(noun) Socially approved and traditional norms or standards of everyday behavior.
Example: In the United States, covering your mouth when you cough, not eating certain animals like dogs or cats, or dressing a certain way depending on the event such as wearing black to a funeral.
Audio Pronunciation: (folk·way)
Download Audio Pronunciation: folkway.mp3
- Plural: folkways
- Term coined (along with ethnocentrism, in-group, mores, and out-group) by William Graham Sumner (1840-1910) in Folkways: A Study of the Sociological Importance of Usages, Manners, Customs, Mores, and Morals.
- Folkways are social standards, not moral standards or mores and the repercussions for breaking a folkway are minimal or nonexistent.
- Folkways change depending on the culture, group, or society.
- Also called:
- Informally called:
- unwritten law
- unwritten rule
- “Often, folkways are not enforced; when they are enforced, the resulting sanctions tend to be informal and relatively mild” (Kendall 2006:57).
- Reynolds, Larry T., and Janice Reynolds. 1970. The Sociology of Sociology: Analysis and Criticism of the Thought, Research and Ethical Folkways of Sociology and Its Practitioners. New York: David McKay Company.
Kendall, Diane. 2006. Sociology in Our Times: The Essentials. 5th ed. Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth.