Social Observation Introduction to Sociology 190 Section D097 03/05/2012 Social Observation For my social observation project I’ve chosen to study life at Don Carter lanes located here in the city of Rockford. The main focus of my study is to observer the social norms as defined in Sociology: a brief introduction, by Richard T. Schaefer, a norm is “an established standard of behavior maintained by a society. ” I’ll also be observing the informal norms as well.

Informal norm is “a norm that is generally understood but not precisely recorded. ” I’ll be studying the interactions people have with one another while having fun and enjoyment at Don Carter lanes. It’s a cold Sunday afternoon the atmosphere inside the bowling alley was filled with laughter, people of all ages engaging in conversation, sounds of coins dropping in video games, NASCAR racing on the video monitors, bowling balls thudding against the floor, and pins being slammed to the side walls of the alley cavity.

The aroma of pizza, onion rings, and fries become stronger as walk down the aisle to find a place for my observation. On lanes 6 and 7 there are seven Latino teenage boys about to start bowling ages 10 – 15 years in age, they are communicating in the Spanish language. Language is “an abstract system of word meanings and symbols for all aspects of culture. ” There are four teens dressed in urban style clothing, jeans sagging oversized shirts, and Nike gym shoes.

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The last three youths are dressed as skateboarders with DC gym shoes skinny leg jeans and shirts. These groups of teens are wild and happy to be around each other. Group “any number of people with similar norms, values, and expectations who interact with one another on regular basis. ” As the group starts to bowl, there seems to be dominate teen male that seems to take charge of the group, by entering names on the scoreboard, and setting the order of who bowls first. All the teens gather around the score table for a photo, maybe to be sed on Facebook or Myspace or some other social media, for friends and family to enjoy. The teens bowl without a care in the world laughing joking with one another forgetting about who else is around them. The symbols of high fives, and thumbs up are gestures to the ones picking up spares or getting a strikes as they bowl. As this group of teens continues to bowl, a couple appears in the lane next to the young teens, an adult white female in here late 40s and her husband that is in his late 40s also.

The couple seems to be of the middle class as they started to unpack their own bowling balls from their roll around storage cases, it also seems as the couple takes bowling very seriously with all the pro gear they have to go along with bowling. The husband unpacked a very colorful bowling ball with the number 24 on the side, the number of race car driver Jeff Gordon. The husband’s significant other on the other hand has two standard bowling balls one black and the other pink. Significant other is “an individual who is most important in the development of the self, such as parents and their children. The husband gathers his wife’s bowling balls wipes them down with a cloth and places them on the rail ready to be used, as the husband walks back the couple meet for a good luck kiss before what seems to be a league bowling tournament that is about to start. The couple looks very serious and focused on the task that sits upon them, as well as other league bowlers start to fill the lanes. The teens that were in the next lane are gathering their belongings and headed for the door. Handshakes and hugs are exchanged between them before they head outside.

The husband and wife team start their warm ups bowling in each of the two lanes they are sharing with other bowlers. The husband and wife’s personality seems to care for their own only thinking of themselves as superior to the rest of group and everyone else around them. As they bowl the couple exchange kisses and pats on the back high five with one another and sometimes with their teammates. It seems as if the couple is the in-group and everyone else is the out-group. In-Group “any group or category to which people feel they belong. Out-Group “a group or category to which people feel they do not belong. ” As the tournament comes to a close the husband and wife lead their team to victory with the couple taking the high score of 1st and 2nd place out of their team. In conclusion the interactions between both groups were different in style due to the age of the participants. But the result of it all was they all had fun no matter what ethic background or language that a group was speaking. The atmosphere was of vibrant joy and relaxation for individuals to get out and enjoy company of others, or just get away from home.


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