is there any difference between social constructs and social norms? what would we call it when a society expects you to have a good job etc. or doing the same that is accepted to be the good by society.


The terms are definitely similar but I believe they mean different things.

A social norm is an expectation that a person will do something because everyone else does it, or often does it. These norms can vary based on family, friend group, work environment, country, continent, etc. For example, among one group it might be a social norm that families always eat dinner together every day, while other people might emphasize the breakfast meal. In some societies young people are expected to go to college (post-secondary education), while in other places they may not be expected to. In some cultures the word of an elder is highly respected and their authority may not be challenged, while in other cultures younger people speak their mind without restraint.

A social construct is a way of looking at the world that is not defined by the laws of nature or physics but by mutual agreement among people in a society. For example: time exists everywhere, and people on earth experience the passage of time in the same way, but time zones are a social construct. There is little inherent value in pieces of paper, but we say that paper money has great worth; that is a social construct. A person's external genitalia are (mostly!!) objective and physical, and a person's sex is (mostly but not always!!) closely related to their chromosomes and external genitalia, but gender is a social construct.

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    We can say that social norms include the habit of pretending that social constructs are real, but there are other norms besides. Mar 29 at 1:34

Norms are expectations for how people should act. Some sources define norms as being a type of social construct. Alternatively, some social constructs can be defined as being a collection of social norms (and maybe more than just that), such as the social construct of “gender” being composed of norms like “only women can be emotional” (at least in some cultures). Gender itself isn’t a behavior.

However, not all social constructs are social norms. For example, Europe and Asia being considered different continents is a social construct but it has nothing to do with social norms as it doesn’t set an expectation for how people act.


These really are different things. Social norms are the rules of a society while a social construct is an idea that is accepted by the society.

For example, the concept of money is a social construct while the acceptable use of money is the social norm.

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