Cultural norms are basically those that allow people of a country to look and behave in a very similar way, and they help distinguish people of that country from people from another country. The term ‘norm’ is basically the attitude and behavior that is considered normal or natural for that society/group.

All cultures or societies comprise of cultural norms. These norms are responsible for shaping every aspect of our society including the things we value, our attitudes towards life, and our behavior. However, we usually don’t feel that we are that influenced.

The behavioral standard the society adopts and follow the cultural norms as these are crucial and they play a massive role in people’s interactions with others. These also vary from culture to culture. Cultural norms are further divided into categories such as taboos, folkways, mores, and laws.

Categories of cultural norms

  • Taboo. Taboo is a type of norm that is strongly valued and upheld topic of conversation to the extent where breaking it can result in a judgment and extreme shaming from others. Hence such topics are refrained from being talked over normally and especially in public. Examples of taboo topics can include drug addiction or prostitution.
  • Folkway. Folkways are norms that behave in a similar fashion to taboos except for the fact that if violated, do not cause such harsh or extreme consequential results. In other words, folkways are less-criticized offense. Regardless of the offense, folkways do not create much of a hatred for that person who was involved. An example can include not greeting someone you know even though you pass by him/her.
  • Mores. These are the types of norms that usually define or establish the behavior or moral standards within a culture or society. These give a clear indication of what might sound or seem normal in normal circumstances in the society. A good example can be a childbirth that is a result of couples having sexual relations without being married to each other.
  • Laws. Lastly, laws are norms that are a set of rules/regulations that are invented and defined by a given culture’s/society’s governing body. These are important to maintain a just and fair society. Ranging from family rights to property rights, the laws act as guidance medium for the people so that they know what is clearly right or wrong.