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Definition of Conformity

(noun) Adherence to accepted behaviors, norms, standards, and values; acting as expected; maintaining the status quo.

Examples of Conformity

  • Facing the door while riding in an elevator.
  • Following the law.
  • People who wear clothes while attending university.

Conformity Pronunciation

Pronunciation Usage Guide

Syllabification: con·form·i·ty

Audio Pronunciation

– American English
– British English

Phonetic Spelling

  • American English – /kuhn-fOR-muh-tee/
  • British English – /kuhn-fAWm-i-tee/

International Phonetic Alphabet

  • American English – /kənˈfɔrməti/
  • British English – /kənˈfɔːmɪti/

Usage Notes

  • Plural: conformities
  • Conformity is contrasted to deviance.
  • Also called:
    • conformance
    • conformation
    • conformism
  • A (noun) conformist (verb) conforms to conformity.

Related Quotations

  • “Examples of positive sanctions include praise, honors, or medals for conformity to specific norms” (Kendall 2006:56).
  • “The capitalistic economy of the present day is an immense cosmos into which the individual is born, and which presents itself to him, at least as an individual, as an unalterable order of things in which he must live. It forces the individual, in so far as he is involved in the system of market relationships, to conform to capitalistic rules of action. The manufacturer who, in the long run, acts contrary to these norms, will just as inevitably be eliminated from the economic scene as the worker who cannot or will not adapt himself to them will be thrown into the streets without a job” (Weber [1904–5] 1930:19–20).
  • “[T]he essential aspect of social structure lies in a system of patterned expectations defining the proper behavior of persons playing certain roles, enforced both by the incumbents’ own positive motives for conformity and by the sanctions of others. Such systems of patterned expectations, seen in the perspective of their place in a total social system and sufficiently thoroughly established in action to be taken for granted as legitimate, are conveniently called ‘institutions‘. The fundamental, structurally stable element of social systems then, which, according to the present argument, must play a crucial role in their theoretical analysis, is their structure of institutional patterns defining the roles of their constituent actors” (Parsons 1954:231).

Related Videos

Additional Information

Related Terms


Kendall, Diana. 2006. Sociology in Our Times: The Essentials. 5th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Parsons, Talcott. 1954. “The Present Position and Prospects of Systematic Theory in Sociology” in Essays in Sociological Theory. Rev. ed. Glencoe, Illinois: Free Press.

Note: Read for free at the Open Library.

Weber, Max. [1904–5] 1930. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. Translated by T. Parsons. London: Allen and Unwin.

Note: Page number is from a reprinted edition, Routledge Classics (2001).

Works Consulted

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Kendall, Diana. 2011. Sociology in Our Times. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

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Cite the Definition of Conformity

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “conformity.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved July 18, 2024 (https://sociologydictionary.org/conformity/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

conformity. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/conformity/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “conformity.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed July 18, 2024. https://sociologydictionary.org/conformity/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“conformity.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 18 Jul. 2024. <https://sociologydictionary.org/conformity/>.