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The purpose of this paper is to shed light on some of the unwritten, but strict, rules of social interaction in the United States. Ethnomethodology points out that everyday behavior rests on a number of assumptions. Harold Garfinkle noted a good way to investigate the assumptions we make about everyday reality is to break the rules. Your task is to think about some subtle social norm (not a law!) and then break it in public. For example, have a candlelight dinner at McDonald’s, offer to pay more than the listed price for an item at a store, or stand too close to someone in an uncrowded elevator.

First, describe the entire experience. Clearly identify the norm you will break and how you go about breaking it. Include details about the reactions of bystanders and the emotions you felt during the experience. Did people react the way you expected?

Second, analyze your experience. Explain how this experience demonstrates the importance of social norms. Be sure to incorporate concepts from class and clearly define key terms.

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