Social Standards - Referat

1. Present the real life situation and why I chose it
Restaurant scene from "When Harry Met Sally" – strictly speaking not a real life situation but could easily be --> almost every situation where someone feels even slightly embarrassed.

2. Briefly state the knowledge claim extracted from the RLS
“Embarrassment” is (a construct) determined by society’s standards
--> Construct because the feeling is never clearly defined – embarrassment depends on a lot and cannot be pinned to something clear
--> You cannot get a hold of it
Embarrassment is a feeling that is linked to a sense of not fitting in properly --> the fear of being judged for “abnormal” behaviour
Keyword „abnormal“: not only embarrassment should be considered but also what is „normal“ in general?

3. Explain the knowledge question and how the claim led to it
Which factors determine the standards of being “normal” or “accepted” by society?
- Seems obvious that certain standards determine our embarrassment
- “society” is a term much too broad, multifarious --> hard to define, since it is influenced by far too many factors
- A better question would be what influences the factors and not which factors exist  society factors are different for all of us
- Normal and accepted because we feel embarrassment when we are afraid that our actions don`t fit in  happens in relation to other people, it is a public emotion that makes you feel exposed, awkward, and filled with regret for whatever your wrongdoing happens to be
- likely evolved to maintain social order, since in being embarrassed people communicate to others that they recognize anrd regret their misbehaviour and will try to do better  it is natural/obvious to ask, where “social order” comes from – what it is would be the next step
- the fear of being judged for “abnormal” behaviour  the keyword abnormal shows us that this is what it’s all about: not only embarrassment but also about what is or is not okay
- hence no focus on embarrassment in my KQ but on general standards
- in the end it is all about being the brick in the wall

There are plenty of differences between people, but what determines which ones are upsetting to large numbers of them?

4. Explain the RLS, take it apart and analyse it
--> Two things seem to be wrong/embarrassing: his ignorance for women, fuckboy behaviour, only sleeping with them once &then leaving + her behaviour in the restaurant
That triggers our sense for:
Harry: behaviour towards women, loyalty + talking about it with Sally
Sally: exposed privacy, sexuality

5. State areas of knowledge and ways of knowing that apply to the question
- once we’ve found our own standards and rules we get angry at Harry for his behaviour towards these women;
- it’s generally attached to almost every action – it often guides what we do
- standards are taught to us very early – parents say “don’t do that,... “ ;
- we remember laws and rules, etc
- = immediate awareness of something
-  we sense that our parents (or whoever) are embarrassed by our actions and therefore change our behaviour
Human sciences – especially Psychology, Sociology:
- those try to find out why we feel and function the way we do;
- why society is important;
Natural Sciences:
- we used to believe xy, NS show us new truths – improve knowledge, broaden horizon
- thereby teach us new ways to behave

6. Combine points 4 & 5 to answer my knowledge question and find possible factors
- Traditional Values:
o Sex has always been a taboo topic and is only slowly getting more and more accepted
o “the
elderly” are very often anxious to keep old/their ways of living – they pressure younger generations to keep up with what they want/are used to
o The older people have an influence because we trust in experience! That gives them authority
o Fear of change: it is hard to dare to change something – because we fear the unknown and that our ideas might not be accepted
o Social Role-Norms: being a mother, father, daughter,…
- Religion:
o Intertwined with traditional values: we are born into one and then expected to act upon it
- History:
o For example: patriotism is a very common thing and used to be in Germany – the second world war changed that
o History changes our standards and influences them for a long time: “learning” from history
- Politics/Laws:
o The laws of our country and state,…
o Out of history
o and traditional value that yet have to change (for example many laws about everyone who’s nonbinary
o (Lobbyism could influence political decisions, thus influencing our standards)
- Subordinate rules/laws:
o Rules that apply to us in school, at our workplace,…
o Contractual rules: co-worker relationships are sometimes forbidden
o Intuitive rules: dresscode,…  determined by authorities, peer group, media,…
- Current scientific knowledge:
o Discrimination against black people used to be okay – before science showed that there are no significant differences between skin colours = no different races!
o (getting a well-known fact wrong would also be embarrassing)
- Fame:
o Famous persons have a strong influence on us: trendsetting,…
o Role models
o Example: Kylie Jenner expressed her displeasure about a new snapchat update – the stocks dropped 1.3 Billion in Value
- Media:
o Closely connected with fame: media often tells us which actions of famous persons are good/ judges them for misbehaving/embarrassments
o Biased reports – few people change the opinion of many
o Media is traditionally important to the common citizen and therefore important to “the rest”
o Often try’s to awake attention with headlines like “Why you should..:” “ten things you have to..”
- Peer Group/Family:
o We try to fit in
o Need for acceptance is a basic human instinct as old as our species  evolutionary, scientific background
o Therefore we try to adapt the behaviour of any “dominant” group
o Family is even more important because we hold it traditionally high  first and strongest group we have & identify with
- Social Context:
o Some things seem okay in front of someone who’s close but are not in front of someone who has authority

7. Conclusion
- We are under pressure to fit in by a broad spectrum of influencing factors
- Those are hard to distinguish from each other – fluid barriers
- Continuously changing
- Social background seems much stronger: first comes the need to fit in, then what makes us fit in
- It’s always just other people

8. State the limitation of my conclusion
- I could not possibly have found all factors
- Some are more or less based on experience and knowledge I had before – citation is hard at some points

9. Work cited
- Lewis, M. (2008). Self-conscious emotions: Embarrassment, pride, shame, and guilt. In M. Lewis & J. M. Haviland (Eds.), Handbook of emotions (pp. 742-756). New York: Guilford Press.

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