Types of Social Norms Folkways, Mores and Laws

Sat, 10/13/2012 - 08:54 -- Umar Farooq

The types of social norms are the following

  1. Folkways
  2. Mores
  3. Laws

1. Folkways

Folkways are man's actions repeated by him in his habit and a repeated behavior by group of people in a custom. Summer defines folkways saying that "These are the socially approved ways of behaving in a society. These are the ways of life of the people. So it is the way of life of people which opens unconsciously. Folkways are the norms that arise during social interaction and are passed on from one generation to the next. The most elementary or the basic pattern of social norms is the folkways. The basic forms of social control being folkways sanctions the way of our life. The interaction which takes place unconsciously with others follows some pattern which is in our culture called adab-e-­guftugo which means the manners of conversation. These define our specific behavior in a specific situation. Summer says that folkways are not creation of human purpose.

These are the product of natural forces which men unconsciously set in operation. Folkways are the “should” part of human behaviour". But however the violations of folkways do not endanger the society. It does not create a serious social problem but this violation is not tolerated by the society. Folkways are informal norms. These groves and vanish with the need of time. These are the guardian of minor social ways and the social norms are the guardians of our socio­cultural values.

2. Mores

All forms of Social norms are instruments of social control. The usage of folkways regulating our behavior is the mores. The mores is also a type of social norms is also the outcome of interaction. The folkways and the mores both are the customary ways of life and are the standards of right and wrong. The people seek direction of their sanctions by learning these patterns. Mores is the plural of the world "mos" which means custom. Mores is the moral practice and refers to any act or belief in accordance with customary group expectations. Mores are more serious norms but also informal like folkways. These are also unwritten customary ways of life and their violation is a serious threat to the social order for example having sexual relationship with a woman without marriage or entering a house without permission or breaking of pardah practice by woman such incident create unrest among the people. Mores deal with higher values of people. These are very important parts of the society.

3. Law

It is another types of social norm. Law is the engine of social control. It is the formal part of social norms. It is the written form of life practice and its violation and punishment is clearly defined. Law is the product of society according to the social conditions of life. Law is also a custom but refined and defined according to the social situations. Violation of law is called a crime and the person who violates the law is called a criminal. Violation of law creates a serious problem in the society. The effective force among the social norms is the force of law. Making laws is the defining of acts according to the situations. More sanctions awarded to law are formal that is imprisonment, fine or death sentence. It also can be positive action by awarding certificates or the degrees.