Therefore, it is problematic for those who are deeply embedded in a culture to accept or even acknowledge the deviance of some people as a tolerable phenomenon in their own personal reality. This can, in some cases, lead to violence caused by offensive norm violations. Typically, violence only occurs when the norm violation is one that goes against the ethical or legal mores of one particular culture.
In experimenting with cultural norms and deviance, it is important to recognize this barrier between the acceptable and the unacceptable, particularly in reference to one’s own safety.
To that end, in my tests of cultural norms, I decided to focus on folkways, which are otherwise known as “customs” or “conventions.” These are the amoral standards of behavior that are socially approved. Even though they have no substantive moral content, these standards are still seemingly enforced within a culture. In mainstream American culture, a particularly interesting one is a sense of space. Proxemics is the study of measurable distances between people when they interact with each other. Strangers typically occupy a relatively large distance away from each other when given the choice. However, I decided to violate this space convention by sitting unnecessarily close to someone at the computer lab at the public library and, then again, in a Mosque where the sense of space is presumably different because of a sense of community culture among congregation members.
The essential difference between a public library and a Mosque consists in the social variables of the environment. A public library is something that exists in the public sphere and thus is open to everyone. But despite being open to everyone, individuals still stake their claim in an individual space, such as at a desktop computer in the computer lab.