TOPIC- Control by Miscellaneous Norms
Fashion may be defined as permitted range of variation around a norm. People want to be like their associates and friends and also want to be different from them. Fashion is a device beautifully suited to reconcile these opposing tendencies. Fashion permits and regulates variety and thereby avoids a dull and deadening uniformity. They help us to express our individuality without going against norms.
In conforming to fashion we imitate our contemporaries. Sanctions that support conformity to fashion in dress are very powerful. Thus no woman wants to attend a dinner party in a night dress. Superficial or trivial changes in fashions are called fads’. People follow both and try to conform to their requirements. Fashion has become all pervasive. People want to eat fashionable foods, wear fashionable-dresses, read fashionable books, enjoy fashionable amusements, etc.
Rites, Rituals and Ceremonies:
Rites, rituals and ceremonies add dignity and a kind of special significance to various events of social life. They mark some occasions with solemnity and introduce enjoyment to others. More than that they serve to identify the individual with his groups, his community, and his nation.
Ceremonies are observed everywhere. The birth of a baby, confirmation, graduation, the death of an old man, the inauguration of a new factory, a promotion, the publication of a book, a new record in athletics, etc., are all events that draw special attention. Ceremony confers public recognition to them.
Ceremony regularises or standardises situations which people confront for which they may not otherwise find a guide for action. For example, the funeral ceremony helps the survivors to meet the crisis of death.
‘Rite’ also refers to a ceremony. It sometimes conveys a sense of secrecy, of a ceremony known only to the initiated. All secret societies have their rites and also people with high qualifications have them. Example: An oral examination for the degree of doctor of philosophy. Through this the candidate joins the limited and selected few.
Ritual is also a ceremony but it is characterised by repetition. It is periodically or repeatedly performed. Ex. Republic Day, Independence Day, Wedding Anniversary, New Year’s Day, Martyrs’ Day, May Day, etc. Ritual introduces temporal regularity and a precision of detail into many of the events that characterise our social life. Ritual also induces a sense of identification with the group.
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