Violating A Social Norm On Public Areas Essay

Violating A Social Norm On Public Areas Essay

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When someone goes against something that everyone around expects he or she to act, it’s called norms violations. In other words, that person is doing something which is unacceptable to society or culture. In this sociology breaching experiment, I chose to violate a social norm in public areas – cutting a line without asking, so to observe what people acted and how they responded. I decided to go to Safeway and tried being a line cutter without asking anybody. If they asked me why I did it, I simply replied to them that I did not feel like either wanting to wait or getting in a line. By acknowledging that norms are quite essential in our society, I was aware that our society will have no foundation to stand if there is no norm. Cutting a line while others are queuing is a part of our social routine; even though I was kind of embarrassed, I got a chance to learn different kinds of reactions from people whom I encountered the norm to.
As a matter of fact, every society has devised norms as something to regulate everyone’s behavior. With this said certain actions are considered to be acceptable once they are in agreement with social rules; meanwhile, other actions that are unacceptable are determined to be in violation of social rules. It was reported that Garfinkel (1984:70) once stated “no rule contains within itself the rules of its own interpretation.” He also added, “We think there are rules we all agree to, but as no rule can ever be fully and exhaustively set down such that no divergence can emerge over interpreting it, we are forced to rely on the assumption of a common understanding […] Garfinkel called such experiments breaching.” We are living in a country where waiting in a line is a rule; at some point, someone still wa...


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...ould just either let it go such as walking into that person to show him that I am waiting in a line; or I could just simply say ‘Excuse me, but I believe you just cut in line,’ that is forceful enough for that person to get my point. To me, it not worth fighting in this kind of situation but confront the cutter as quick as I can and let it go.
Generally, norms are important to one society as it helps its member check with themselves and their behavior. In America, we seldom see someone cut a line without asking for permission. I chose to break this social norm to experience what people around would say to me as well as how they react when they see me cut a line with a non-sense reason: I don’t want to wait. It was fun sometimes to violate a social norm for this experiment, but I am sure if I am a person who is received the experiment, it will not be fun at all.


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