Mores in Sociology, Meaning, Definition and Examples

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 00:47 -- Umar Farooq

Meaning of Mores

All the various forms of social norms are instruments of social control in varying degrees. The social usages, folkways regulating our behaviour, are called mores. The folkways and mores have the same source of their emergence and it is group interaction. Both are the customary ways of life and are standards of right and wrong. The people seek direction of their actions by learning these norms in group life. The difference lies in the degree of social control upon groups. Mores are more compulsory to conform than the folkways. Wearing clothes is mores and the clothes of different styles are folkways. Purdah observing for ladies used to be mores in our society but it has now been left as folkways. There are certain tribes castes and sects in our society in which it is still a mores. For example, the people of Frontier Region, some families and the people of certain castes hold it a 'must'. Most of the families living in the farmsteads and villages of Punjab, Sind and Baluchistan usually consider purdah for women as folkways. Mores determines that such item in the society holds such position and holds such value. Folkways and mores, whatever the method of social control both vary in their degree of intensity. This degree is the degree of value attached by the culture to that item.

Mores is the plural of more which means custom. Moms is from moral and refers to any act or belief in. accordance with customary group expectations. An act is moral if it is customary, immoral if it is not some examples of mores from our culture are given below:


According to R.M. Maclver and C.H. Page, "When the folkways have added to them; conceptions of group welfare, standards of right and wrong, they are converted into mores".

Gillin and Gillin say that "Those customs and group routines which are thought by the members of the society to be necessary to the group's continued existence".

As Edward Sapir has pointed out, "The term 'mores' is best reserved for those customs which connote fairly strong feelings of the tightness or wrongness of mode of behaviour".

In simple words, we can say when the folkways clearly represent the group standards, the group sense of what is fitting, right and conducive to well-being, then they become mores.

Examples of Mores In Sociology

Sanctity of mosque and other sacred beliefs and practices: Nikah ceremony; Namaz-e-Janaza and its burial (for Muslims). Mores are more serious norms but also informal like folkways. They are also unwritten customary ways of life. They have very serious binding on groups. Their violation is a serious threat, to social order. For example, having sexual relations with women without marriage, entering into other's house without permission, breaking purdah of women, selling and eating unclean (haram) meat,  drinking, abducting children are the violation of mores. Such incidents create unrest among the people. On violation the people take very serious action and sometimes they even beat the violator Police action is seldom required because such violations are mostly out of police jurisdiction.

Violation of Mores

Mores deal with higher values of people. The violation of mores is a serious threat to higher values of life, honor and property. People want protection of their values. If these are followed there is no problem of value endanger.

These group standards are so important in society that their boundary sometimes touches the border of law. Keeping to the left on roads is a mores as well as a law.