Social Control by Folkways and Mores

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TOPIC- Control by Folkways and Mores

Folkways and mores represent two important types of informal control.

Folkways

‘Folkways’ refer to the ways of the people. They are “the repetitive petty acts of the people “. Folkways are the norms to which people conform because it is expected of them. Conformity to the folkways is neither required by law nor enforced by any special agency of society. For example, there is no law that compels us to wash clothes, to take bath, to brush teeth, to greet friends, to give respect to elders, etc. Still we do many such activities without thinking over them. It is a matter of usage. They are our folkways.

Folkways are not as compulsive and obligatory as laws or morals. Those who violate folkways are not punished by formal means. But the violators are put to gossip, slander and ridicule. One can ignore a few of the folkways but no one can neglect or violate all of them.

They constitute an important part of the social structure.

They contribute to the order and stability of social relations. Human infants learn them through their elders through socialisation. They learn different folkways at different stages relevant to their class, caste, ethnic, religious, occupational, marital and other statuses. We are made to follow them because they are binding. They become with us a matter of habit.

The Mores

‘Mores’ or’ Morals’ represent another category of norms. When folkways’ act as regulators of behaviour then they become ‘mores’. Mores are considered to be essential for group welfare. The positive mores prescribe behaviour patterns while the negative mores or taboos prescribe or prohibit behaviour patterns.

Mores for example, instruct people to love their country, to look after their wives and children, to tell the truth, to be helpful to others, etc. They also insist on people not to become unpatriotic, not to show disrespect to the god, not to steal, cheat, etc.

Mores represent the living character of the group. They are always considered as ‘right’ by the people who share them. They are morally right and their violation morally wrong. Hence they are more compulsive in nature.

Mores contribute to the solidarity and harmony of the group. They help the individuals to identify themselves with the group. Every group has its own mores. There are more for each sex, for all ages, for all classes, for all families and so on.

Control by Folkways and Mores

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