Breaking Norms Essay

Submitted By teamalvarez8012
Words: 1154
Pages: 5

Carlos Alvarez
Ms. Painter
Sociology, Period 1
3 March 2015
Sometimes Ya Gotta Break the Rules Social norms are the invisible glue that holds societies together. As implicit rules for social behavior, norms are usually only noticed when they are violated. The norm that I chose to violate was giving people their personal space and sitting a good distance away from them. This norm lets people have their own little personal space to think and people usually don’t like it when you invade their personal space. I thought this would be an interesting norm to violate because I tried to put myself in the other person’s perspective and thought, “What if somebody did that to me? What would I do?” so I thought it’d be cool to find out first-hand how people would react. I also thought this would be an easy one to do and assumed that I was going to get different reactions, some might be positive sanctions and some might be negative. I decided to violate my norm in two different locations, one location was C-Bar-C Park in Citrus Heights, CA and the other was the University Inn Waterfront Hotel in Stockton, CA. I chose these two locations because I thought I would get different kinds of people (public park- public people, fancy hotel- higher class people). I started off my research at the public park and got some interesting results. In total, I violated my norm 4 times at the park. My first victim was a middle-aged man who was sitting on a bench, reading a book, watching his kids play on the playground. I walked up casually to the bench where he was sitting and sat extremely close to him, so close that our sides where touching. As soon as I sat down, he turned and said angrily, “Excuse me, but I need you to move somewhere else.” Once he said that, I got up and walked away. The next victim I chose was a teenage girl who was watching, I think, her brother’s baseball game. Again, I walked casually to the spot where she was sitting and sat extremely close to her. This reaction was different from the last. She didn’t tell me to move or anything really, all she did was giggle as if I was dared to do it. I sat there for a good five minutes and she didn’t say a word, so I just got up and was on my way. My next victim was another middle-aged man who was sitting on a bench talking on his cell phone. As I was approaching the bench, he kind of gave me a look that meant “what do you want”. When I sat down, he was just giving me looks while he was talking on the phone. When he hung up his phone he was frustrated and said, “Do you need something?” I shook my head no and he said angrily, “Then why are you sitting so God d### close to me?!” This is when I got up and speed walked away. My final victim was a middle-aged woman who was eating a hotdog on one of the picnic tables. I come and sit next to her and almost instantaneously, she grabbed her food and moved to a different table. I thought that would be a good one to end on so I figured I should try somewhere else that would have different people. My next location was a high-end hotel because I figured I would get different people than those found at the public park. At the hotel, I violated the norm three times. The first was an old women who, I believe, was waiting for her husband to check them in. She was sitting on a couch in the lobby and I sat right next to her. She didn’t say anything, but she did in fact give me some weird looks. After a while, I got up and went straight into the elevator. As I was waiting for the elevator doors to close, I noticed the she was watching me the whole time and that her husband asked her if she knew me. My next victim was a wrestling coach, that I didn’t know, who was talking to his team about the tournament tomorrow. I sit next to him and he continues to talk to his team, almost like he didn’t really notice me. His team was giggling while he was talking which kind of frustrated him. So, after a while, he