Understanding Norms and Value Of A Society
Values are abstract concepts that certain kinds of behaviours are good, right, ethical, moral and therefore desirable.
For example; In the United States, one value is freedom; another is equality.
These values can come from a variety of sub-cultures or social institutions. A society can have all of the values it wants, but if it doesn’t have a way to enforce those values, then having values means nothing.
So societies have developed forms of social control, which is the process people use to maintain order in group life.
There are two main categories of social control: norms and laws.
A norm is a standard of behaviour. At some point people in the society agree that these are standards. Some people learn by being taught, but mostly we pick them up just by being exposed to them.
The society at times appears to be chaotic, as when a mob riots, or when there is a hysterical rush from an impending crisis: but soon order is restored and the society gets going. Indeed order rather than disorder is the rule of the world.
Social order as it is called is obtained through regulation of human behaviour according to certain standards.
All societies provide for these standards specifying appropriate and inappropriate behaviour. The standards which regulate behaviour have been termed social norms. The concept of norms is a central one in sociology.
In sociology our concern is with social values. Social values are cultural standards that indicate the general good deemed desirable for organised social life.
These are assumptions on what is right and important for society. They provide the ultimate meaning and legitimacy for social arrangements and social behaviour.
They are the abstract sentiments or ideals. An example of an important social value is, “equality of opportunity”. It is widely considered to be a desirable end in itself.