Norms and Social Definitions

  • Barry A. Turner
Part of the New Perspectives in Sociology book series


On a first examination, it would appear that physical and technical phenomena are defined according to categories which emerge directly from those phenomena; but it was suggested in Chapter 4 that this conclusion is a superficial one. The ‘product’ of an industrial organisation, for example, would seem to be something which is clearly and unambiguously established by the physical facts of the situation. But any attempt to define a product in a specific instance runs into a series of difficulties, amongst them the problem that different groups in the organisation may define the product of the organisation differently. Consequently it becomes clear that even an investigation of physical or technical phenomena is carried out by reference to terms which are socially defined. The fact that different social groups define these terms differently shows that the definitions used are susceptible to influence by social factors.


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Copyright information

© Barry A. Turner 1971

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barry A. Turner
    • 1
  1. 1.University of ExeterUK

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