Normalization (sociology)

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Normalization refers to social processes through which ideas and actions come to be seen as 'normal' and become taken-for-granted or 'natural' in everyday life. In sociological theory, normalization appears in two forms.

First, the concept of normalization is found in the work of Michel Foucault, especially Discipline and Punish, in the context of his account of disciplinary power. As Foucault used the term, normalization involved the construction of an idealized norm of conduct – for example, the way a proper soldier ideally should stand, march, present arms, and so on, as defined in minute detail – and then rewarding or punishing individuals for conforming to or deviating from this ideal.[1][2] In Foucault's account, normalization was one of an ensemble of tactics for exerting the maximum social control with the minimum expenditure of force, which Foucault calls "disciplinary power". Disciplinary power emerged over the course of the 19th century, came to be used extensively in military barracks, hospitals, asylums, schools, factories, offices, and so on, and hence became a crucial aspect of social structure in modern societies.

Second, normalization process theory[3] is a middle-range theory used mainly in medical sociology and science and technology studies to provide a framework for understanding the social processes by which new ways of thinking, working and organizing become routinely incorporated in everyday work. Normalization process theory has its roots in empirical studies of technological innovation in healthcare, and especially in the evaluation of complex interventions.

There are different behavioral attitudes humans accept as normal, such as grief of a loved one, avoiding danger, and not participating in cannibalism.[4]

Influences of behavior[edit]

The world is constantly changing and many things can change the situation you are in. Many influences such as past experiences, environment, mental strength, physical strength, people, and the media. People are constantly influenced everyday by the things in your head and what's happening around you. Letting certain things influence you is based on the person's decision. This will determine if the person is able to make a decision rationally or not. Some people fail to see the effects of their actions after letting influences affect their actions.[5]

Mood and emotions[edit]

The person can greatly be affected by the person's mood. The judgement and emotional well-being is caused by how your mood is at the moment. A negative mood can cause someone to be unproductive and it will show in the person's performance. Positive moods can make a person be more active and productive. Emotions are affected by hormones and nerves. If the person is great emotion wise they are full of energy and are able to stay positive.[6]

Child development[edit]

Children are known for developing behaviors based on family, friends and media influences. It's the parent's job to teach the child whether it is socially accepted or not. As the child develops from a child to a young adult most of their influence will come from their friends. It will become harder for parents to tell how the child behaves as the child grows older. A child may not know what he was doing is right or wrong. They must be able to learn from experiences if their actions or right or wrong.[7]

Role models[edit]

Young adults and teenagers are heavily affected by looking up to role models. Young adults are influenced to act, talk, dress and behave similarly to their role models. This can either be a positive or negative for the individual.[8] Looking up to a role model has positive effects as it influences young adults to strive for success and it brings the best out of the person to do well. Role models that are positives are people able to overcome obstacles, inspire others, and achievements of success. Though there are other role models that might be able to influence young adults to doing bad behaviors like bullying, drug usage, and cheating. These behaviors are able to lead them to failure rather than success. They usually do these to avoid outcomes rather than overcoming them.[9] The problems with blindly copying a role model is that people start to lose a sense of identity.

Types of normal behavior[edit]


Grief is the deep sorrow usually caused by someone's death. It has now become a normal human reaction to a loss of a loved one. It is definitely not uncommon for someone to be in sadness. Many have to deal with coping with grief it is often they use coping mechanisms to get over the deep sorrow.[10]

Body markings[edit]

Body marking such as tattoos and piercings were once considered unaccepted, but the majority of the population today use body markings as a form of expression. It isn't uncommon to see doctors, lawyers, and other professions to have them. It has become a norm such that even males are using tattoos and piercings.[11]


During the 1900s homosexuality was not accepted as a normal behavior and people attracted to the same gender were considered different and were discriminated heavily. Over the years it has now been accepted in places such as the United States, Canada and other places around the world.[12]


Laughing signals a sign of acceptance in a group and shows a sign of trust in a group. This is often why laughter is contagious, but this explains why people are unlikely to laugh alone.[13]

Types of abnormal behavior[edit]

Abnormal behavior is broken up to two types known as atypical and maladaptive. Atypical behavior is not necessarily harmful, but maladaptive behavior could potentially be harmful.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Foucault, Michel, 1990. The History of Sexuality, Volume I: An Introduction. Robert Hurley, trans. New York: Vintage.
  2. ^ Adams, Mary Louise, 2004. "The Trouble with Normal: Postwar Youth and the Making of Heterosexuality". In Michelle Webber and Kate Bezanson, eds., Rethinking Society in the 21st Century: Critical Readings in Sociology. Canadian Scholars' Press Inc.
  3. ^ May C, Mair FS, Finch T, MacFarlane A, Dowrick C, Treweek S, et al. Development of a theory of implementation and integration: Normalization Process Theory. Implementation Science. 2009;4 art 29
  4. ^ Horwitz, Allan. What's Normal?: Reconciling Biology and Culture. p. 197. 
  5. ^ Milford, Scott (2011-08-21). "9 Sources of Influence in Your Life". Behavior and Motivation. Retrieved 2016-12-02. 
  6. ^ Boundless (2016-05-26). "How Emotion and Mood Influence Behavior". Boundless. 
  7. ^ "Normal Child Behavior & Development". Our Everyday Life. Retrieved 2016-12-02. 
  8. ^ "What are the factors that affect human behavior?". Reference. Retrieved 2016-12-02. 
  9. ^ "How Role Models Influence Youth Strategies for Success". Roots of Action. 2014-01-14. Retrieved 2016-12-02. 
  10. ^ Friedman, Russell. "The Best Grief Definition You Will Find". Retrieved 2016-12-08. 
  11. ^ "body-marking facts, information, pictures | articles about body-marking". Retrieved 2016-12-08. 
  12. ^ "Americans Move Dramatically Toward Acceptance of Homosexuality |". Retrieved 2016-12-08. 
  13. ^ "10 Common Human Behaviors Explained With Science". Listverse. 2013-07-11. Retrieved 2016-12-08. 
  14. ^ "What are the different types of abnormal behaviour?". Reference. Retrieved 2016-12-08.