Folkways Mores and Taboos

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 473 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Mar 25, 2024

Words: 473|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Mar 25, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Body Paragraphs
  3. Counterarguments
  4. Conclusion
  5. References


In the rich tapestry of human societies, the concepts of folkways, mores, and taboos weave significant threads that shape cultural identities. These unwritten rules dictate acceptable and unacceptable behaviors, creating a shared understanding among community members. This essay delves into the specific aspect of how these societal norms influence cultural identity formation, drawing on evidence from anthropological studies and sociological research.

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Body Paragraphs

Folkways, the everyday customs and conventions, play a crucial role in shaping cultural identities. They include greetings, dining etiquette, and dress codes, among others. According to Sumner (1906), folkways are the 'ways of the folk,' ingrained habits that individuals learn from their social environment. They provide a sense of belonging and continuity, reinforcing group cohesion. For instance, the Japanese tea ceremony, a traditional practice steeped in ritual and symbolism, serves as a powerful marker of Japanese identity (Gross, 2014).

Mores, unlike folkways, are norms with a moral dimension. They represent societal values and principles, and their violation often leads to severe social disapproval. Mores significantly influence cultural identity by instilling a shared moral compass within a community. For example, the emphasis on 'ubuntu' in many African societies - a philosophy that underscores human interconnectedness and mutual respect - shapes the moral fabric of these communities, fostering a unique cultural identity (Metz, 2011).

Taboos, the strongest of societal norms, forbid certain actions or practices, often due to religious or cultural beliefs. They create boundaries that define what is sacred or profane, thereby shaping cultural identities. For instance, the dietary restrictions in Hinduism, such as the prohibition of beef, serve as powerful markers of Hindu identity (Fuller, 1992).


While it is clear that folkways, mores, and taboos significantly influence cultural identity formation, critics argue that these norms can also perpetuate harmful practices and stereotypes. For example, certain folkways may reinforce gender roles, while some taboos can impede social progress. However, it is essential to recognize that these norms are not static but evolve with societal changes. Therefore, critically examining and challenging harmful norms is crucial for societal growth and transformation.


In conclusion, folkways, mores, and taboos play a pivotal role in shaping cultural identities, providing a shared understanding of acceptable behaviors and moral values within a community. However, it is crucial to critically examine these norms, challenging those that perpetuate harm and embracing those that foster unity and respect. Future research could explore how these norms evolve in response to societal changes, shedding light on the dynamic nature of cultural identity formation.


Fuller, C. J. (1992). The camphor flame: Popular Hinduism and society in India. Princeton University Press.

Gross, B. L. (2014). The Tea Ceremony. In The Oxford Handbook of Food History (pp. 363-378). Oxford University Press.

Metz, T. (2011). Toward an African moral theory. Journal of Political Philosophy, 19(1), 1-25.

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Sumner, W. G. (1906). Folkways: A study of the sociological importance of usages, manners, customs, mores, and morals. Ginn and company.

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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

Folkways Mores And Taboos. (2024, March 25). GradesFixer. Retrieved April 20, 2024, from
“Folkways Mores And Taboos.” GradesFixer, 25 Mar. 2024,
Folkways Mores And Taboos. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 20 Apr. 2024].
Folkways Mores And Taboos [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Mar 25 [cited 2024 Apr 20]. Available from:
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