Learning Goal: I’m working on a sociology writing question and need support to help me learn.
Breaching Assignment: In sociology, a breaching experiment is an experiment that seeks to examine people’s reactions to violations of commonly accepted social rules or norms. The original experiment was developed by sociologist Harold Garfinkel as a planned and deliberate break of a commonly accepted social norm. The researcher or the student, after performing the break, observes and records the reactions of the people who witnessed the break. The reaction to the breach is the crucial point of the experiment. If a breach is done correctly and the social norm is compromised, the reaction that people exhibit is the mechanism by which they try to make sense of the odd behavior or how they combat the behavior. Lighthearted breaches can induce laughter, confusion, and curiosity. More serious breaches can actually cause anxiety and anger. It is important to not confuse breaching experiments with crimes. Although they both work under the concept of breaking social norms, proper breaches are harmless and generally good-natured. They are commonly aimed at etiquette norms concerning how one should act in public. Rule of thumb, don’t do anything stupid.
For this assignment, you will perform a breaching experiment or set of breaching experiments. Normally, you would be able to go out in public and perform your breaches if you were so inclined. However, given the current situation and the need for social distancing, please conduct breaches that you can do with people in your own home or apartment. If you live alone, let me know and we can come up with an alternative option together. You will need to pay careful attention to how people act and react to your experiments. You will then write a 2.5 to 3 page double-spaced (11 or 12 point font) paper explaining what you did—what was the breach, when did you do it, where did you do it, and who was involved (friends, roommates, family); how it violates a social norm or norms; and what were the reactions you received. You will then critically analyze and describe why you think people reacted the way they did based on the readings and lectures and incorporating terms and concepts covered to connect to course material.