Assignment #2: Breaking a Social Norm

For this assignment, you will choose a social norm in our society and break it.  It can be any social norm that you can break for a short period of time.  Some examples include standing a few inches from someone when talking, sitting next to someone on an almost empty bus, sitting down at a stranger’s table in a restaurant, picking your nose in public, facing backwards on an elevator and wearing a suit or fancy dress to the gym.   Spend at least 15 minutes breaking the social norm.  Make sure that several people observe you breaking the social norm.  Depending on the social norm you choose to break, you may need to repeat it.  Next, write 1-2 pages about your experience breaking the social norm.  Describe the social norm that you broke and how you broke it.  Next, describe how people reacted.  Then answer all of the following questions, using at least two terms or concepts from lecture or the textbook.

  1. Why do you think this is a social norm?
  2. Is this social norm universal, or is it unique to the U.S. or even just the location you broke it in?
  3. How did you learn that this is a social norm?
  4. How did you feel while breaking this social norm?
  5. Why do you think people reacted the way they did to your norm violation?

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