Tuesday 28 March 2017

Folkways | Definition, Examples and Effects of Its Violation on Society

Folkways | Definition, Examples and Effects of Its Violation on Society
Man’s action repeated by him is his habit; and a repeated behavior by a .group of people is a custom. More specifically, the socially approved ways of acting are the customs of the society. These customs develop during the way of our daily life and we conform to them consciously and unconsciously. Because they have become an important part of our behavior. These very customs when regularized by our repeated behavior, maintain a basic position in our life and are called “folkways and mores” by W.G. Sumner.

“Folkways” are the socially approved ways of behaving in a society. These are the ways of life of folk or the ways of life in a society which open unconsciously upon the people. The folkways are norms that arise during social interaction and are handed down from one generation to the next. They are simply the accumulated patterns of expected behaviors that have arisen to meet the recurrent Situation of social interaction. The most elementary pattern in social norms is the folkways.

The basic form of social control is folkways which paves out a sanctioned way for our life. While interacting with others We, mostly unconsciously, keep in view the generally accepted ways of interaction with others and follow the same patterns which, in terminology of our cultural language, are called Adab-e-Guftgu manners of conversation. As these folkways define our specific behavior for specific situation (according to the Cultural values) and the social situations differ in space and times. Therefore they vary from society to society and time to time.


Sumner holds “the folkways are not creation of human purpose and will. They are products of natural forces which men unconsciously set in operation.”
Glum and Gillin say that “Folkways are behavior patterns of everyday life which generally arise unconsciously in a group".
A. W. Green opines, “Those ways of acting that are common to a society or a group and that are handed down from one generation to the next are known as folkways.”
Lundberg has said that “Folkways are the typical or habitual beliefs, attitudes and styles of conduct observed within a group or community”.
Menu says that folkways “are literally the ways of the folk, that is, social habits or group expectations that have arisen in the daily life of the group”.

In simple words, ‘folkways’ can be understood as “repetitive petty acts of the people”.


Folkways are the rules of eating, drinking, meeting and departing, types of dressing, ceremonies and rituals for different situations, and the manners of life in institutional situations as family, school, market and mosque. In Sumner’s words, the folkways are “right ways” to meet various situations which can arise. The ways of behavior which the people think right for specific situations are the folkways. They are the “shoulds” of human behavior. Some examples of folkways from our Pakistani culture are given below:
Assalam-o-alaikum and responding wa-alakam-assalam; shaking hands and embracing while meeting: saying ‘Khuda Hafiz or Fi Amanulla’ while departing; men and women not to eat from the same dish at the same time to eat by sitting; a place Ot lower than the sitting place for respect; while smoking (huqqa)

the oldest to start first arid the younger to serve; ceremonies on marriage like, making the fun of bride and bridegroom; dancing and singing songs by women; decoration of houses and wearing fine clothes, exchange of dishes among intimates on festivals of Eids and other; respect for elders. Pir and Maulvi sahib, and for women; and others.

Violation of Folkways

On the violation of folkways the order of the society is not endangered and It does not create some serious problem. But frequent violation is not tolerated by the society. The people punish the violator by joking, laughing at, advising and taunting. These punishments1 how so minor, create control on general violation of folkways.

Folkways are informal norms hence their violation and the punishment on them is unwritten. Sumner said that they grow in society like self-grown grass. They vanish when they are not needed. It means unconsciously they appear and disappear in society. Police and other agencies of social control do not interfere in the violation of folkways.

Folkways are the guardians of minor social ways. When a folkway is violated it means a minor value is broken by the violator. All social norms are the guardians of our social and cultural values. For the defense of higher values the higher norms are fixed and for minor values the minor norms called folkways are appointed.

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