Q:

What is a "folkway"?

A:

Folkways are behaviors specific to a culture that are considered polite, such as standing proximity, body language, eye contact and etiquette. Folkways are a type of cultural habit an individual learns from the people surrounding him on a daily basis.

Sociology describes folkways as the least binding of "norms" or behavioral expectations a society has of an individual. The next level, "mores," includes ethical and moral standards. Breaking the mores of a society is likely to result in disapproval from others. Breaking a "taboo," however, tends to disgust and appall one's society, and breaking a "law" can result in legal punishment.

As they become more ingrained in a society, folkways can become mores. This is especially true of very traditional or conservative cultures.


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