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Tuesday, 29 October 2013 08:44

Norm Violation Assignment Featured

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Norm Violation Assignment

 The Chosen Norm

Within the University, it is the norm that students walk to class without necessarily greeting everyone on the way. The only exception is when a student meets with a colleague or wants to inquire something from another student. However, I decided to violate this norm. While walking to class, I greeted everyone I met on my way. I chose this norm because most students in the university are extensively preoccupied with important academic issues and hence rarely mind about greeting others as they walk to class. Additionally, this norm is also widely evident in numerous social situations. For instance, one is not expected to greet everyone they meet on the streets. Although such behavior is not tantamount to legal or ethical violation, it represents an extensive disparity from the conventional social norms and expectations. I also chose to violate this norm because I expected it to elicit diverse reactions from other people. These kinds of reactions are essential with regards to the different goals of this academic assignment.


I violated this norm as I walked to the lecture-room in the morning. I greeted everyone I met and wished them a great day. This setting was suitable because most students are usually very serious in the morning as they walk for lectures. The physical setting was also suitable because I managed to greet tens of students. There are various reasons why I chose this setting. Firstly, greeting other people is not considered as a violation of social ethics. Although these greetings appeared as a distraction to some students, it was in no way a violation of the university’s code of conduct. Consequently, I could violate the norm confidently knowing that I was not breaking the institutional regulations.

Another reason why I chose this setting was that it would not cause irrelevant commotions or unnecessary disturbances. While breaking the norm, I also wanted a setting that would not drain a lot of energy. In line with this, the setting was massively beneficial.

My feelings before and after the experience

Before violating the norm, I was highly anxious about how other students would react to my behavior. At one point, I even contemplated about changing my plan altogether. I also had nervous feelings that the violation of the norm could greatly embarrass me in the entire university. This is because I had never seen any student or person attempting such a move in the university compound. This also made me feel extremely reluctant about pursuing my move. I was also massively concerned that some people would ignore my greetings after stretching my hands graciously.

 Considering that people in this university are always preoccupied with essential academic issues, I had feelings that my behavior would attract insults and abuse from other people. Consequently, I had reservations that my behavior would present me as a disgrace from the perspective of the university’s social framework. During the exercise, I was beaming with confidence. This enabled me to appear as if acting normally. In essence, I did not want to appear as if I was fabricating the exercise in any way. However, I felt as though everyone was staring at me in amusement and wondering whether I was suffering from any psychological challenges. Despite the anxiety and concern, I felt extremely relieved after the exercise. This was largely because no harm emanated from the entire experience. Additionally, I felt relieved because none of the students insulted or heckled me as I went about the exercise.

Other People’s Response to the Violation

All of the people I greeted as I walked to the lecture-room were seemingly excited. They also appeared quite astonished by my behavior. This was understandable because people in the university were not used to an individual greeting them in the morning as they walked to the lecture-room. During the exercise, I also noted that the some people stared at me long after I had greeted them. From a verbal perspective, none of the individuals I greeted hurled an insult or abusive words. On reaching the lecture-room, some colleagues were inquisitive about my behavior. In essence, they sought to understand why I chose to greet everyone on my way yet it was not the norm.


From the exercise, I gained immense insight into norms and social control. I learnt that social control is strongly dependent on people’s social behavior. In line with this perspective, people can easily conform to changes event if they are not concomitant with the norms. At a personal level, I learnt that I have been influenced massively by social norms. For instance, I was anxious about greeting everyone on my way to the lecture because this did not conform to the university’s norms.

Additionally, I also realized that I can adjust easily to social changes. In terms of observations, I noted that people are used to a specific way of life. Any alteration in this pattern elicits surprises and questions from the affected people. The violation of social norms does not cause harm if it conforms to ethics and legal standards (Browne, 2011).   


Browne, K. (2011). An introduction to sociology, Malden, MA: Polity Press


Last modified on Tuesday, 29 October 2013 08:57
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