informal sanction (informal social sanction)

(noun) A sanction that is not enforced or punished by an authority but that occurs in everyday interactions with other people.

Example: When one patron asks another patron to lower their voice in a movie theater.

Audio Pronunciation: (in·for·mal sanc·tion)

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Usage Notes:

  • Plural: informal sanctions
  • The terms informal sanction and informal social sanction are used interchangeably in a sociological context.
  • Sociologists study four primary types of sanctions: formal sanctions,  informal sanctions, negative sanctions, and positive sanctions.

Related Quotations:

  • Informal sanctions are not clearly defined and can be applied by any member of a group (such as frowning at someone or making a a negative comment or gesture” (Kendall 2006:56).

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