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Conformity- Custom- Tradition-Convention


Conformity consists of model attitudes and behaviour which often defined as the strict expectations of society. It also represents society and the cornerstones of its common values. In connection with social structure, this system of common values constitutes the basis of a special law or any code within that legal system.

It is able to designate relations, behaviour, attitudes and manners between individuals, individuals and the family, individuals and neighbours or relatives and relations between individuals, people and the nation.

With its coercive sanctions, conformity continually pressurizes every individual in a society to provide some kind of harmony between the individual and the community.

In some societies, refusing to conform is regarded in the same way as violating laws, and can sometimes be punished even more severely.


Like conformity, customs also arrange, manage and supervise many social relations. Customs have an influence on society, encouraging good order and affecting the application of rules. For example, greetings and farewells, meals and table settings, celebrations and blessings, asking a family for their daughter’s hand in marriage, engagement ceremonies and weddings, relations between the sexes, peer groups and professional colleagues, rules to be applied during greeting and inquiring after someone's health, attitudes connected with religious festivals, seasons and other important days, appropriate things to say in expressing and accepting condolences are all evaluated within the framework of customs.

Customs originate and take shape from various origins, some of which may be the way of life in the past, a range of visions, interesting coincidences and events. Beyond customs, which comprise society as a whole, there are also customs which concern a specific group such as professions, religious denominations or ethnic groups. Some religious leaders and association managers have deliberately or otherwise attempted to change a custom into a tradition. Although some customs are quite stable and continual, others may change with time. Still other customs protect their natures with small changes to reflect changing conditions, some others lose their vitality and energy, and disappear like living organism.


Broadly defined, tradition is knowledge, concepts, superstitions and way of life, which can pass from one generation to another. In other words, tradition is non-material culture. According to a narrower definition, it is a society's opinions, valid for generations, on important subjects such as sacred or political issues. Traditions can be oral or written. Like customs but in a stronger way, they play an important role in managing and shaping social life. With their conservative character, traditions influence social institutions such as the family, law, religion and politics. Arts and science are less affected by traditions. When a person goes against his community or society's traditions, he will face sanctions in proportion to the degree of that resistance. This punishment may be ostracism, offence, being scorned or ridiculed. Just as with customs, there are laws originating from traditions. Laws are intended to establish appropriate sentences for violation of traditions. In general, traditions govern a wider area than legal codes.


Compared to conformity, custom and tradition, conventions have less sanctionary influence. Something should be done in conformity, had better be done in custom and tradition and may be done in convention. Briefly, it means to do something in a way which earlier generations also followed. Although it indicates appropriate and necessary behaviour, it does not compel people to comply with these attitudes. Conventions are potential traditions, and may be innovated by changes in the structure of the community or society. Convention may survive or disappear over the time. They play a characteristic role in arranging relations in daily life, in reducing misunderstandings between individuals and in facilitating social relations among members of a group. They help relations to continue smoothly by determining how to behave when visiting neighbors or sick people, getting acquainted with someone or when traveling in a group.