Common standards within a social group regarding socially acceptable or appropriate behaviour in particular social situations, the breach of which has social consequences. The strength of these norms varies from loose expectations to unwritten rules. Norms (such as those for social roles) are internalized in socialization. Functionalists emphasize that society, its institutions, and social order depend on social norms, but within a society different social groups also have their own norms. Compliant behaviour is termed normative but the existence of social norms does not prevent them from being frequently violated. Ethnomethodologists and symbolic interactionists emphasize the contestation of norms, and Marxists stress the role of coercion rather than normative consensus. For other uses of the term, see norm.
Subjects: Media Studies.