Why are Norms Necessary in Society? Here’s the Explanation

Why Norms are Necessary in Society – Humans as social beings will of course need to interact with other creatures, for example, such as interacting with friends, family and more broadly, namely interacting with other communities such as neighbors.

However, each individual has different character, personality and traits and behavior. Because of this, norms will be needed in society. Thus, each individual can place himself properly in accordance with agreed norms and not cause conflict. However, is it only because of this that norms are needed? Check out the explanation further!

Definition of Norm

Before discussing the reasons why norms are needed in society, Sinaumed’s needs to know the meaning of norms first.

According to the Big Indonesian Dictionary (KBBI), norms are defined as rules and regulations that bind citizens as groups in society . Where these norms apply as an order, guide as well as controllers of behavior that is appropriate and acceptable in society.

Understanding according to the 2015 Encyclopedia Britannica, norms or also known as social norms are standard rules regarding behavior that are shared by members of social groups.

John J. Macionis , a professor in the field of Sociology, defines norms as all kinds of regulations and expectations that exist in society and will guide all forms of behavior that will be carried out by members of society.

Craig Calhoun , a sociologist from America also expressed the opinion that a norm is a guideline or rule that states how a person should act in a situation in the midst of society.

Norms are defined by E Utrecht as all sets or collections of life instructions that can be used to regulate various kinds of rules that exist in society and the nation. Where these norms must be obeyed by every individual and if they are violated, there will be consequences from the authorities in society.

A sociologist from Germany named Bellebaum defines norms as a tool that can be used to regulate individuals in a social environment, so that each individual is able to act and behave in accordance with the beliefs and attitudes that apply to the environment in which he is located.

Soerjono Soekanto also defines norms as a device, where the norms are made with the aim that existing relationships in a community environment are able to run according to what has been expected and desired by community groups.

From this understanding of norms, it can be concluded that norms are rules that have been formed in such a way because there is a need from society for order that they both want to achieve in everyday life, if an individual violates the norms that have been agreed upon and apply, then there will be penalties or consequences given by the authorities. 

Why are norms needed in society? 

Norms or regulations are things whose existence is considered to be very much needed in various layers of people’s lives. This is because, if these norms do not exist, then each individual can do as he pleases and does not consider other people around him. So, for this reason, norms are needed to exist in society. Norms can make each individual’s behavior more orderly and continue to carry out the rights and obligations that each individual has.

There are also several reasons why norms are needed to exist in society. Here’s an explanation.

1. Can create public order

Norms are present and created in society with the aim of creating order in society. For example, the act of stealing, the act of stealing is a disgraceful act and has no truth value in it.

So, when a member of the public is caught stealing, he will get sanctions and consequences for his actions. Whether it’s social sanctions such as being avoided by other members of the community, getting ridiculed or legal sanctions, such as being tried according to the rules that apply in society. The sanction is a manifestation of the implementation of the norms that have been built before.

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If there are no norms that apply in society, then you can imagine how chaotic the community environment will be and the loss of a sense of peace and security in the environment.

2. Norms become social controllers

The second reason why norms must exist in society is because norms can become social controllers, this second reason is also related to the first reason. Where when there are members of the community who do arbitrary, wrong then he will get the consequences in the form of sanctions that have been mutually agreed upon.

Because of the pending sanctions, every individual will be more careful when acting. Because members of the public will be afraid, if the actions they commit are wrong they will receive sanctions. Both legal sanctions and social sanctions.

As social controllers, norms function like invisible watchdogs in society in an environment. Even though it is not visible that the consequences that will be received by the community are real, so that the community will be more careful when acting or making decisions.

3. Creating security in the community environment

When order has been running as it should, as well as the means of social control, namely the norms of running, security will then be created in society by itself.

Security that is present in society, will create a quiet life and minimal violations. This means that life in society will also be less conflicted, although it is a bit impossible for criminal acts to stop 100 percent. However, norms serve to reduce crime.

People who want to live in a safe environment also need to work hard together, to overcome situations that are not always predictable and the life of every member of society must go on as usual. Therefore, norms must also exist in society and be properly enforced by every level of society.

4. As a guide for society

Communities living in an environment will generally be confused if there are no clear and applicable rules or binding members of the community in that environment. Therefore, norms are considered very important in society which serve as a basis for socializing between one individual and another.

Even though the rules contained in these norms are not standard, if they are conveyed properly then the community will understand these norms by themselves.

An example is when there are no written regulations that apply to a drug addict. Drug addicts in society will generally be shunned. Regarding these social sanctions, of course the government or certain parties do not formally write down the social sanctions that a drug addict will receive.

However, every member of society understands the social sanctions that a drug addict will receive. In accordance with this explanation, norms can also be referred to as a handbook, a guidebook for members of the public if there is an act that is deviant, wrong or arbitrary, it will also result in appropriate consequences.

5. Norms in society facilitate the creation of balance

Norms or regulations that exist in the community environment, will balance the interests of each individual in the community environment. This is because every layer of society, community members have different interests. For example, students, housewives, or third-party workers are members of society who have different interests.

Even though they are different, with the existence of norms, every community that has their respective interests, must be able to create a balance between fulfilling their needs, their interests and maintaining security and peace in life in a social environment.

6. Motivating individuals to fulfill their rights and obligations

The norms that apply in society can make every individual motivated to fulfill his rights and obligations with full responsibility.

This is because, every member of society who does not fulfill their rights or obligations will get a sanction. These sanctions will make them feel afraid to commit crimes, so that in any way they will try to fulfill their rights and obligations.

7. Maintain and protect the rights of every member of society

The reason the seven norms must exist in society is related to the previous reasons. Because the norms encourage community members to exercise their respective rights and obligations, every right owned by community members will be protected and maintained.

8. As a barrier 

Norms serve as a barrier between what members of society may and may not do. Thus, the norm must be present in society because it becomes an invisible barrier.

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Where, people will be more careful to decide what action they will take. Does the action have a negative impact that harms others? Or is it a positive impact, will the action have good or bad consequences.

Those are eight reasons why norms must exist in society.

Norm Function

After knowing the reasons why norms must exist in society, Sinaumed’s also needs to know what are the functions of norms?

Norms in society, of course, have several functions so that they are present and obeyed by every level of society. Here are some of its functions.

  • As a regulator of behavior, people’s attitudes are in accordance with the values ​​that apply and are mutually agreed upon.
  • Able to help achieve common goals that the community wants to achieve, such as having a safe, peaceful, peaceful environment and minimal conflict.
  • Creating order and justice in the community environment, so that every member of the community who lives in that environment will feel comfortable and safe.
  • Norms serve as a basis for imposing sanctions, consequences for members of society who violate the rules contained in norms.
  • Norms exist as a deterrent, so that there are no conflicts of interest between members of society with each other.
  • Norms serve as instructions, guidelines and guides that can be used by the community to lead a comfortable and safe life in the environment where they live.
  • Norms can be an encouragement for community members to more easily adapt to the community environment, in accordance with the values ​​that have been in effect.

Norm Features

Does the norm have any recognizable features? Of course, here are some of the characteristics of social norms that exist in society.

  • Norms apply in general and are not written.
  • Norms are the result of the agreement of every member of society.
  • The community becomes a supporter of the prevailing norms and is tasked with complying with these norms.
  • Members of society who violate the norms, then he will receive appropriate sanctions and punishments. Both social and legal sanctions.
  • The norms in society will adjust to the social changes that occur, so it can be said that the norms will experience some changes.
  • Norms are made consciously by every member of society.

Levels in Norms

Based on its level, norms can be divided into five, namely as follows.

1. Method or Usage

The norm of manner is a form of certain actions carried out by individuals in a community group and these actions are not carried out continuously. An example is the polite way of eating according to the norm, namely when eating silently.

2. Habits or Folkways

The norm of habit is a form of action that is carried out repeatedly with the same form of action and is carried out by someone consciously and has a clear purpose and is considered good and right to do.

An example of a customary norm is giving gifts to people who have achievements in an activity or have a certain position. Or wear nice and polite clothes when attending a party.

3. Code of conduct or Mores

The third type of norm is mores. Norms of code of conduct are a set of actions which can be a reflection of the nature of life for a group of people which are carried out consciously, with the aim of exercising control over a group of people over the members within it. In the mores norm, there is an element that forces as well as an element that prohibits certain actions.

The function of the mores norm is as a tool that can adjust the actions of members of the community in accordance with the rules of conduct that have been regulated and determined by the applicable norms. An example of mores is prohibiting acts of rape, murder and marrying siblings.

4. Customs or Custom

Custom norms are a collection of behavior rules that have the highest position. This is because customary norms have an eternal nature and are very strongly integrated with the people who have these customs.

Koentjaraningrat even mentioned that customs are part of an abstract culture or part of a value system. Violations committed by individuals related to custom are considered more serious than violations of other norms.

5. Law or Laws

The last type of norm is a legal norm that can regulate the social life of the community and originates from the legal code of law in force in Indonesia. The purpose of legal norms is to create environmental conditions in a country to be safe, orderly, peaceful, prosperous, prosperous and others.

That is an explanation of the reasons why norms must exist in society, along with their definitions and types.