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Social norms as stabilizing factors of the society in transition

Author: Capcelea Valeriu
Degree:doctor habilitat of philosophy
Speciality: 09.00.01 - Ontology and Gnoseology
Scientific consultant: Eudochia Saharneanu
doctor habilitat, associate professor (docent), Moldova State University
Scientific council:


The thesis was presented on the 31 January, 2008
Approved by NCAA on the 19 June, 2008


Adobe PDF document1.17 Mb / in romanian


CZU 111.1+165 (043.2)

Adobe PDF document 1.29 Mb / in romanian
230 pages


Anomy, coercion, corporate norm, custom, disposition, ecological norm, economicnorm, function of control, function of settlement, function of socialization, imperative, integrative function, juridical norm, moral norm, normative administration, normative behavior, normative consciousness, normative determination, normative image, normative settlement, norms of life together, normative process, professional deontology, rationality, religious norm, social memory, social norm, social order, system, stabilization, taboo, technical norm, traditional norm, transition, value


The present work offers a philosophical analysis of the essence, contents, ontology and objective character of social norms, their variety and diversity, social and philosophical aspect, systematic nature and the specific character of the functioning of norms as mechanisms of stabilizing social existence in general and in transitional times in particular. A philosophical approach to and philosophical study of social norms have been carried out aiming to get a panoramic and global vision of their essence and universal character, of their place and role in social life, of how different types of norms interact in the process of social existence. The investigation also aims to study and bring arguments for social norms on the whole and to assert the statute of social norms as interdisciplinary domain of ontology and social epistemology.

Starting from a general vision upon social norms and upon certain particularities of some of them, the author tries to elucidate the correlation between currently existing social norms and to demonstrate that a imperative of our time consists in a more frequent use of traditions, customs and traditional norms of social life that were in oblivion for the benefit of juridical norms, that can be an efficient remedy in overcoming negative phenomena manifested in people’s behavior.

In this sense, the observations concerning the investigated social phenomenon, done both on the basis of turning to account and summary estimation of ontological, gnostic and methodological approaches (not seldom converging and/or complementary) set forth throughout the time by philosophers, sociologists, ethicians, logicians, political scientists, economists who represent different scientific orientations, and on the basis of personal meditations have led to the idea that social norms constitute a fundamental stabilizing factor of social existence in general, and in transitional times, through which the Republic of Moldova passes, in particular.

The analysis carried in Chapter 1 Content and forms of social norms allowed the investigation of the ontology of social norms and their objective character, as well as the investigation of the dialects of the affective and the rational, the gnoseology and psychology of normative consciousness. It has been revealed that social norms represent a system which is realized only through systematic processes and connections, which is the substance that builds social relations. The social norms, in conformity with their essence, are systematic and functional laws which exist at the level of social movement through some specific forms. The norms express certain specific means built up within the evolution of the social existence to fix and consolidate social relations, to protect social systems from entropy provoked by various deviations of collective and individual behavior, from anomy and subjective willful misconduct.

Chapter 2 The Norms and Social Action treats problems related to the functions of the social norms. It fundaments the idea that social norms are an essential form of rationalizing social existence and a typology of social norms realized. Social norms not only regulate human interaction, but also measure the order and the structure of the social systems; they contribute to the process of rationalizing and simplifying social actions. There is no unified approach to the typology of social norms in specialized literature, and the situation created due to the establishing of a normative-value hierarchy of norms serves as the foundation to classify the social norms into action norms, behavioral norms and organizational norms.

Chapter 3 Fundamental types of social behavioral norms and their nomological valences studies traditional norms and their nomologicobehavioral significances, the essence of religious norms and their value for the contemporary world, the complex nature of moral norms, their place in regulating human behavior, the intrinsic nature, structural particularities, the role of juridical norms in guiding human behavior. Social norms may become an efficient mechanism of regulating personality behavior on condition that they are reflected in consciousness and are assimilated to that degree when they transform into traditions, into a stimulus of the affective-volitional structure of the personality consciousness. The morality state may directly influence the law formation and action, its quality and efficiency, and the interaction between the moral norms and the legal norms is manifested through mutual influence. Nowadays, the fundamental tendency of the legal and moral correlation is characterized by the fact that law replaces morale more frequently, which is a positive fact. However the law should contain in itself more morality and laws should be based on morality and should be made up by people with high morality.

Chapter 4 The Role of Organization and Action Norms in the Functioning and Durable Development of the Society investigates the place of norms in social relation administration and structuring, the importance of technical norms in orienting human actions in a post industrial society, the role of professional deontology norms in organizing and improving social activity. The study of social norms, of the roles in social administration, organization, and regulation should be based on certain methodology: use of the historical principle in the analysis of the social administration and regulation mechanisms, of the correlation between the rational and affective beginnings within the social mechanisms of administration and regulation, of revealing the correlation and the role of norms and social normative. Though these norms are close to the legal ones in form, they are not legal, because they are not developed and instituted by state authorities and are not guaranteed directly through state legal coercion.

The Conclusions and Recommendations generalize the results of the research and confirm the necessity of using all social norms in complex in order to overcome the state of anomy which exists in our society nowadays. Recommendations are addressed to those who are interested in regulating social relations, and who are responsible for education and training, and solving social and economical problems.