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The Enforcement of Norms: Group Cohesion and Meta-Norms

Christine Horne
Social Psychology Quarterly
Vol. 64, No. 3 (Sep., 2001), pp. 253-266
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3090115
Page Count: 14
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The Enforcement of Norms: Group Cohesion and Meta-Norms
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Abstract

Group cohesion is generally thought to contribute to social order. One explanation for this correlation suggests that it can be attributed to higher rates of sanctioning found in solidary communities. In the present paper I suggest a mechanism that may be at least partially responsible for the relationship between group cohesion and sanctioning. I argue that ties among potential sanctioners and other nondeviant group members are key. The strength of these relationships affects the level of support that group members give to those who punish antisocial behavior, and in turn, influences the likelihood that such sanctioning will occur. Thus group cohesion affects punishment indirectly by increasing the rewards that are given to sanctioners. This increase in rewards then affects sanctioning decisions. I test these predictions using experimental methods. The results support the hypotheses.

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