# 3.2G: Values

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Cultures have values that are largely shared by their members, which identify what should be judged as good or evil.

Learning Objectives

• Contrast values and norms

## Key Points

• The values of a society can often be identified by noting which people receive honor or respect.
• Values are related to the norms of a culture, but they are more global and abstract than norms.
• Norms are rules for behavior in specific situations, while values identify what should be judged as good or evil.
• Members take part in a culture even if each member’s personal values do not entirely agree with some of the normative values sanctioned in the culture.
• Values clarification is helping people clarify what their lives are for and what is worth working for.
• Cognitive moral education is based on the belief that students should learn to value things like democracy and justice as their moral reasoning develops.

## Key Terms

• norm: A rule that is enforced by members of a community.
• culture: The beliefs, values, behavior, and material objects that constitute a people’s way of life.
• subculture: A portion of a culture distinguished from the larger society around it by its customs or other features.

Values can be defined as broad preferences concerning appropriate courses of action or outcomes. Values reflect a person’s sense of right and wrong, or what “ought” to be. Some examples of values are the concepts of “equal rights for all,” “excellence deserves admiration,” and “people should be treated with respect and dignity. ” Values tend to influence attitudes and behavior.

Cultures have values that are largely shared by their members. Different cultures reflect different values. Noting which people receive honor or respect can provide clues to the values of a society. In the US, for example, some professional athletes are honored (in the form of monetary payment) more than college professors.

Values are related to the norms of a culture, but they are more global and abstract than norms. Norms are rules for behavior in specific situations, while values identify what should be judged as good or evil. Flying the national flag on a holiday is a norm, but it reflects the value of patriotism. Wearing dark clothing and appearing solemn are normative behaviors at a funeral; in certain cultures, this reflects the values of respect for and support of friends and family. Different cultures reflect different values.

Members take part in a culture even if each member’s personal values do not entirely agree with some of the normative values sanctioned in the culture. This reflects an individual’s ability to synthesize and extract aspects valuable to them from the multiple subcultures to which they belong. If a group member expresses a value that is in serious conflict with the group’s norms, the group’s authority may encourage conformity or stigmatize the non-conforming behavior of its members.

3.2G: Values is shared under a CC BY-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.