Social Norms and Counterculture

Social norms are the explicit and implicit rules specifying what behaviors are acceptable within a tribe (group of friends, family &/or colleagues). This sociological and social psychological term has been further defined as the rules that a group uses for appropriate and inappropriate values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviours. Social norms have also been described as the customary rules of behavior that coordinate our interactions with others.

Social norms are neither static nor universal; they change with respect to time and vary with respect to culture, generation and even social class. What is deemed to be acceptable dress, speech or behaviour in one social group may not be acceptable in another. Deference to social norms maintains one’s acceptance and popularity within a particular group. By ignoring or breaking social norms, one risks becoming unpopular or an outcast.

Counterculture is a sociological term used to describe the values and norms of behaviour of a subcultural group that run counter to those of the social mainstream of the day. It is like the cultural equivalent of political opposition. Counterculture can also be described as a group whose behaviour deviates from the societal norm.

The counterculture of the 1960’s became identified with the rejection of conventional social norms of the 1950’s. Counterculture youth rejected the cultural standards of their parents, especially with respect to racial segregation, women’s rights, gay rights and the Vietnam War. Hippies became a very large countercultural group.

There is a small, but growing, counterculture that rejects the social norms of today, working to provide the greatest freedom and potential for self-expression previously unknown in human history. Come join us…


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3 Responses to Social Norms and Counterculture

  1. SamTheSociologist says:

    I enjoyed reading your post. I too have joined this counter-culture to resist the norms. Just some further information on deviance: Deviance in a sociological context describes actions or behaviors that violate cultural norms, including formally-enacted rules (e.g. crime) as well as informal violations of social norms (e.g. rejecting folkways). Folkways, in sociology, are any informal norms characterized by being followed through imitation and mild social pressure but not strictly enforced or put into law.
    Norms are the specific behavioral standards, ways in which people are supposed to act, paradigms for predictable behavior in society. They are not necessarily moral, or even grounded in morality; in fact, they are just as often irrational. Deviance is a failure to conform with these culturally reinforced norms. Social norms are different in one culture as opposed to another. For example, a deviant act can be committed in one society or culture that breaks a social norm there, but may be considered normal for another culture and society.

  2. Anonarchy says:

    Cool blog! Some song lyrics for you (because these people said it much better than I):

    Your father will tell you “Sonny, you must do as you are told”
    And you’ll say the same thing to your kids when you’re 32 years old
    And unless you can react against the brainwash from the start
    Your government will rule your mind and your mind will rule your heart
    You’ll conform to every social law and be the system’s slave
    From birth to school to work to death, from the cradle to the grave….

    Be exactly who you want to be, do what you want to do
    I am he and she is she but you’re the only you
    No one else has got your eyes, can see the things you see
    It’s up to you to change your life and my life’s up to me
    The problems that you suffer from are problems that you make
    The shit we have to climb through is the shit we choose to take
    If you don’t like the life you live, change it now it’s yours
    Nothing has effects if you don’t recognize the cause

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