Conformity

Reflection Paper #1

SOC 101, Glenn Booker, 10/12/12

 

The text identifies three different types of conformity:  compliance, identification, and internalization.  Describe some moments when you’ve exhibited each type of conformity.

 

Compliance is the mildest form of conformity.  It shows that you comply with the group or norm, but have no other connection to it beyond hoping for some reward or avoiding some punishment.  I comply with laws while driving even though I know it isn’t needed at the moment for safety’s sake.  I comply with social norms regarding clothing even though I find it unnecessary for comfort or hygiene standards at times.  I comply with the social standards for classroom behavior, even though I might get more out of the class if I were more selfish than that.  My goal in all three examples is to avoid punishment for failing to comply with social norms and laws.

Identification is the next level of conformity.  It indicates a stronger connection to the person or group conformed with, in order to establish a relationship with them.  I identify with my tennis league, because after three seasons of playing with them I have light relationships with several of the members, and I enjoy the shared sport.  As part of my identification with the group, I help recruit new members, brag about the group to other friends, and participate in league social activities which don’t involve playing the game.  I also identify with Women’s Way, a regional organization to funnel female-focused charity donations.  I openly support Women’s Way events and auctions, have included them in my estate planning, and represent them and their interests in feminist events outside of the Delaware Valley.

Internalization is the strongest form of conformity.  It occurs when you adopt the beliefs of the group and make them your own.  I have internalized my identity as a dancer, for example.  I strongly support and promote local dance organizations (the Pennsylvania Ballet and BalletX in particular), I dance regularly to embody the art form, and the expression of myself through dance is now a fundamental part of my identity.  I have also internalized Wicca.  Now a part of my life for over 25 years, the core beliefs and values of Wicca are an essential part of who I am and how I see the world.  This example is a form of internalization that doesn’t have strong external signs; most of it is simply my view of the world and the divine, and my connection to nature.

 

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