How Social Norms Are The Boundaries That Our Culture Places On People Essay

How Social Norms Are The Boundaries That Our Culture Places On People Essay

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Social norms are the boundaries that our culture places on people in regards to our behavior in public settings. These guidelines help shape what conduct is acceptable in everyday situations, such as minding others personal space or following line etiquette. From the moment we enter kindergarten, we are taught how to keep our hands to ourselves and learn the importance of patience by waiting in line until it is our turn to be helped. Therefore, for the purpose of this assignment, I have chosen to invade the highly coveted personal space of others to gauge their reactions.
It is just after nine in the morning with snow in the forecast over the next 48 hours. Although schools are already closed in observance of Presidents Day, several businesses are closing their doors to encourage people to stay home and many individuals, including myself, are heading to the grocery store to pick up essential items to prevent having to get back out into the wintery weather. Upon my arrival to Wegman’s, our local grocery store, I found that there was a much larger crowd than a typical Monday with both the weather and the federal holiday likely contributing to the influx. Wegman’s also has a café and dining area where people can sit and enjoy a coffee or grab a bite to eat from their Sub Shop, Pizzeria, Bakery, Sushi Bar or buffet throughout the day. While enjoying my morning coffee and trying to stay warm, I take a seat in the dining area at a small two seat table where I can observe the interactions of customers in line at the Pizzeria, Sub Shop, and two check-out lines. On this cold morning, people seem to be in a rush, although this is not an uncommon trait for those living in the National Capital Region, people appear to be scurrying aro...

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...ontinued to trail him by only 8-12 inches until he finally turned to me to ask what the sex of the baby is and took a giant step back from me while engaging in the conversation. His friendly demeanor left me feeling as if he wasn’t upset about my violation of his personal space, just rather uncomfortable.
Folkways are described as “weak norms, the violation of which is not very serious” (Chambliss & Eglitis, 2016, p. 57). There are no written rules on just how much distance that should be left between two people while standing in a line, however, with the lack of outrage over my overcrowding of others, it is safe to assume that the norm that I broke was a folkway as there were no true consequences for my actions. It was evident that people did not particularly enjoy the invasion of their immediate space, but no one verbally corrected or addressed my behavior.

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