Quasi-global social norms

Abstract

This Article describes the emergence and operation of a powerful type of social norm which is not only ingrained into the very fabric of society, but is also accepted and internalized by a high percentage of populations all over the world. This type of norm is termed a quasi-global social norm. This Article introduces quasi-global social norms by giving an account of their origin and development. Quasi-global social norms are shown to originate as a result of the sociological necessity that individuals have to rely upon one another for survival and self-betterment. This instinctual reliance causes these norms to penetrate deep into the subconscious of individuals and contributes to their almost universal adherence. Their development and enforcement is contingent on their internalization by large segments of society. Thus, quasi-global social norms tend to be abstract behavioral guidelines rather than specific rules of conduct, and to substantively relate to notions of fundamental import such as liberty and fairness. This Article continues by showing that the personal interactions that sustain quasi-global social norms are both continuous and pervasive, so much so that they seep into the legal system which, to be effective, must adapt itself to the prevailing quasi-global social norms. This Article concludes by reviewing two U.S. Supreme Court decisions, Romer v. Evans and Lawrence v. Texas, which illustrate how and when quasi-global social norms inform contemporary social and legal behavior.

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