Ritualized Transmission of Social Norms Through Wedding Photography
Article first published online: 10 MAR 2006
Volume 16, Issue 1, pages 31–46, February 2006
How to Cite
Strano, M. M. (2006), Ritualized Transmission of Social Norms Through Wedding Photography. Communication Theory, 16: 31–46. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2885.2006.00004.x
- Issue published online: 10 MAR 2006
- Article first published online: 10 MAR 2006
This article explores the applicability of ritual theory to social norms research. Wedding photography is used as a test case to demonstrate how gender norms are perpetuated and resisted through ritualized communication practices. The author concludes that looking at social norms transmission through the lens of ritual performance brings to light three theoretical approaches that might be usefully applied to future social norms research. First, the transmission of social norms may be perpetuated and contested through the conventions associated with ritualized communication performances, rather than through the simple communication of information from one person to another. Second, since ritual performance allows or requires a degree of distancing from the ideal, individuals may resist or play with notions of injunctive norms, perhaps embracing opposing descriptive norms. Finally, since ritual communication is performative, evidence of compliance with social norms may occur symbolically rather than literally.