Cultural and social anthropology are mainly interested in ideal norms. Norms as standards of behavior are an essential part of any culture. They provide a system of order and orientation. Nevertheless, they are subject to transformations and may differ from culture to culture. Moreover, societies develop not only several types of norms (such as folkways, mores, and laws), but also sanctions to help enforce the norms, reward conformity, and punish deviance.
One of the tasks of the cultural or social anthropologist is to describe the contexts that distinguish acts of deviance from acts of conformity in a particular community, and to reconstruct the social and cultural norms that generate such judgments. In addition, an anthropologist who works in different social or cultural contexts requires knowledge and sensitivity to social or cultural norms.