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formal sanction (formal social sanction)

Definition of Formal Sanction

(noun) A sanction that is officially recognized by an authority and enforced.

Example of Formal Sanction

Formal Sanction Pronunciation

Pronunciation Usage Guide

Syllabification: for·mal sanc·tion

Audio Pronunciation

– American English
– British English

International Phonetic Alphabet

  • American English – /ˈfɔrməl ˈsæŋkʃən/
  • British English – /ˈfɔːməl ˈsæŋkʃən/

Usage Notes

  • Plural: formal sanctions
  • The terms “formal sanction” and “formal social sanction” are used interchangeably in a sociological context.
  • Formal sanctions can be positive or negative.
  • Sociologists study four primary types of sanctions:

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Additional Information

Related Terms


Works Consulted

Andersen, Margaret L., and Howard Francis Taylor. 2011. Sociology: The Essentials. 6th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Brym, Robert J., and John Lie. 2007. Sociology: Your Compass for a New World. 3rd ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Ferrante, Joan. 2011a. Seeing Sociology: An Introduction. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Ferrante, Joan. 2011b. Sociology: A Global Perspective. 7th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Griffiths, Heather, Nathan Keirns, Eric Strayer, Susan Cody-Rydzewski, Gail Scaramuzzo, Tommy Sadler, Sally Vyain, Jeff Bry, Faye Jones. 2016. Introduction to Sociology 2e. Houston, TX: OpenStax.

Oxford University Press. (N.d.) Oxford Dictionaries. (https://www.oxforddictionaries.com/).

Shepard, Jon M. 2010. Sociology. 11th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Shepard, Jon M., and Robert W. Greene. 2003. Sociology and You. New York: Glencoe.

Tischler, Henry L. 2011. Introduction to Sociology. 10th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wiktionary, The Free Dictionary. Wikimedia Foundation. (http://en.wiktionary.org).

Cite the Definition of Formal Sanction

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “formal sanction.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved November 22, 2019 (https://sociologydictionary.org/formal-sanction/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

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

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

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “formal sanction.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed November 22, 2019. https://sociologydictionary.org/formal-sanction/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“formal sanction.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 22 Nov. 2019. <https://sociologydictionary.org/formal-sanction/>.