BREAK THE NORM! - Methods for studying norms in general and the heteronorm in particular
Norms are the notions, ideas and unwritten rules that form us humans. They are present in all areas of life and make up the limits that define acceptable behaviour. Some norms are positive and guide how we act towards others. They may for example discourage us from spitting in another person’s face or from ploughing into people on the street.
Without thinking much of it, we adapt to most norms. It is not until someone breaks the norm that norms become visible. Norms can also transmit forms of oppression, exclusion and discrimination. In these cases it is important to be able to challenge and break the norms. To do so, it is important to understand how they function.
BREAK THE NORM! is an educational resource that proposes exercises and educational activities to examine norms and how we categorise people. Other activities look into how e rein
Reinforce those norms or are expected to. Finally, the manual proposes exercises to help making practical use of what has been learned in relation to norms.
The manual is proposed here to support human rights learners and activists to deepen their understanding of normativity and the role we play in perpetuating or challenging them. It is designed according to human rights education principles and approaches: it is non-prescriptive and invites readers/users to apply learning in their lives and social environment. It is a useful complement to Council of Europe human rights education resources such as Compass and Gender Matters.
BREAK THE NORM! was produced by The Living History Forum and RFSL Ungdom (The Swedish Youth Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights), who are also responsible for the English version.
The manual is used here with their kind permission.
It does not necessarily reflect the official policy of the Council of Europe.