The concept of folkways is associated with the name of William Graham Sumner who made one of the most fruitful and clarifying analysis of culture and its implications. He was one of the best –loved and most inspiring teachers at Yale where he used to teach political economy but later he changed his interest to sociology. In his sociological classic Folkways Sumner has made a notable contribution to the understanding of individual behavior. Sumner conceived of culture in terms of folkways and mores and used the term folkways in a very comprehensive sense. According to him
"They (folkways) are like products of natural forces which men unconsciously set in operations or they are like the instinctive ways of animals which are developed out of experience which reach a final form of maximum adaptation to an interest which are handed down by tradition and admit of no exception or variation yet change to meet new conditions still within the same limited methods and without rational reflection or purpose. From this it results that all the life of human beings in all ages and stages of culture is primarily controlled by a vast mass of folkways handed down from the earliest existence of the race, having the nature of the ways of other animals only the top most layers of which are subject to change and control and have been somewhat modified by human philosophy, ethics and religion or by other acts of intelligent reflection."
Folkways are recognized ways of behavior. The folkways are thus the recognized ways of behaving and acting in societies that arise automatically within a group to meet the problems of social living. According to Maclver Folkways are the recognized or accepted ways of behaving in society. According to Lundberg Folkways are the typical or habitual beliefs, attitudes and styles of conduct observed within a group or community.