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Social Norms: Internalization, Persuasion, and History

Amitai Etzioni
Law & Society Review
Vol. 34, No. 1 (2000), pp. 157-178
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Law and Society Association
DOI: 10.2307/3115119
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3115119
Page Count: 22
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Social Norms: Internalization, Persuasion, and History
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Abstract

At issue in the debate over social norms are different conceptions of human nature and the social order, of the ways people behave, and of the ways the law can both modify and be modified by social conduct. Three interpretive frameworks to the discussion of social norms are discussed: (a) whether social norms affect individual behavior merely as environmental/external factors or whether they also shape people's intrinsic predispositions; (b) the specific process by which norms influence people (i.e., whether preferences are considered predetermined or assumed to be modifiable as a result of internalization and persuasion); and (c) the ways social norms themselves are formed (whether merely via rational choice or also through historical transmissions). It is concluded that the discussion of social norms within a legal context is enriched by considering a "law and socio-economics" model, which combines the law and economics and law and society perspectives into a single discipline.

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