Experiential Learning

1) Think of a social norm to violate. It should be a situation where everyone knows what the appropriate behavior would be without having to think about it, with the limitation that it cannot be anything illegal or harmful to yourself or others: we are examining LEGAL deviance only in this assignment.

You may find this site to be helpful in thinking about social norm violations. It gives information on the norm breaching experiments of Harold Garfinkel and others who studied this phenomenon.

2) Violate the norm you chose over a long enough time to permit yourself to observe at least three reactions from others. (If you are having trouble getting people to react, then your behavior isn’t really a norm violation, and you should try a different one.) Important: do not tell anyone what you are doing, or that this is an assignment. You should behave as if what you are doing is normal to you. You should bring something to write on such as a cell phone or notebook so that you can take notes on other people’s reactions and your own personal feelings throughout the process. When you are finished, your task is to develop a 6-8 page paper write-up about this experiment (not including title and reference pages).

In your paper, under the subheading of Method: Include a 1 paragraph overview explaining what media you analyzed. Explain which norm was violated—i.e., what is normally done vs. what was done differently.

2) Under the subheading of Findings: Include a 1 page analysis that includes:

Your personal feelings: how did you feel while observing the norm violation during it, and afterward?
Other people’s reactions during the violation. Did anything unusual or substantial happen because of the norm violation? How did you know what other characters were thinking and feeling about the violation? Were there any notable patterns that arose in people’s reactions?
3) Under the subheading of Discussion: Include a 5-7 page analysis in which you reflect on your findings. Using the course concepts and ideas discussed and read thus far, how can you understand and interpret the interactions of others? How can you understand your own experience/feelings about norm breaching? In this discussion, you must:

Clearly apply at least 3 relevant sociological concepts/theories from our course materials/readings to the deviant behavior you analyzed in this experiment.
Clearly apply findings from at least 5 meaningful up-to-date resources, 3 of which are from reputable academic journals, to the deviant behavior you analyzed in this experiment.
NOTE: do not include the actual notes you took during the observations. You need to analyze and discuss the notes, but not include/list them in your paper.

NOTE – you may find our Sociological Theories and Concepts Toolkit to be helpful (found in Announcements).

Do not use unverifiable, secondary sites such as Wikipedia, about.com, ask.com, and similar. Use our course materials, peer-reviewed journal articles from the library, and other scholarly sources.

Your presentation should utilize sound critical thought and it should include appropriate APA in-text citations and full APA references at the end.

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