This paper requires you to perform a breaching experiment in which you will break a social norm, and then write a paper that relates which norm you breached, how you did it, and an interpretation of the reactions of others with whom you interacted during the course of the breach. This last point should be the primary focus of the paper, so please do not give me a play-by-play of the breach. The paper is to be seven pages. Good luck and enjoy yourself. For your experiment, you will breach a social norm and evaluate the responses to your breach. THE SOCIAL NORM YOU WILL BREACH IS TO OFFER TO SHAKE EVRYONE’S HAND. You will then write up the results, incorporating sociological theory to illustrate our concepts from class and to understand why people care so much when even mild breaches occur.
The exercise is to be done in groups of 3-4 persons. While one person performs the breach, the others are to observe and record the reactions of others. Do so without affecting the breach or the people you are observing. You need to be removed from the event to some degree. Each person should do the breach exercise at least once, possibly twice, so as to have ample reactions from which to draw for your paper.
As for the individual who is engaged in the exercise, remember that you must maintain yourself as though you are doing nothing wrong and that your actions are completely acceptable. Do not inform anyone that this is an experiment. Do not attempt to offer any explanation for your actions. This includes responding politely to those who speak with you, etc. Don’t act crazy!!!
As you analyze this experience, it may be helpful to ask yourself the following questions:
–Which breach did you conduct?
–How did it feel to be the violator?
–Who were the other participants?
–What were their reactions?