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custom,

habitual group pattern of behavior that is transmitted from one generation to another and is not biologically determined. Since societies are perpetually changing, no matter how slowly, all customs are basically impermanent. If short-lived, they are more properly called fashions. Customs form the core of human cultureculture,
in anthropology, the integrated system of socially acquired values, beliefs, and rules of conduct which delimit the range of accepted behaviors in any given society. Cultural differences distinguish societies from one another.
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 and are stronger and more persistent in preindustrial societies than in industrial ones, in rural than in urban areas. When formalized in the social or religious sphere it leads to ethicsethics,
in philosophy, the study and evaluation of human conduct in the light of moral principles. Moral principles may be viewed either as the standard of conduct that individuals have constructed for themselves or as the body of obligations and duties that a particular society
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, and when enforced in the sphere of rights and duties, custom leads to lawlaw,
rules of conduct of any organized society, however simple or small, that are enforced by threat of punishment if they are violated. Modern law has a wide sweep and regulates many branches of conduct.
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. See folkwaysfolkways,
term coined by William Graham Sumner in his treatise Folkways (1906) to denote those group habits that are common to a society or culture and are usually called customs.
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; moresmores
, concept developed by William Graham Sumner to designate those folkways that if violated, result in extreme punishment. The term comes from the Latin mos (customs), and although mores are fewer in number than folkways, they are more coercive.
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.

custom

any established pattern(s) of behaviour within a community or society. As in everyday usage, the term refers to regularized social practices, or accepted rules of behaviour, which are informally regulated, and which mark off one cultural group from another. At another level, customary forms of action may be distinguished from ‘rational’forms of action (see TYPES OF SOCIAL ACTION), e.g. as with TRADITIONAL ACTION, in which there is little consideration of alternative courses of action.

Custom

 

an inherited pattern of behavior that recurs in a given society or social group and is habitual for the members of that society or group. The term “custom” is frequently identified with the terms “tradition” and “ritual.” Traditions, however, embrace a much larger range of phenomena, intrinsic to all spheres of social behavior and all cultures, while custom is limited to a particular society or area of social behavior. Ritual is only a variety of custom, symbolizing particular social relations, while custom may also be a means of practical utilization and transformation of various objects. Custom served as the principal regulator of relations among people in precapitalist societies. This fact was related to the settled and immobile nature of social life and the weak development of intercultural relations.

Custom serves as a means of acquainting individuals with a particular social and cultural experience, transmitting that experience from generation to generation, regulating the behavior of individuals, maintaining intragroup solidarity, and sanctifying various objects and social relationships. Both real and imaginary objects (gods and so forth) may be sanctified. Production skills, religious rituals, and civil holidays can all function as customs.

With the development of the state and of law, a whole body of customs was sanctioned by the ruling class and included in a system of legal norms (customary law); as a result, the observance of custom was ensured by the state. The power of custom was on the whole undermined with the development of capitalism, the expansion of relations between different cultures, and the secularization of public life. The dynamism of contemporary life, the development of industry and the means of mass communication, and urbanization all intensify this process, bringing social institutions to the fore as regulators of social activity. Custom is preserved in its purest form in everyday life, in mores, and in civic rituals.

The role of customs is determined chiefly by the system of social relations of which the customs are a part; in this connection, customs are divided into the progressive and the reactionary, or obsolete.

In the USSR and other socialist countries, a struggle is waged against obsolete customs. New civic rituals and customs are established, which contribute to the development of socialist social relations.

REFERENCES

Engels, F. “Proiskhozhdenie sem’i, chastnoi sobstvennosti i gosudarstva.” Marx, K. and F. Engels. Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 21.
Tarde, G. Zakony podrazhaniia. St. Petersburg, 1892. (Translated from French.)
Gofman, A. B., and V. P. Levkovich. “Obychai kak forma sotsial’noi reguliatsii.” Sovetskaia etnografiia, 1973, no. 1.
Sumner, W. Folkways. London, 1958.

A. B. GOFMAN

custom

1. 
a. a practice which by long-established usage has come to have the force of law
b. such practices collectively (esp in the phrase custom and practice)
2. habitual patronage, esp of a shop or business
3. the customers of a shop or business collectively
4. (in feudal Europe) a tribute paid by a vassal to his lord
References in classic literature ?
He asked for a paper of tobacco; and as she had neglected to provide herself with the article, her brutal customer dashed down his newly-bought pipe and left the shop, muttering some unintelligible words, which had the tone and bitterness of a curse.
A round, bustling, fire-ruddy housewife of the neighborhood burst breathless into the shop, fiercely demanding yeast; and when the poor gentlewoman, with her cold shyness of manner, gave her hot customer to understand that she did not keep the article, this very capable housewife took upon herself to administer a regular rebuke.
At any other time Maud might have resented being addressed as 'kid' by a customer, but now she welcomed it.
And yet just because, in a strictly business-like way, she was civil to her customers, he must scowl and bite his lip and behave generally as if it had been brought to his notice that he had been nurturing a serpent in his bosom.
And the two gas jets inside the panes were always turned low, either for economy's sake or for the sake of the customers.
These customers were either very young men, who hung about the window for a time before slipping in suddenly; or men of a more mature age, but looking generally as if they were not in funds.
The matter-of-fact and doubtful folks, of whom there were a few among the Maypole customers, as unluckily there always are in every little community, were inclined to look upon this tradition as rather apocryphal; but, whenever the landlord of that ancient hostelry appealed to the mounting block itself as evidence, and triumphantly pointed out that there it stood in the same place to that very day, the doubters never failed to be put down by a large majority, and all true believers exulted as in a victory.
Over the doorway was an ancient porch, quaintly and grotesquely carved; and here on summer evenings the more favoured customers smoked and drank--ay, and sang many a good song too, sometimes--reposing on two grim-looking high-backed settles, which, like the twin dragons of some fairy tale, guarded the entrance to the mansion.
For the rest, both the tap and parlour of the Six Jolly Fellowship Porters gave upon the river, and had red curtains matching the noses of the regular customers, and were provided with comfortable fireside tin utensils, like models of sugar-loaf hats, made in that shape that they might, with their pointed ends, seek out for themselves glowing nooks in the depths of the red coals, when they mulled your ale, or heated for you those delectable drinks, Purl, Flip, and Dog's Nose.
I have passed from one to another, in the course of my business life, just as I pass from one of our customers to another in the course of my business day; in short, I have no feelings; I am a mere machine.
Percerin's doors were closed, while a servant, standing before them, was explaining to the illustrious customers of the illustrious tailor that just then M.
It is true, she was looking very charming herself, and Stephen was paying her the utmost attention on this public occasion; jealously buying up the articles he had seen under her fingers in the process of making, and gayly helping her to cajole the male customers into the purchase of the most effeminate futilities.

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