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Types of Social Norms

Edukasistan.com - Hello everyone! Social norms are an essential part of community life. They form the basis of accepted and expected behaviour in a particular group or culture. With social norms, our lives would be manageable, and maintaining societal harmony would be easy. In this article, I will explain social norms, their types, and why we must understand and follow them.

Table Of Contents

    The purpose of this blog post is to provide a better understanding of social norms to readers. I invite them to reflect on how vital these norms are in our daily lives and how they help maintain social order and harmony.

    • Social norms are rules that govern human behaviour in society.
    • Types of social norms include folkways, mores, taboos, and laws.
    • Folkways norms regulate everyday behaviour that is considered polite and usual.
    • Mores norms regulate behaviour considered essential and have moral value.
    • Taboo norms regulate behaviour that is considered very impolite and avoided.

    What are Social Norms?

    Types of Social Norms
    Types of Social Norms

    Social norms are rules that govern individual behaviour in a group or society. They cover various aspects of life, from dressing and speaking to etiquette in interacting with others. Social norms are formed by society through socialization, where individuals learn and internalize these rules.

    Social norms are enforced through various means, including positive and negative social sanctions. Positive sanctions, such as praise or rewards, are given to individuals who follow these norms. On the other hand, negative sanctions, such as punishment or social rejection, are given to individuals who violate these norms. These sanctions make social norms more robust and effective in regulating community behaviour.

    Types of Social Norms

    Types of social norms include folkways norms (rules of daily habits), mores norms (important moral rules), taboo norms (strictly prohibited rules), and legal norms (rules set by the government). Each type of social norm is essential in maintaining order and harmony in society.

    Several types of social norms apply in society. Each type of norm has different roles and functions in maintaining order and harmony in society. Here is a brief explanation of each type of social norm.

    1. Folkways Norms

    Folkways norms regulate everyday behaviour considered customs or traditions in a group or culture. They do not have severe consequences if violated, but violating these norms can cause social discomfort or exclusion.

    Examples of folkways norms include greeting others when meeting, wearing appropriate clothing for events, or following dining etiquette at the dinner table. I remember once when I attended a friend's wedding party.

    At that time, I did not know there was a non-verbal rule where guests were expected to give an even number in the envelope as a wedding gift. I gave an odd number and felt awkward when I saw the reactions of people around me. Although there were no severe consequences, I learned that following folkways norms in social events is essential.

    2. Mores Norms

    Mores norms are rules considered very important in a society, and violating these norms can have serious legal and moral consequences. They include moral values and ethics, considered the foundation of an excellent social life.

    Examples of mores norms include prohibitions on stealing, lying, or committing violence against others. I once experienced a situation where I saw a close friend lie to his boss about why he was absent from work.

    I felt conflicted because I knew violating this mores norm could have severe consequences for his career. Finally, I decided to talk to my friend and remind him of the importance of honesty and integrity in professional life. This incident made me realize how vital norms are in maintaining trust and integrity in society.

    3. Taboo Norms

    Taboo norms are rules that are considered very taboo or prohibited in a culture or society. Violating these norms is a severe offence and can lead to social exclusion or physical punishment. Examples of taboo norms include prohibitions on incest, cannibalism, or insulting religion.

    When I travelled to a country with a different culture, I learned about the taboo norms that applied there. One example is the strict prohibition against insulting

    religion. I remember talking to a local friend and unintentionally saying something that was considered an insult to their religion. I immediately realized my mistake and apologized, but the situation reminded me of respecting taboo norms in different cultures.

    4. Laws Norms

    Laws norms are rules set by a country's government or legal authorities. They have serious legal consequences if violated, such as fines or imprisonment. Laws norms cover various aspects of life, from traffic rules to criminal laws.

    I remember visiting another country and not realizing there were different traffic regulations. I violated one of these rules and was fined by the local police. This experience made me realize how important it is to follow laws and norms in a country to maintain order and security.


    Violating social norms can have serious social, moral, or legal consequences. For example, violating mores norms, such as lying or stealing, can damage social trust and integrity. The importance of following these social norms is to avoid negative consequences and create a harmonious and respectful environment.

    In conclusion, social norms govern individual behaviour in a group or society. They include various types, including folkways, mores, taboos, and legal norms. Each type of norm has a different role and function in maintaining order and harmony in society.

    We must understand and follow these social norms because they help maintain order and harmony in society. Violating social norms can lead to serious social, moral, or legal consequences. Understanding and respecting these norms can create a better environment for ourselves and others.

    We often need to realize how important these social norms are in our daily lives. However, we can feel their negative impact when we violate these norms or see others doing it. Therefore, let us all commit to understanding and following social norms to live harmoniously and respect each other.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1. What are social norms?

    Social norms are rules or manners prevailing in society to regulate the behavior of individuals or groups in social interactions.

    2. What are the types of social norms?

    Social norms include religious norms, legal norms, norms of politeness, customary norms, and safety norms.

    3. What is the difference between religious norms and legal norms?

    Religious norms are sourced from religious teachings and considered rules from God, whereas legal norms are made by the government and officially applied in a country.

    4. What is an example of a norm of politeness?

    Examples of norms of politeness include not speaking too loudly in public places, greeting others when meeting, and not disturbing others while resting.

    5. What is an example of a customary norm?

    Examples of customary norms include marriage customs, dress codes, and ways of treating elders.

    6. What is an example of a safety norm?

    Examples of safety norms include wearing a helmet when riding a motorcycle, not smoking in dangerous places, and following traffic signs when driving.

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