There are norms that are specific to every social structure. The situation of normless-ness may arise when there is a break down of regulatory norms in which the social structure begins to exert pressure upon certain people in society who engage in non conforming conduct rather than conforming conduct.
There can be many dominant success goals such as wealth, being educated, being thin, which may clash with institutional norms (such as fast food restaurants), so that cultural values can help produce behaviour, which is at odds with the values themselves. This results in the breakdown of the societal norms and the development of normless-ness. So for example, there might be great emphasis culturally on being thin as a success symbol without a corresponding emphasis of eating healthily in order to achieve the goal.
Individuals adapt to achieve culturally described goals as success, which derives from strains in the social system. Conformity is not about focussing on conforming. You can find out the basic stresses of society by directing attention to deviant behaviours, such as obesity.
Next, people abandon or scale down their aspirations, avoiding high ambitions and consequent frustrations to play it safe by following institutional norms, institutional norms have become that of fast food restaurants and frozen dinners. Rebellion is another form of adaptation in which people turn away from the conventional social structure, establishing a new modified social structure creating non-conformity.
A non-conformist announces their decent from cultural norms publicly, challenging the legitimacy of social norms. Non-conformists tries to change the norms and draws upon the ultimate basic values of society to achieve their goal. If the societal norm is to be banned, (like eating healthy and being thin), the non-conformist will be the prelude to social change that may bring a system closer to the values that enjoy the respect of members of society (Supersize Me).
Another form of adaptation is retreat-ism where the individual finds themselves frustrated and handicapped and fairs to adopt an escape mechanism, which is defeatism. This form of adaptation is particularly condemned by society because it is non-productive and non-striving. These adaptations are largely private and isolated. Retreat-ism is represented by the extremely obese, where people are stuck at home, no longer able to engage in society.
The reason why it is socially unacceptable, when we see someone that has become extremely obese is because we define or associate the extreme obesity with deviant behaviour and social- disorganization. Because the social problem reflects violation of normalist expectations, behaviour or situations that departs from the societal ‘norms’ are deviant. The cause of deviant behaviour lies in inappropriate socialization.
Inappropriate socialization is when the learning of deviant ways is not out-weighed by the learning of non-deviant ways. When we restrict the opportunity for learning non-deviant ways and we increase the opportunity for learning deviant ways, we restrict opportunities for achieving goals and then we add in stress, this creates the condition for the evolution of deviant patterns of behaviour.
Many kinds of deviant behaviour is costly to society. Obesity is costly to society. However, some observable deviant behaviour is useful to society, only because it establishes negative role models, showing what kinds of behaviour is punished.
The solution is to re-socialize and the best way to re-socialize is to increase meaningful patterns of behaviour and the opportunity of social structures to be reviewed in order to alleviate the things that motivate people to behave in unacceptable ways.
As legitimate opportunities increase of learning about food, learning about emotions, learning how to eat in a healthy manner, then the socially problematic behaviour of obesity will decrease societally.
On the quest to lose 50 pounds in a year. Can she do it? Only time will tell....with the help of this blog.