Agar 's Language Shock By Harold Garfinkel Essay

1082 Words Sep 21st, 2016 5 Pages
In Agar’s Language Shock (1994), a sociologist named Harold Garfinkel explains the importance of social understanding. Social understanding is how we perceive the world, ourselves, it is our general basic understanding of everyday life. Garfinkel introduced a study called Ethnomethodology which believes you can discover the normal social norms of society by disrupting them (Agar, 1994, pg. 169). As Garfinkel suggested, I immersed myself in society by breaking the social norm and purposely falling in front of UT campus students as they walked by. Although my act may have seemed irrational to many, my findings on Garfinkel’s method were golden. Social norms are the unwritten rules society has laid out, establishing what we are used to seeing and how we behave. For example, it is normal that when a person meets someone for the first time you shake their hand. However, every country and culture has its own set of what to do and what not to do in public. More conservative countries have established norms as a way of life, like Muslim countries where shoulders and knees of women must be covered. In America, our social norms have been established more as a boundary. Social norms have defined the way we view behavior in public. They have not only emphasized the importance of what is socially “right” but also within the way we shape our thoughts of behavior. Norms provide order in society and it would be difficult to imagine how society could function without them. As humans, we…

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