Too Close For Comfort : A Social Experiment Essay

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Too Close For Comfort: A Social Experiment

Although we like to think that we as individuals are unique in our own ways, we are in fact not that special. A vast majority of society are followers. We conform to certain standards that have subconsciously been instituted. We consider these standards, “the norm.” According to M.I.T University, they define norms as, “Concepts and behaviors that constitute the normal. [...] These often derive from values but also contradict values; sometimes derives from statistical norms but often not.” M.I.T then goes on to suggest that the purpose of norms are to, “serve as both guides and criticisms for individual behavior. Norms establish expectations that shape interaction.” Of course, culture plays a huge role in shaping these norms. Culture creates and shapes a set of thoughts, feelings and behaviors of a group of people. As Paul Willis, a social scientist, so eloquently described culture’s relationship with norms, “the cultural is the creative, varied, potentially transformative working out of some of the fundamental social/structural relationships of society.” (Willis, Learning to Labor. 1977:137.) More so, when there are norms, there are sanctions associated to that norm. Sanctions can be defined as a form of social control. Typically, sanctions come from either formal or informal control. Sanctions also typically produce an outcome, either positive or negative. The social experiment I conducted reveals the relationship…

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