Mechanisms of Normative Change
Why is it that some norms are unexpectedly stable up to a tipping point, like homophobia in football, but change rapidly once they start to do so? And what stabilizes revenge norms even after effective legal orders have been established? Apparently, social and legal norms are not made for eternity. At any point in time, old norms erode and new norms emerge. Yet, normative change is often eruptive. And norms can be sticky, even if they almost completely lack societal support. The sociological rational choice literature on social norms has for a long time treated social norms as a static concept. The very idea of social norms as equilibria in a game-theoretical sense makes this conception the core of social norms. In contrast, this session aims at the understanding of the fundamental mechanisms of normative change.
The session aims to address the following kind of questions: Why and how do social norms change? How are unpopular social norms maintained? Or, What are the effects of norm content conflict in a population? We are particularly interested in the close integration of theoretical reasoning and empirical research. We therefore welcome rigorous theoretical or simulation contributions, e.g., game theoretical approaches, or dynamic and evolutionary models. We also welcome contributions that apply laboratory experiments, field experiments, online experiments, as well as other empirical approaches such as big data.