- The Oxford Handbook of Analytical Sociology
- List of Figures
- List of Tables
- About the Contributors
- What is Analytical Sociology All About? An Introductory Essay
- Analytical Sociology and Theories of the Middle Range
- Social Dynamics from the Bottom Up: Agent-Based Models of Social Interaction
- Segregation Dynamics
- Self-Fulfilling Prophecies
- Social Influence: The Puzzling Nature of Success in Cultural Markets
- The Contagiousness of Divorce
- Collective Action
- Conditional Choice
- Network Dynamics
- Threshold Models of Social Influence
- Time and Scheduling
- Homophily and the Focused Organization of Ties
- Dominance Hierarchies
- Game Theory
- Analytic Ethnography
- Historical Sociology
- Name Index
- Subject Index
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.
Jon Elster is the Robert K. Merton Professor of Social Sciences at Columbia University and a professor at the Collège de France. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Paris. Before taking his current position at Columbia University, he taught in Paris, Oslo, and Chicago. His research interests include the theory of rational choice, the theory of distributive justice, and the history of social thought (Marx and Tocqueville). He is currently working on a comparative study of constitution-making processes from the Federal Convention to the present, besides being engaged in a project on the microfoundations of civil war.
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