sociology ch5

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sociology ch5
2009-10-14 23:49:59
social interaction

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  1. Social interaction as:
    • Rule-governed interaction
    • What are the “rules of engagement” in our interactions with people?
  2. Social Interaction issues
    • What is the Right Thing to Do? -What is fair? Conventions governing interaction.
    • What is the situation? -What is the shared “reality” that defines the interaction? Who decides this reality?
    • Who are these people? -How do their social statuses and roles influence the interaction?
    • Who am I?-Identity
  3. Social structures
    Two of the most important social structures that affect social interaction are social statuses & social roles
  4. Acribed status
    • a status into which individuals are assigned without regard for their actions, desires, or abilities
    • e.g., male, female, young, old, black, white, son, daughter.
  5. Achieved status
    • a social status acquired through an individual's own actions
    • e.g., college student, married person, physician
  6. Status set
    A status set is the set of all statuses occupied by a person at the same time
  7. Manifest & latent statuses
    • A manifest status is the status that defines or structures the role set for a particular situation.
    • A latent status is any status formally defined as irrelevant to a situation and which should have no bearing on interaction.
  8. Statuses connect indv & coc structures
    A person's status set anchors them to overlapping organizations, institutions, and society as a whole
  9. Statuses provide continuity & change
    • PROBLEM: How can organizations which exist through the people who are part of them outlive individuals?
    • A university, for example, has no meaning without students, faculty, and staff. Yet the University of Missouri is over 150 years old. How can this be the same organization with totally different people?
    • The answer lies in social statuses. Social statuses may continue to exist long after a particular individual is gone. Individuals may occupy different social statuses at different times
  10. Statuses provied continuity & change
    • Social statuses make possible a complex division of labor in which different people perform distinct tasks.
    • Social statuses often determine the social rewards individuals receive in the form of wealth, prestige, and power--the elements of social stratification.
  11. Roles are attached to statuses
    • A social role is a set of expectations for anyone occupying a particular social status.
    • Role expectations may be for behaviors, attitudes, values, or beliefs.
    • Roles are attached to social statuses, not to individuals.
    • A mother is expected to care for her child, regardless of who she as an individual is
  12. Role set
    The set of all roles associated with a particular social status.
  13. Role conflict, strain & segregation
    • Role strain – difficulties meeting the expectations of a single role.(EX:a father may be unable to support his family financially.>
    • Role conflict - when different roles have incompatible expectations (EX: parent and teacher)
    • Role segregation - avoid statuses invoking incompatible roles for the same role partner (EX: teachers avoid romantic involvement with student)
  14. Role distancing
    • a separation of one’s self from the role one must play. It is a strategy to separate identity from action.
    • E.g., a mother giving her child medicine might say “this will hurt me more than it hurts you.”
    • E.g. “this job sucks”/ “I’m just doing my job”
  15. Roles make life manageable
    • predict the behaviors of others (EX: students can predict that most teachers will give tests)
    • provide expectations for how you should act (EX: students should try not to snore loudly during lectures.)
    • generalize behavior from one setting to another (EX:classroom behavior in college similar to high school.)
  16. Roles can limit behavior
    • Can oversimplify behavior, encouraging routinized responses instead of thoughtful initiative
    • E.g., students may take notes and look attentive even when they don’t understand the lecture rather than asking insightful questions to help the teacher get the point across.
    • May encourage relating to people based on stereotypes
    • E.g., parents may relate to children as children and overlook their distinctive differences as human beings.
  17. Stereotypes & latent statuses
    • generalizations about a category of ppl asserting they have a particular set of characteristics and not taking into account their indv diffs (Usually are incorrect, inflexible, and unfair.)
    • are often based on latent statuses of gender, race and ethnicity.
    • Living up (or more likely “down”) to these expectations can be a survival strategy in social interaction that lets these stereotypes define the situation as seen by the other person but only feigned by the actor.
  18. Selg fulfiling prophecies & stereotypes
    • Self-fulfilling prophecy—an assumption that, once having been made, leads to the predicted event occurring.
    • Self-fulfilling prophecy? -> Stereotypes
    • How do we separate this self-fulfilling prophecy effect from real differences that might describe a category of people? Mark Snyder (1977) creates a study that does just this
  19. Non verbal behavior
    • Social interaction takes place simultaneously on multiple channels
    • Nonverbal behavior may be inconsistent with spoken words & may be unintentional
    • Important elements of nonverbal behavior include
    • eye gaze, body position and movement, personal space,interruptions, and turn-taking.
    • Nonverbal behaviors vary by culture, and by gender
  20. Body movements & posture
    • Men are more likely than women to engage in body movements that express power
    • Higher status people (such as men)tend to have a more direct shoulder orientation when standing
    • to adopt the arms-akimbo position
    • to raise their heads in the interaction more often
    • to be more relaxed (sideways-lean and leg and hand relaxation).
  21. Personal space
    • a region around a person within which they like to maintain control.
    • 1-1/2 to 4 feet is common for personal space in the West
    • Extends out farther in front than in other directions
  22. Gender differences in personal space
    • women - smaller personal space
    • men more likely to intrude on a woman’s personal space
  23. Cultural differences in personal space
    • Mediterranean cultures and South America - smaller personal space
    • In some Middle Eastern countries - men hold hands
    • Many European countries - a man kissing another man in greeting
  24. Eye gaze
    • refers to where someone is looking.
    • Eye contact occurs when two people look directly into one another’s eyes.
    • eye contact used to seek feedback, to signal the desire for affiliation or a positive attitud, to assert higher status or power, to control social distance, strangers in an elevator, medical examinations
  25. Nonverbal gestures in othr cultures
    • Nonverbal gestures can have surprisingly different meanings in different cultures.
    • Eating with one’s left hand in Islamic societies
    • In Korea, letting someone see the bottom of your shoe
    • “thumbs up” signal used for hitchhiking
  26. Turn taking
    • How do people take turns when talking? -Turn-taking cues
    • changes in intonation on the final syllable, a drop in pitch or loudness, an appreciable unfilled pause, ending a hand gesture, stereotypical phrases such as "you know", completing a grammatical clause, turning the speaker's head or eyes toward the listener
  27. Touching
    • Varies dramatically by culture
    • Stephen Thayer (1988) observed couples in coffee shops around the world
  28. Social interaction: the basis for social life
    • the process through which people affect one another through actions, interpretations of actions, and responses to actions.
    • From the moment we enter this world to the moment we leave it we are interacting with other people.
    • We cannot NOT interact. Even when we are not talking we communicate through eye contact, body language, posture, hand gestures, clothing, and demeanor
  29. Great accomplishments
    • The great accomplishments of mankind could not be achieved by one person acting alone. They are the product of many people interacting. (EX: The Great Wall, the pyramids, sending a man to the moon)
    • Even works of individual genius gain broad social significance only through interactions with others (EX:Art is reviewed, critiqued, purchased; Products are produced, sold)
  30. Forms of social interaction
    • Social interaction can take many forms having very different expectations.
    • These include: Cooperation, Conflict, Competition, Coercion, Social exchange
  31. Cooperation
    • interaction among people or groups in which they act together to achieve a common goal which might not be achievable acting alone. Functional theory emphasizes cooperation
    • Without cooperation society would not exist. *Governments; Industry: It is through cooperation that people meet environmental threats, construct grand social products which no single individual could do alone (such as building an airplane or sending a man to the moon).
  32. Conflict
    • the struggle for a limited resource requiring the defeat of others to achieve the goal.
    • wars, Intra-group conflict, many forms of litigation, ideological conflicts
    • Drives change in society
  33. Recap
    • Social Interaction is an important part of social life
    • It is constrained by social structures like roles and statuses
    • It involves meaning, impression management, and notions of fairness.
  34. Coercion
    • occurs when one person or group forces its will on another, based on the threat of physical force or violence. (street gangs assaulting people, armed action by police or the military, a bouncer throwing a drunk patron out of a bar)
    • Even in police-civilian interaction, coercion is exercised infrequently
    • Sykes and Brent, 1983
  35. Competition
    • is conflict governed by rules limiting the conflict
    • Achieving the main goal of individual success is more important than defeating or subduing opponents
    • Extremely common in western industrialized societies and central to capitalism
  36. theories of social interaction
    • There are three variants of the interactionist perspective
    • Symbolic interaction emphasizes the meaning of actions and the use of symbols in communication.
    • The dramaturgical perspective views interaction as analogous to actors in a play.
    • Social exchange theory emphasizes the valued outcomes of the interaction
  37. Theories of social interaction
    • There are three variants of the interactionist perspective
    • Symbolic interaction emphasizes the meaning of actions and the use of symbols in communication.
    • The dramaturgical perspective views interaction as analogous to actors in a play.
    • Social exchange theory emphasizes the valued outcomes of the interaction
  38. How is reality constructed?
    • Symbolic interactionists identify two key concepts that help us understand how reality is socially constructed:
    • defining the situation
    • the negotiated order
  39. The social construction of reality
    • the process by which people define reality, influenced by interactions with others as well as their own life experiences and assumptions.
    • Principles: social life is guided by status and role, but…"reality" is shaped by individual action,need to negotiate in interactions so others see it in the same way
    • Situations we define as real are real in their consequences" (W. I. Thomas)
  40. Defining the situation
    • refers to the social process through which the statuses and roles appropriate to a situation are identified.
    • Situations can be defined through a combination of explicit actions along with props and staging. (This lecture hall, Lights dimmed, slide displayed, microphone on. Explicit acts make claims regarding the situation
    • (Professor says “Let’s begin the class”)Implicit acts acknowledge the definition without making an active claim (students sitting passively and listening)
  41. Negotiated order
    • When people offer different definitions of the situation, some shared understanding must be reached.
    • negotiated order - a social structure determined by the interactions through which people propose, discuss, and often settle on a shared definition of the situation providing meaning for actions.
    • negotiation: attempts to come to some agreement by means other than coercion. (bargaining, mediating, exchanging, trading, persuading, compromising, and so on.)Not an imposed definition of the situation
  42. The dramaturgical perspective
    • Social life can be viewed using the metaphor of actors playing roles on a stage (Goffman, 1959).
    • Human behavior as deliberate attempt to manage the impressions other people have of us.
    • impression management - strategies used to convey a favorable impression or self image
    • E.g., Dressing, manner of speech, and acts performed or inhibited in the presence of others.
  43. Front-stage
    • others present whom they would like to impress (an “audience”).
    • Where one performs a role
    • Ex: a job candidate on a job interview (employers are the audience, a waitress serving meals in a restaurant (the customers are her audience), and ,a policeman on patrol (the “public” is the audience).
  44. Back-stage
    • Audience not present
    • The “prep” phase for front stage
    • can relax and “be themselves”
    • EX:a job candidate telling her friends about their last job interview,a waitress in the kitchen in a restaurant where customers can’t hear, a policeman at home discussing his day with his spouse
  45. FS & BS behaviors
    • The same individual may act very differently in front-stage and back-stage settings.
    • a job candidate is likely to dress up, act politely, and try to seem brilliant in a job interview, while relaxing, wearing old clothes, and telling coarse jokes at home with friends
  46. Emotional labor
    • An example of front-stage behavior…
    • Emotional labor - work activity requiring the worker to display particular emotions in the normal course of providing a service. (Hoschild, 1989)
    • Airline attendants are often required to wear a smile on their face in the presence of customers (passengers) as are receptionists, nurses, hotel desk clerks, and cocktail waitresses.
  47. Social Exchange theory
    • analyzes social interaction in terms of valued outcomes to the participants
    • assumes people are motivated by self-interest, as measured by rewards and costs of actions
    • tend to repeat highly rewarded actions and not repeat costly ones.
    • Acts -> both costs and rewards for others
    • Hence we use our actions to influence others
  48. Scope of Social exhange theory
    • Exchange is not limited to economic goods but characterizes all social interaction
    • Every act can be assessed in terms of its rewards and benefits for participants
    • Has been applied to: loving relationships in marriages, interactions among multinational corporations, relationships between people of different ages
  49. Norm of Reciprocity
    • if you give someone something, you expect them to give you something of equal value in return (Gouldner, 1960)
    • expect something in return ->give someone a gift
    • Invite someone over ->expect to be invited over
    • The return may not be immediate, but should achieve a rough equality, with incentives for maintaining that equality in continuing mutual obligations (Gouldner, 1960).
  50. Principles of social exchange
    • Social exchange NOT a simple monetary exchange;
    • Cannot be explicitly negotiated;
    • Cannot be meticulously accounted for like a bank transaction
  51. Recap
    • Social Interaction is an important part of social life
    • It is constrained by social structures like roles and statuses
    • It involves meaning, impression management, and notions of fairness