Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Social Norm and Social Role

Have you ever wondered how other people in society influence your behaviour? Society has made it obvious of expectations set by others that ideally should be followed. For instance, people are expected to say or not say some things in some situations or to behave in a particular way. While social norms and social roles are sometimes seen as constraining behaviour, their importance in society cannot be ignored. In this article, we will look at the difference between social norms and social roles. 

What is a Social Norm?

These are unwritten rules that govern what people can and cannot do in social circumstances and surroundings. These can be customs, values or traditions. These accepted standards of behaviour of social groups provide a key to comprehending social influence as well as providing order in society. 

Social norms are seen in every aspect of interaction in the society, from friendship, workmates and families, you name it. In any of these settings, social norms provide powerful ways of predicting how people will behave. They also guide people’s behaviour in certain situations and have been deemed beneficial in society. For instance, normative messages can increase voter turnout, encourage decrease alcohol consumption and encourage recycling. Also, colleagues in the workplace are supposed to respect the workplace and not engage in any activities that may compromise this. Students, as well are expected to respect their teachers as well as rules set by the learning institutions. 

However, social norms change based on the audience. 

What is Social Role?

This refers to society’s expectation of a person’s behaviour in a given setting or status. Given that each person has several roles in society, these roles affect a person’s behaviour. This could be a sibling, parent, teacher, student, banker and doctor, just to name a few. 

Society culturally defines social roles such that nearly everyone knows what is expected of them. These roles also vary based on the group one is interacting with. For instance, the interaction between a father and his son cannot be the same as that with his teacher or doctor. How a person interacts with their friends is also different with interactions at the workplace. 

Similarities between Social norm and Social role

  • Both govern societal behaviours and interactions

Differences between Social norm and Social role

Definition

Social norms refer to unwritten rules that govern what people can and cannot do in social circumstances and surroundings. On the other hand, social roles refer to society’s expectation of a person’s behaviour in a given setting or status.

Examples

 Social norm can be seen in colleagues whereby the workplace should be respected and no activities that can compromise this should be carried out. On the other hand, an example of a social role is seen in the interaction between the interaction between a father and his son which is different from that with his teacher or doctor.

Social norm vs. Social role: Comparison Table

Summary of Social norm vs. Social role

Social norm refers to unwritten rules that govern what people can and cannot do in social circumstances and surroundings. On the other hand, social role refers to society’s expectation of a person’s behaviour in a given setting or status. Although they are sometimes seen as constraining behaviour, they govern societal behaviours and interactions. 

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References :


[0]Warren Frederick Morris. Escaping Alienation: A Philosophy of Alienation and Dealienation. University Press of America, 2002.https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=vQdwafH0tOEC&pg=PA90&dq=Difference+between+social+norm+and+social+role&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiMuv2KwNrsAhXkShUIHQ8jA1c4ChDoATABegQICRAC#v=onepage&q=Difference%20between%20social%20norm%20and%20social%20role&f=false

[1]Hogg M & Terry D. Attitudes, Behavior, and Social Context: The Role of Norms and Group Membership. Psychology Press, 1999. https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=sS55AgAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=Difference+between+social+norm+and+social+role&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjgmOabvtrsAhUcRhUIHcPtB5QQ6AEwAHoECAUQAg#v=onepage&q=Difference%20between%20social%20norm%20and%20social%20role&f=false

[2]Bayertz K & Roughley N. The Normative Animal?: On the Anthropological Significance of Social, Moral and Linguistic Norms. Oxford University Press, 2019. https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=pLWYDwAAQBAJ&pg=PA111&dq=Difference+between+social+norm+and+social+role&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjgmOabvtrsAhUcRhUIHcPtB5QQ6AEwAXoECAkQAg#v=onepage&q=Difference%20between%20social%20norm%20and%20social%20role&f=false

[3]Image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Social_Roles.jpg

[4]Image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fig_1._cyber-bullying_model.png

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