2. Norms Are a Restriction On
What Is Possible
• Expectations are all about predictability.
– If nothing is predictable then we have no idea what to
• So we limit our possibilities so that we can make
predictions about what will happen in any given
– The alternative is chaos and confusion.
– Too much chaos and confusion interferes with our
personal and social ability to survive.
3. Norms: What We Expect
• The norms of society are less like strong
rules and more like expectations.
– If I go to class in a bathing suit I know that I
will receive odd looks.
• Perhaps students will complain to the college.
– Then I can expect to hear from my superiors.
– I would not expect to receive much support for wearing
a bathing suit to a sociology class.
» But if I wore a bathing suit to a swimming class no
one would complain…
» Norms are what you expect to happen!
4. Types of Norms
– Everyday norms.
• Change easily
– Example: fads.
• Of are local, or located in one region.
– Strong norms
• Associated with the value system of the culture.
– Strong norms
• Usually mores that have been chosen for enforcement by
government. But can be folkways as well.
5. Norms of Time and Space
• These norms restrict our options on what we can
do and where we can do it.
6. Norms and the Structure of
• Time • Space
– Rules about when to be at – Rules for the use of space.
work or school. •At home
– Availability of services – Rooms for different
• When breakfast and lunch
» Bathtub in
are served at restaurants.
• When businesses are
– Dedicated use of
– When others are available buildings and space
• When friends are around. within buildings.
• When we can find people » Dancing in
we want or need to see.
8. What Creates Structure and
Norms: Four Views
– Erving Goffman- interaction
• Society is recreated in each and every interaction
between people, what we believe should happen, or
want to happen strongly influences social structure.
– Anthony Giddens- practice
• The interaction between what we do and the
economic structure that exists creates and recreates
society and its norms.