The Behavioral Deviance of a Social Norm Essay

The Behavioral Deviance of a Social Norm Essay

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Deviance is any behavior, belief, or condition that violates significant social norms in the society or group in which it occurs (Kendall, 2012). Our experiment will study the behavioral deviance of a social norm. Sociologists use symbolic interactionism to study face-to-face interactions. We are expected to follow these certain unwritten rules of behavior telling us the way that we should act in certain situations. The social norm or folkway I chose to break was that of invading an individual’s personal space. See Figure 1.0 showing the proximity generally utilized by Americans, according to Edward T.Hall. Personal space is the region surrounding a person, approximately 18 inches, which they regard as psychologically theirs. People value their personal space, and feel discomfort, anger, or anxiety when their personal space is encroached (Personal space, n.d.). We walked around to find the best scenario and individuals to interject our teammate in purposefully invading their comfort zone.
I thought it would be funny and wanted to test the theory that they would stare at or slide away in order to maintain and take back their comfort zone. I did not expect that anyone would start a conversation with him or her or tell him or her to move out of the typical norm of courtesy. Getting video was a bit more of a challenge than I anticipated. My daughter is the bold one, however, because it is not the “norm” of society to sit with someone that closely given the other seating available she found it uncomfortable breaking the norm and making the initial approach. This is where bringing the boyfriend came in helpful as he had to lead the approach and sitting next to a stranger in an “out of norm” way. We selected two of our vid...

... middle of paper ...

...ions we were anticipating.
Test video 1 & 2 confirmed the theory that by invading one’s personal comfort zone or the norm of society that it triggers an individual to react in a certain way. Our subjects confirmed this theory by staring at the individuals invading their space, leaning their leg away, shifting away, and even moving entirely in an attempt to regain their intimate space.

Works Cited

Kendall, D. (2012). Sociology in Our Times, 9th Edition [VitalSource Bookshelf version]. Retrieved from
Personal space. (n.d.). . In Wikipedia. Retrieved November 19, 2013, from
Body contact and personal space in the United States. (n.d.). . In Wikipedia. Retrieved November 19, 2013, from

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