Pub. date: 2002 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950664 | Print ISBN: 9780761922582 | Online ISBN: 9781412950664| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Conduct Norms and Crime
The origin of the term norm is from the Latin word norma , which means a carpenter's square or rule. Thus in the English usage, a norm is a rule, standard, or pattern of action or inaction. Conduct norms (also known as “institutional norms”) therefore specifically refer to the accepted rules of behavior that regulate the lives of people, either in groups or societies. They are the standards by which reference to behavior is judged, and approved or disapproved. In the words of Sellin, norms are the rules that reflect the attitudes of the groups to which each of us belong, and their purpose is to define what is considered appropriate or normal behavior or what is inappropriate or abnormal behavior. Most other definitions, for example those of Weber (1954), Hoebel (1954), and Gibbs (1965), similarly emphasize that a norm necessarily represents a high degree of consensus in a social ...