Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 13 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article explores the relationship between norms and action, making a distinction between social and moral norms, quasi-moral norms, legal norms, and conventions. It defines ‘social norm’ as a non-outcome-oriented injunction to act or to abstain from acting, sustained by the sanctions that others apply to norm violators. After explaining how social norms operate, the article considers some important or representative social norms, including work norms, tipping norms, queueing norms, fairness norms and political norms. It also compares social norms with other motivations to act and argues that social norms are ultimately sustained by the emotions of contempt (or indignation) and shame. Yet the influence of emotion on behavior is much larger than the impact mediated by social norms.

Keywords: action, moral norms, quasi-moral norms, legal norms, conventions, social norms, emotions, contempt, shame, behavior

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.