Moving from Primary to Secondary Groups
Think back to when you started college (or something comparable). Look for examples of things that you "discovered" can be done differently from how you are used to. In your family, say, you took for granted that it was OK to have cereal after dinner. When you first roommate saw you doing this, she thought you were weird. Or you always went to church on Sunday but then you got to school and discovered this made you an oddball.
Read these Wikipedia entries: Convention_(norm), Folkways, Mores
Exercise 1. For now, don't worry about conceptual distinctions between these. Over the weekend, do problem set #1 which instructs you to interview a few folks new to Mills to identify some norm or convention or more peculiar to the Mills community that this person got introduced to this week. To be a good one it should be something that this person really can describe being at least moderately surprised about. Best examples are ones where the way something is done here was a real eye-opener — the person didn't even know there were ways other than s/he was used to. Then you will write up this person's experience. Then you will interview five other people about this topic asking them what their understanding of the Mills rule or practice is. Be careful not to spill the beans — you are trying to use them as an informant about an unfamiliar culture. This means you have to put on a pair of "unfamiliarity glasses" — not easy because, of course, you are in fact wise to this culture.
from primary to secondary groups
page revision: 2, last edited: 17 Jan 2012 17:52