Social Norm As A Restriction Of Human Behavior.

2023 words - 8 pages

Part I : Theoretical OverviewSocial Norms: General ConceptsThe term social norm stands for a rule being enforced by society that affects a wide range of human behavior. The crucial point when distinguishing between social norms and other cultural values such as meanings - is the sanctioning, thus social norms take the highest place in the hierarchy of values of society. Within the last decade social norms have literally been rediscovered, as prior to these years the concept of social norms was largely ignored. The major part of the contemporary studies are concerned with the idea of integrating social norms into the law and economics paradigm or, on the other side of the fence, other studies include the social norms into one combining law and socioeconomics model, that unites law and economics and law and society disciplines into one conception. (Etzioni, A. 156) Robert Ellickson in 1991 pointed out, that social norms take a significant place in the traditional law and economics models emphasizing the roles of social norms in terms of social order maintenance. (138-139)Social Norms: The Ongoing DebateThere are three major pairs of opposing concepts presented by Amitai Etzioni in 2000 (158) a deeper insight into which is essential when exploring the subject in detail: whether social norms affect behavior of society only as external (environmental) factors or their influence is much deeper and social norms shape people's intrinsic predispositions; the processes by which norms tend to influence people: whether processes are modifiable through internalization and persuasion or they are fixed and, consequently, predetermined; finally, the way social norms themselves are formed: rational choice or historical transmissions. It is essential to at least briefly overview the three ongoing debates, as this is where the key understanding of both amplification and role of social norms is rooted both, on an individual and society levels.The Origins of Social NormsThe scholarships are yet only to decide about the origins of socials norms. In general, norms are positioned to be rational, thus people do not have to deliberate before taking actions. Traditional norms have been followed for centuries and the necessity of amplification of these norms is rooted back in Darwinist theory of survival of the fittest.Richard McAdams provides a theoretical model on how social norms may ariserationally under certain conditions led by a desire for esteem; a norm may arise if: "There is a consensus about the positive or negative esteem worthiness of engaging in X… there is some risk that others will detect whether one engages in X; and the existence of this consensus and risk of detection is well known within the relevant population." (358) Consequently, a norm will arise, when the costs of engaging in activity X are less then the esteem costs.Ellickson in 1991 examined the matter through empirical analysis. The hypothesis produced by Ellickson stated, that members of...

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