(noun) Socially approved norms or standards of moral and ethical behavior.
Example: In some societies, premarital sex, incest, desecration of religious symbols, and murder.
Audio Pronunciation: (mo·res)
Download Audio Pronunciation: mores.mp3
- Term coined (along with ethnocentrism, folkways, in-group, and out-group) by William Graham Sumner (1840-1910) in Folkways: A Study of the Sociological Importance of Usages, Manners, Customs, Mores, and Morals.
- Mores are moral standards that determine right and wrong; they are not social standards or folkways and the repercussions for breaking mores can be severe such as legal sanctions or even death.
- Mores change depending on the culture, group, or society and are the basis of some laws.
- Almost exclusively found in the plural form, the singular form is mos.
- Also called:
- “Since mores . . . are based on cultural values and considered to be crucial to the well-being of the group, violators are subject to more severe negative sanctions (such as ridicule, loss of employment, or imprisonment) than are those that fail to adhere to folkways. The strongest mores are referred to as taboos.” (Kendall 2006:56).
Gibbs, Jack P. 1965. “Norms: The Problem of Definition and Classification.” American Journal of Sociology 70 (5):586–94.
- Parsons, Talcott. 1951. The Social System. New York: The Free Press.
- Therborn, Goran. 2002. “Back to Norms! On the Scope and Dynamics of Norms and Normative Action.” Current Sociology. 50 (6): 863-880.
Kendall, Diane. 2006. Sociology in Our Times: The Essentials. 5th ed. Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth.