Norm Violation Essay

1845 Words May 14th, 2014 8 Pages
In my Norm Violation assignment I chose to break the common dining etiquette norm of eating with your hands. Since eating with your hands is only deviant behavior in certain dining situations, I chose to break this norm at a local sit-down restaurant in Eugene, Café Soriah. I went to the downtown restaurant with a group of friends for an afternoon meal without telling them of my Norm Violation assignment. Being the only informed one in the experiment seemed like the best way to get the most candid reactions from my peers. When I arrived to the restaurant I immediately noticed several social norms that everyone at the establishment was following. The customers and the staff were well dressed, and everyone was conducting himself or …show more content…
Some of the social sanctions that resulted from this experiment put a lot of emotional stress on me to conform the behavioral norms that one should abide by in that type of situation. These sanctions varied from being looked upon with disdain by customers and scolded by my peers to being publicly asked to leave the restaurant if I continued my behavior. As I thought about it I noticed each sanction was enforced by a different entity in this experiment. When I first started eating with my hands, it was my peers who harangued me to behave and act appropriately, and who eventually took my appetizer away from me. The second time I acted out it was other customers eating dinner that publically scorned and detested me. And the third time it was the restaurants staff that gave me my ultimatums. I noted that each different entity that imposed a sanction on me used roughly the same method to enact it upon me. Each one singled me out and put the ‘spotlight’ on me, trying to humiliate me into conforming to the clearly established social norms of that setting. It was easy to see that my peers at the table were trying to be more discreet in the sanctions they gave me. They still shunned me from our immediate group at the table but were more tactful about it since they felt like they were being judged by the rest of the people in the establishment simply for being at the same table with me. All these sanctions were methods of informal social control that’s sole purpose

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