Breaking Social Norms: Examples

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 501 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Mar 20, 2024

Words: 501|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Mar 20, 2024

Social norms are the unwritten rules that govern behavior in a society. They dictate how individuals should act, dress, and speak in various situations. These norms are essential for maintaining order and cohesion within a community. However, there are times when breaking these norms can lead to interesting insights into human behavior and the functioning of society. In this essay, we will explore various examples of breaking social norms and the impact it has on individuals and society as a whole.

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One of the most common examples of breaking social norms is the concept of personal space. In many cultures, individuals are expected to maintain a certain distance from others in public spaces. Invading someone's personal space can lead to discomfort and unease. However, sociologist Harold Garfinkel conducted an experiment in which individuals were instructed to deliberately invade the personal space of strangers. The results showed that individuals reacted with confusion and discomfort, highlighting the importance of personal space in social interactions.

Another example of breaking social norms is the concept of gender roles. In many societies, there are specific expectations for how individuals should behave based on their gender. Breaking these norms can lead to backlash and criticism. For example, a man wearing makeup or a woman pursuing a traditionally male-dominated career can challenge societal expectations and lead to judgment from others. This demonstrates the rigid nature of gender norms and the consequences of deviating from them.

Furthermore, breaking social norms can also involve going against cultural expectations. For example, in some cultures, it is customary to eat certain foods with specific utensils or in a particular manner. Deviating from these cultural norms can lead to disapproval and judgment from others. However, sociologist Erving Goffman argued that breaking these cultural norms can lead to a better understanding of cultural differences and the importance of cultural relativism.

Another example of breaking social norms is the concept of dress codes. Society often dictates what is considered appropriate attire for various settings, such as the workplace or formal events. However, individuals who choose to dress in a manner that deviates from these norms can face criticism and judgment. This demonstrates the power of clothing in shaping perceptions and the consequences of defying societal expectations.

Moreover, breaking social norms can also involve challenging authority. In many societies, individuals are expected to respect and obey figures of authority, such as law enforcement officers or government officials. However, engaging in civil disobedience or challenging authority can lead to social and legal repercussions. This highlights the power dynamics at play in society and the consequences of challenging established norms.

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In conclusion, breaking social norms can lead to a deeper understanding of human behavior and societal dynamics. Whether it involves personal space, gender roles, cultural expectations, dress codes, or authority, deviating from societal norms can lead to interesting insights into the functioning of society. While there may be consequences for breaking these norms, it can also lead to a greater appreciation for the diversity of human experience and the importance of questioning established norms.

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Dr. Oliver Johnson

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Breaking Social Norms: Examples. (2024, March 20). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 26, 2024, from
“Breaking Social Norms: Examples.” GradesFixer, 20 Mar. 2024,
Breaking Social Norms: Examples. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 26 May 2024].
Breaking Social Norms: Examples [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Mar 20 [cited 2024 May 26]. Available from:
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