abuseMores are most likely to be formalized and become laws.
  9. 9. Classification of Norms: Mores vs. Folkways4. FolkwaysNorms that govern everyday behavior amongst members of a society. They shape daily life of a cultures people.Japan: ‘Meishi’ is central to the introduction process and essential in business. Recipient is expected to take time to examine the info and make a comment proves this examination has occurred. Given out even in social situationsA breach – stuffing it in the pocket quickly, or not concluding with ‘meishi’ is insulting.Folkways are synonymous with behavior etiquette
  10. 10. Meishi exchange in Japan. Very important for foreigners engaged in international business. Must take time to look – and make comment.
  11. 11. Folkways: reinforcing patterns of behaviorMany societies have and use folkways to reinforce patternsof dominance: male dominance or dominance of a socialclass.In traditional Buddhist regions of South East Asia, for example,Women do not sleep above men on sleeper trainsWomen are not on higher hospital floors than menOn clothe lines, womens clothes are hung lower than men’s. (Bulle, 1987)
  12. 12. The darker brown countries are likely to have Folkways that reinforce male dominance. Countries of light shade will have folkways and mores thatfacilitate gender equality. In N.A., they do not indicate gender (or any person details) on their CVs and hiring, or firing cannot be based on gender (or race) or heavy sanctions are enforced.
  13. 13. Acceptance of Norms: weak enforcement Norms (mores & folkways) are not followed in all situations, nor by all members of a society. Some evade a norm because they know it is weakly enforced.Ex. In the N.A. teen drinking is a major social issue. The pressure from a peer group to conform is far outweighed by the insignificant sanction if caught.
  14. 14. Can you think of a formal norm (a More) that is evaded in this region daily because we all know that enforcement is minimal? Illegal parking. It should receive a fine. It is against the law. So, it is a more, not a norm.
  15. 15. Acceptance of Norms: conflict Norms are often violated when they conflict. Situation: You hear a screams of panic coming from you neighbors flat. Someone is being assaulted.Norm #1 – The norm of privacy and minding one’s own business.Norm #2 – Assisting a victim of violence by intervening or calling the police. What would you do? Either way you are evading one norm and accepting the other.
  16. 16. Acceptance of Norms: exceptionsRegardless of a norm’s enforcement, sanctionsor presence of conflict there can be anacceptable exception.This means under differing circumstances, thesame action can make someone a hero or avillain. In clip – is 69 yr old Herlan McQuearry ahero or a villain for murdering someone? NyXZw&feature=related
  17. 17. Acceptance of Norms: widely accepted• Some norms are so widely accepted that there is no need to enforce them or reinforce them. The best example of this is - Cannibalism Unless one is mentally deranged, or part of an extremely exotic Cult, one is not going to eat people. There is no need to tell people not to do this as this sins so widely accepted.
  18. 18. Norms: Acceptance of ChangeA culture’s Norms may change as societal conditions change, such as with,Political situations, Economic climate, Social conditions The modern feminist movement in the West is a good example of social change that has led to a change in cultural norms that reinforce increased gender equality.
  19. 19. Norms: Acceptance of ChangeAs support for a culture’s traditional normsweakens, people start to feel free to violate themand when identified as doing so, these people areless likely to receive serious negative sanctions,which in turn creates a catch 22 (a snowballeffect), or in other words, momentum for change.
  20. 20. A Norm in Change: British ColumbiaIn Vancouver Canada judges no longer allow social marijuana usage cases in their court rooms, police no longer feel it is worth the paper work and the general public does not view social use as an issue that requires stiff negative sanctions, but they demand stiffer sanctions on drinking and driving. Vancouver Vancouver Marijuana Marijuana protest against sanctions Cafe Use in public is not a rare sight as sanctions are so insignificant.
  21. 21. Sanctions: Negative Penalties for your conduct regarding a social normSanctions are what happens when people are detected ofviolating a culture’s shared norms. Such penalties as: Fines Threats Imprisonment Stares of Contempt
  22. 22. Sanctions: Positive (Rewards) Rewards for conforming to a social normThe label ‘sanction’ has highly negative connotations andtherefore positive sanctions has its own word – rewardsRewards for being detected of conforming to a social normmay include: A pay raise A promotion A medal or an award Words of praise A pat on the back
  23. 23. Sanction: DetectionSanctions must be detected, or observed bysomeone with thepower to provide thesanction – or it willnot happen.
  24. 24. Sanction and Norms: a connectionNorm infraction: You show up to a job interview in jeansSanction: You do not get the job. (and a funny look)Norm infraction: You don’t put coins in your parking meter.Sanction: You get a parking ticket (fine). The Correlation Sanctions associated with formal norms (written down / codified) tend to be formalized and informal norms tend to receive informal sanctions.
  25. 25. Sanctions: improper applicationThere is (as we all know) the possibility of a personbeing levied with undeserved penalties and rewards.Once, in Europe if a womenwas merely called a witch, Madonnas famous 1986 World Cup ‘Hand she was of God Goal was rewarded through beingburned to death. So many allowed and in helping Argentina win. Were innocent.
  26. 26. Sanctions: Do they reflect Culture?The United States has the most advanced fire preventiontechnology and the best trained (and paid) fire fighters,yet this society has the worst fire death rate in theindustrialized world. (McMillan, 1995) How can this be?
  27. 27. Sanctions: Do they reflect Culture?• In the US sanctions on unintentional negligence causing fire/death is extremely low. ‘Accidents’ get almost nothing in the way of sanctions! 2,000,000 unintentional severe burns per year (US) 5,000 deaths from unintentional fire per year (US) All ‘accidents’ with little to no sanctions.• In Japan and Europe, sanctions for unintentional fire-death are severe. Up to life for smoking in bed, for leaving a pan on the stove or for overloading electrical circuits if you cause fire and mortally wound someone. Why are sanctions so low for such serious cases of negligence ?
  28. 28. Sanctions: Do they reflect Culture?US (and Western culture) has strong normssurrounding privacy in the home – especially in the USwhich was founded on liberty and freedom and withhigh value on private property. Sanctions regardingwhat is done in the privacy of one’s home seems to beheld in high regard even when ones actions inprivate, (such as smoking in bed) endangers or killsothers. YES! The entire fabric of norms and sanctions in a culture reflects the culture’s values and priorities. The most cherished values will have the strongest sanctions where less critical values will have light and informal sanctions.
  29. 29. Values Although we all have our own set of personal goals and ambitions, one’s culture includes a general set of objectives for its members Values – collective conceptions for what is considered good desirable or proper in a society. As well as what is considered bad, undesirable or improper.You may have a goal to get a certain degree, but your culture influences you in your opinion about weather an education s desirable or not.
  30. 30. Values• Values can be specific honoring one’s parents, owning a home• Values can be general health, democracy, love• Values influence our behavior and serve as criteria for evaluating the actions of others. Health – unhealthy, educated - uneducated (etc.)
  31. 31. Norms – Sanctions - Values There is usually a direct relationship between a culture’s norms, sanctions and their values.ExampleA culture that places high value on marriageWill have norms and high sanctions on adulteryA culture that places high value on private propertyWill have norms and high sanctions againstTheft and vandalism
  32. 32. Values: Do they change?• A culture’s values may change, but tend to remain relatively stable during a person’s lifetime.• As previously mentioned – a societys non- material culture is difficult to change and change in this area is far slower than with material culture.• A sway in a culture’s core values can be seen over time, but the change is hard to observe while it is in progress due to the slow pace of change.
  33. 33. Values: making similar societies unique Lipset (1990) Continental Divide looked into value differences between Canada and the US. – two seeming very similar societies. US more religious than CanadiansUS more moralistic and conservative towards sex and marriage. Canada greater concern for older society Canada favor a stronger role of government US more suspicious of ‘big’ business (& big gov’t) These differing values of course lead to differing norms and sanctions
  34. 34. These values differences lead to unique USnorms/sanctions regarding gays in the military. • In 993 Bill Clinton lifted this ban in the US Army to strong opposition both inside and outside the military. Today only concealed gays can serve – not open • One year earlier (1992) Canada lifted this ban with national applause and support. • Out of all the US allies only three have such a ban; Great Britain, Portugal and Greece.
  35. 35. US debate on allowing openly gay men and lesbian women to serve in the military. When Denmarks Air Force General (from another ‘Western’ country) was askedabout this debate in the US. He said, “I don’t understand why you have to debate it…. Nobody cares about it”. (Lancaster, 1992: 14) Intense US anti-gay military protest Therefore, values shape societies!
  36. 36. In many countries personal profit and owning one’s own property is a core value shaping society. In Papua New Guinea contribution to public good is more valued than one’s own profit and personal land. Several people hold different rights to the same piece of land, such as Dwelling rights Hunting rights Fishing rights Ceremonial rights