Norms in the Wild: How to Diagnose, Measure, and Change Social Norms

Norms in the Wild: How to Diagnose, Measure, and Change Social Norms

by Cristina Bicchieri

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Norms in the Wild: How to Diagnose, Measure, and Change Social Norms by Cristina Bicchieri

The philosopher Cristina Bicchieri here develops her theory of social norms, most recently explained in her 2006 volume The Grammar of Society. Bicchieri challenges many of the fundamental assumptions of the social sciences. She argues that when it comes to human behavior, social scientists place too much stress on rational deliberation. In fact, many choices occur without much deliberation at all. Bicchieri's theory accounts for these automatic components of behavior, where individuals react automatically to cues—those cues often pointing to the social norms that govern our choices in a social world

Bicchieri's work has broad implications not only for understanding human behavior, but for changing it for better outcomes. People have a strong conditional preference for following social norms, but that also means manipulating those norms (and the underlying social expectations) can produce beneficial behavioral changes. Bicchieri's recent work with UNICEF has explored the applicability of her views to issues of human rights and well-being. Is it possible to change social expectations around forced marriage, genital mutilations, and public health practices like vaccinations and sanitation? If so, how? What tools might we use? This short book explores how social norms work, and how changing them—changing preferences, beliefs, and especially social expectations—can potentially improve lives all around the world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780190622053
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 12/29/2016
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 264
Sales rank: 641,771
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Cristina Bicchieri is S.J.P. Harvie Professor of Social Thought and Comparative Ethics in the Departments of Philosophy and Psychology Departments, and director of the Philosophy, Politics and Economics program, the University of Pennsylvania.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Diagnosing norms
Chapter 2: Measuring norms: consensus and conformity
Chapter 3: Norm change
Chapter 4: Tools for change
Chapter 5: Trendsetters


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