Sanctioning norm violations in ethnically plural societies

Project period/status

ongoing pilot study, proposal in preparation

Project staff

Dr. Jan-Philip Steinmann (Project Manager)

Leonie Dreißigacker

Antonia Hock (Research Assistant)

Project description

The aim is to answer the question of how and under what conditions ethnic asymmetries emerge in the enforcement of social norms. The focus is on the sanctioning of norm violations, i.e., a set of reactions (e.g., words, gestures, looks) with which people express their disapproval of others who transgress a norm. Previous empirical evidence clearly demonstrates ethnic asymmetries in the enforcement of social norms: Majority members are particularly active in sanctioning norm violations, and minority members are more likely to be the target of sanctioning (regardless of the identity of those who react to norm violation). However, two gaps in previous research need to be addressed. First, knowledge about the motives of (non)sanctioners is limited, and second, little is known about contextual influences (both macro- and micro-contexts). The aim is therefore to link behavioral and attitudinal data (i.e., a combination of experimental and survey research) and to situate experiments in different contexts.

In the summer semester 2023 and winter semester 2023/2024, a pilot study will take place at the University of Göttingen to prepare the actual project.