Sociology Index

NORM

Conduct Norms, Taboo

Norm is a culturally established rule prescribing appropriate social behavior. Norms are relatively specific and precise and elaborate the detailed behavioural requirements that flow from more general and overarching social values. A norm fixes the boundaries of behavior. However, a rational person only acts according to the rule only if it suits her. A norm gives an expectation of how other people act in a given situation. In order for a norm to be stable, people's actions must reconstitute the expectation without change. A set of such correct stable norm expectations is known as a Nash equilibrium. Thus, a stable norm must constitute a Nash equilibrium.

The norm in western society is that one should respect the dead and it is a norm that one should dress in dark colours for a funeral. Social sanctioning is what distinguishes norms from other cultural products or social constructions such as meaning and values. Norms and normlessness are thought to affect a wide variety of human behavior.

Charismatic Code, Social Norms, and the Emergence of Cooperation on the File-Swapping Networks - Lior Strahilevitz, University of Chicago Law School
U Chicago Law & Economics, Olin Working Paper No. 162
Abstract: The question of why individual members of peer-to-peer file-swapping networks such as Napster, Gnutella, and Kazaa consciously choose to share their unlicensed copies of copyrighted content with anonymous strangers despite the absence of economic incentives for doing so. According to Rational choice theory and many Social psychology, in the absence of face-to-face contact or other communication, strangers will be unlikely to contribute to a public good if such cooperation is somewhat costly.

Linking social norms to efficient conservation investment in payments for ecosystem services - Xiaodong Chena, Frank Lupia, Guangming Hea and Jianguo Liua
Abstract: An increasing amount of investment has been devoted to protecting and restoring ecosystem services worldwide. Little is known about the effects of social norms at the neighborhood level. As a first attempt to quantify the effects of social norms, we studied the effects of a series of possible factors on people's intentions of maintaining forest on their Grain-to-Green Program (GTGP) land plots if the program ends. We found that, in addition to conservation payment amounts and program duration, social norms at the neighborhood level had significant impacts on program re-enrollment, suggesting that social norms can be used to leverage participation to enhance the sustainability of conservation benefits from PES programs. Social norms should be incorporated with economic and demographic trends for efficient conservation investments.

Do local tobacco regulations influence perceived smoking norms? Evidence from adult and youth surveys in Massachusetts - William L. Hamilton1, Lois Biener and Robert T. Brennan
Smoking behavior has been shown to be influenced by individuals' perceptions of social norms about smoking. Whether local regulations regarding clean indoor air and youth access to tobacco are associated with residents' subsequent perceptions of smoking norms. Indices of perceived smoking norms were based on perceived smoking prevalence and perceived community acceptance of smoking. Multilevel models tested the association between perceived norms and the presence of strong local regulations in four policy domains. Results showed that youths perceived community norms to be significantly more antismoking if they lived in a town that had strong regulations in at least three of the four domains. Implementing and publicizing local regulations may help shape perceptions of community smoking norms.

Search for legal norms - an impossibility result
Musharraf Rasool Cyan, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University, Atlanta
Abstract: Legal norms or laws emerge in society through a process of aggregation of individual choices. Prior to the establishment of such norms individuals live on their own, all the time attempting to fend for themselves. This is the stage where the search for legal norms begins, to lend predictability and stability to behavior and conglomerate individuals into a society. Theories of law have dealt with the subject by terming them as basic norms, primary rules or laws and laid out explanations for their formulation. I attempt to address the issue of aggregation of individual assertions into legal norms in a social choice framework.
General acceptability by individuals is an attribute of legal norms. The second condition that a legal norm must meet is efficacy. A legal norm can only be classed as such if it is enforceable. Norms which are enforced through force or other coercive means achieve the status of legal norms.

Are social norms associated with smoking in French university students? A survey report on smoking correlates
Lionel Riou Franza, Bertrand Dautzenberg, Bruno Falissard and Michel Reynaud
Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy 2009.
Abstract: Background: Knowledge of the correlates of smoking is a first step to successful prevention interventions. The social norms theory hypothesises that students' smoking behaviour is linked to their perception of norms for use of tobacco. This study was designed to test the theory that smoking is associated with perceived norms, controlling for other correlates of smoking. University-based prevention campaigns should take multiple substance use into account and focus on the norms most likely to have an impact on student smoking.

Do Ethical Principles Explain Moral Norm? A Test for Consent to Organ Donation
Authors: Blondeau, Danielle; Godin, Gaston; Gagn; Camille; Martineau, Isabelle
Abstract: Moral norm is a strong predictor of intention with respect to certain behaviors. The results indicated that the interrelations among the ethics variables were significant. However, the results also indicated that moral norm was influenced only by beneficence. Conducting other studies in different cultural contexts and verifying other behaviors would shed light on whether beneficence still influences moral norm.