1932

Abstract

Norms are a foundational concept in sociology. Following a period of skepticism about norms as overly deterministic and as paying too little attention to social conflict, inequalities, and agency, the past 20 years have seen a proliferation of norms research across the social sciences. Here we focus on the burgeoning research in sociology to answer questions about where norms come from, why people enforce them, and how they are applied. To do so, we rely on three key theoretical approaches in the literature—consequentialist, relational, and agentic. As we apply these approaches, we explore their implications for what are arguably the two most fundamental issues in sociology—social order and inequality. We conclude by synthesizing and building on existing norms research to produce an integrated theoretical framework that can shed light on aspects of norms that are currently not well understood—in particular, their change and erosion.

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2020-07-30
2024-06-14
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