(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).
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How to Cite the Definition of Folkway
ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “folkway.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved May 20, 2019 (http://sociologydictionary.org/folkway/).
APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)
folkway. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from http://sociologydictionary.org/folkway/
Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “folkway.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed May 20, 2019. http://sociologydictionary.org/folkway/.
MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)
“folkway.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 20 May. 2019. <http://sociologydictionary.org/folkway/>.