Thursday, July 09, 2009

Interaction Ritual quotes

Hey guys,

I've been reading this book called Interaction Ritual which is a collection of essays by world famous sociology professor Erving Goffman.

This particular book is all about face to face behavior.

It's interesting that the book is on face to face behavior, because the first section is on the concept of "face".

Face being the positive social value a person claims for himself by the line others assume he has taken during a particular contact.

Basically face is the way you present yourself to be. Oftentimes new students have trouble because they lose face for dishonesty or being incongruent in how they present themselves to the world.

The section is fascinating as it explains both the avoidance process for maintaining face (ejecting) as well as making points- the aggressive use of face work to alter others opinions.

Here's some interesting quotes from the first section on face work.

" Points made by allusion to social class status are sometimes called snubs; those made by allusions to moral respectability are sometimes called digs; in either case one deals with a capacity at what is sometimes called "bitchiness""

" Thus when a person makes a slight gaffe, he and the others may become embarrassed not because of inabilities to handle such difficulties, but because for a moment no one knows whether the offender is going to act blind to the incident, or give it joking recognition, or employ some other face saving practice."

Footnote 21- See for instance Jackson Toby, " Some variables in Role Conflict Analysis", Social Forces ( 1952) 30:327-37: " With Adults there is less liklihood for essentially trivial issues to produce conflict. The automatic apology of two strangers who accidentally collide on a busy street illustrates the integrative function of etiquette. In effect each of the parties to the collision says " I don't know whether I am responsible for this situation, but if I am you have a right to be angry with me, a right I pray you will not exercise." By defining the situation as one in which both parties must abase themselves, society enables each to keep his self respect. Each may feel in his heart of hearts, " Why can't this stupid ass watch where he's going?" but overtly each plays the role of the guilty party whether he feels he has been miscast or not."


Pretty interesting stuff.

I'll be putting together some posts on leveraging the concept of face ( both your own and others) as well as polite response and the moral high ground as soon as I pull together all my notes from this book.

It's pretty academic and dry, so it may take awhile. But there is some solid gold info in here.


1 comment:

  1. Looking forward to the posts on this subject bud!

    By the way seeing as you like reading, if you ever have time, check out a book by dr. Robert Rohm.
    it's called "positive personality profiles"....I wrote some stuff on personality types but I know you will be able to integrate the knowledge better into dating then me because I did it for business :).