SOC1010 Columbia Southern University Unit IV Breaking a Folkway Paper 1. Answer ALL the questions listed in Part A and Part B. 2. Please answer the response questions in essay-style format. You will not be rewriting each question and answering it. You will be creating an essay that addresses the response questions. 3. Use sociological terms and concepts from the textbook reading in your essay to demonstrate you understand and can apply the concepts. 4. Cite the textbook at least once in the essay. Unit IV Assignment Tips and Sample Ideas of Norm Breaking
Break a norm (folkway) and judge the reactions of others. In this case, you should do something different
from what others expect in that situation.
This assignment will help you see and better understand just how prevalent social norms are in our
everyday lives and how unconsciously and willingly people obey these social norms.
Do You Have Concerns About Breaking a Norm?
Students will have varying comfort levels with breaking norms. Some students will enjoy the challenge of
pushing the boundaries, and others will not feel comfortable breaking a norm. If you are really concerned
about having to do this assignment, I recommend thinking of a positive norm you can break or doing the
experiment with family and friends instead of at work or in an extremely public forum. Do your best to
push your comfort level without stressing yourself too much about the assignment. If you have any
concerns about picking a norm to break, please contact your instructor.
Follow the instructions carefully provided in the syllabus.
Review the textbook pages listed in the assignment instructions before doing the assignment.
Use concepts/terminology from the textbook. (It is required.)
Cite the textbook at least one time in the assignment. (It is required.)
Please remember that two pages are required in your essay. Here are a few ideas on how to add
to your essay content if you are having trouble meeting the two-page length requirement.
(1) Provide more details about the setting and reactions when you broke the norm,
(2) Discuss in more detail the importance of the norm in society and how that particular norm has
changed over the years.
(3) Talk more about why challenging norms can be good in society or why challenging norms can
(4) Compare this norm breaking experience to examples of norms you or others have broken in
(5) Add more citations from the text and other appropriate sources to support your essay.
(6) Discuss the reactions if you told others after the experiment that it was for a class assignment.
Sample List of Norms to Break
The list below is just a few examples. You can break whatever norm you choose as long as it is a folkway
and not harmful to you or others.
*You can also Google norm breaking if you need help finding other examples.
Break an interaction norm: Examples: (1) stand too close or too far away when interacting, (2) remai n
silent, (3) use a non-custom greeting (bow or give high fives instead of shaking hands), (4) avoid eye
contact, (5) use excessive eye contact, (6) smile and greet everyone, (7) always answer “how are you?”
with an elaborate answer, (8) talk too loudly or softly, (9) be extra nice or helpful, (10) cut in line.
Break a clothing norm: Examples: (1) go shoeless, (2) wear clothes backwards or inside out, (3) wear
flip-flops with socks, (4) wear mismatched clothes, (5) wear clothes for the wrong season, (6) wear
clothes that are not deemed appropriate for a certain event such as jeans to church or sunglasses
Break a societal norm: Examples: (1) Do something positive that is out of the ordinary for your work or
home culture (bring coffee and donuts multiple days or be extra nice or helpful), (2) carry a stuffed
animal/doll to restaurants, friend’s house, or class, (3) take an unusual pet for a walk (e.g., cat, hamster,
snake), (4) sing in odd places, (5) stare up at the sky or ceiling, (6) stand in elevator the wrong way, (7)
eat non-finger foods with hands or violate another polite eating norm.
Breaking A Norm Experiment
For the Unit IV Assignment, you will conduct an experiment in which you break a folkway, a norm
governing everyday behavior, and answer a series of response questions applying concepts you learned
in this unit and the previous unit regarding breaking norms. The following concepts in the course
textbook will be useful in helping you complete the assignment: Chapter 2: Breaking Norms and
Sanctions (pp. 56-58) and Chapter 6: Informal and Formal Social Control, Law and Society, and Deviance
Begin by choosing which type of folkway (norm) you want to break. You may break a norm that results
in a negative sanction (e.g., staring or exclusion). On the other hand, you may also break a norm that
results in a positive sanction (e.g., extra attention or thanks). You can break the norm with family
member, at work with a colleague, or in your community with a neighbor or a friend. After picking your
norm, answer the questions in Part A. After completing the experiment (breaking the norm), answer the
questions in Part B. You will write up your answers to the questions from both Part A and Part B in a
Part A: (Before Breaking the Norm)
What norm have you decided to break?
Is it a formal norm or an informal norm?
Why do you think this norm exists in society? How it is a form of social control?
What reactions by others do you expect?
How do you think you will feel while breaking the norm?
Part B: (After Breaking the Norm)
What were the reactions of others?
How did the reactions of others strengthen the norm or act as a social control?
SOC 1010, Introduction to Sociology 4
How did you feel during the experiment, and how did the reactions affect you?
What did you learn about yourself in the breaking of the norm?
IMPORTANT: Do not do anything that is legally or morally questionable or that could bring negative
sanctions against yourself or the university while breaking the norm. Please just use common sense! If
you have a question about the appropriateness of your experiment, please contact your instructor.
Click here for Sample List of Norms and Other Tips to Help You Complete the Unit IV Assignment.
For this assignment, ensure you follow the requirements below:
1. Answer ALL the questions listed in Part A and Part B.
2. Please answer the response questions in essay-style format. You will not be rewriting each question
and answering it. You will be creating an essay that addresses the response questions.
3. Use sociological terms and concepts from the textbook reading in your essay to demonstrate you
understand and can apply the concepts.
4. Cite the textbook at least once in the essay. APA style in-text citations are required to show how the
textbook was used in your essay. An APA style reference list containing the textbook and any other
sources you cited in the assignment is also required. The following tutorial from CSU’s Writing Center on
in-text citations is a great helpful resource. Click on the link to view this tutorial:
The essay should be a minimum of two pages and should use the following APA style components: APA
style title page, double-spaced, 1-inch margins, and 12-point font.
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