As I mentioned in class today, you will have a choice of two essay
possibilities for this next week. Please choose one of the following

This writing assignment asks you to identify some kind of social norm
and then examine that norm based on the criteria we talked about during
lecture. Here are those criteria:

1. To what extent is the norm known and recognized?
2. What is the mode of transmission? How do we learn about the norm?
3. How much and how often do we conform to the norm?
4. Does the norm apply equally to all groups?
5. Is the norm severely or lightly enforced?
6. What is the mode and consistency of enforcement?

Please be clear about what specific norm you have identified and then
examine that norm along each of those criteria. Your write up should be
between 700-900 words. Submit your finished documents to Canvas before
9am, Friday, October 18th.

This writing assignment requires you to conduct a breaching experiment
and write up your findings.

The written document you submit must have two parts:

For the first part, I want you to describe your breach in as much
hard-boiled detail as you can. This is the “who, what, where, when” part
of your assignment. Who did what? What happened? Where did it happen?
When did it happen?

For the second part, I want you to answer these questions: What was the
unwritten “social rule” you violated? How did others sanction you — or
not? What kinds of tactics did others use to let you know your behavior
was “out of line”? Why do you think they used those tactics and not

Make sure your response includes both parts. Total length of this
assignment = 700-900 words. Submit your finished documents to Canvas
before 9am, Friday, October 18th.

Here is a link to an article that provides a tidy summary about the
methods and goals of breaching experiments:

For the breaching experiment, you can work with a partner. One of you
can be the person who conducts the breach, and the other person can
record people’s reactions to the breach. If you are working with a
partner who is also enrolled in this class, make sure you indicate that
fact in your written response. You can work with only one other partner,
and both of you must individually submit the essay.

**Remember, if you decide to conduct a breaching experiment, do not do
anything illegal. That is critically important, because a good breach
does not hurt anybody or do damage to property, etc, etc. Breaches are
done in the spirit of “serious play.”**

**I also encourage you to review the assigned readings by Peter Berger’s
“Sociology as an Individual Pastime” and Harold Garfinkel’s “Studies of
the Routine Grounds for Everyday Activities.”

**Please choose either Option A or B and make sure to specify which
essay option (either A or B) you have chosen. Write “Option A” or
“Option B” in the header or title.