Paper Assignment #1 – Norm Violation Paper

In Chapter 2 of the textbook there is a discussion of the importance of “norms” in a given culture. If you recall, norms are necessary to provide structure to a society, as they function as commonly known, yet unwritten rules of societal “do’s” and “don’t’s” that guide our daily behavior. Your assignment for this paper is to violate a social norm and report back what negative sanctions that you experience as a result. To complete this assignment you should do the following:

  • Identify a social situation and a social norm which you want to violate (see below for examples). Please do not do anything that will put you into an unsafe position, or which violates the law.
  • Go through the experience of violating the norm. Immediately after you have done this, take time to write down what happened. Include:
  • You will then write a 3 page paper which answers all of the questions above. In addition, discuss:

a. State why you chose this norm to violate.

b. What was the social situation or space?

c. What norm did you violate?

d. How did you feel when you violated the norm? Were you embarrassed? If so, why? What did you do afterward? Did you run away?

e. How did other people who witnessed you break the norm respond to you?

Did anyone say anything to you? Did they look embarrassed for you?

a. What you learned about the particular norm which you have violated.

b. How did your norm violation reveal the importance of the social norm which you violated? In other words, how did you breaking the norm highlight how important it is for us as a society to have that norm in place?

c. What does the reaction of others to your norm violation say to you about the strength or weakness of this social norm?

d. What does the reaction of others and your feelings about the norm violation say about society and social interaction more broadly?

e. Do not forget to incorporate 4 concepts of your choice from the textbook that you are required to use to analyze your experience.


  • Go into a store to purchase something which is on sale, and telling the sales person that you insist on paying the full price.
  • Go into an elite store (Macy’s for example) and purchasing something by paying for the item in pennies.

Stand uncomfortably close to someone while having a conversation