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Lecture 4

SOC 107 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Georg Simmel, Kwadukuza, Bank Teller

Course Code
SOC 107
Melanie Knight

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Sociology Lecture 4
Everyday Urban Relaons: Contacts among Strangers
Sociological Definition of the Stranger
Georg Simmel
oAlways remaining peripheral or marginal to groups with which interactions are
being sought
oThe stranger’s distinctive position is to be near and distant at the same time.
oNot interested in 1 on 1 stranger talk, more on the individual vs community
Robert Park
oApplied the idea to immigrant racial and ethnic groups in the city
When talking about immigrant -> integration is brought up
Alfred Schutz (1960)
oOne who is not knowledgeable about cultural patter of the group to which
admission is sought
Peter Berger and Hansfried Kellner (1970)
oUnacquainted individuals come from different face-to-face contexts and areas of
conversation, with different biographies and life experiences
Biographical Stanger
Cultural Strangers
oDifferent symbolic world views
Sara Ahmed – The stranger and the encounter
oDefines the encounter as:
A meeting which involves surprise
A moment that shifts the boundaries of the familiar
Reconstituting bodily space
Fear/hate functions to substantiate the threat of invasion and
Reduce that body to dirt, to ‘mater out of place’
The Paradox of Doubt and Trust
Social life could not proceed in an orderly fashion if a norm of trust did not underlie our
behaviours with others

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We must doubt and trust others at the same time
oExample – Bank teller > we trust them because there are consequences of they
break it (The law in this case, and the work place contract)
oOther examples of people we trust include: Engineers, Child care worker, other
drivers who share the road with us, people who handle our food, prison systems
When are we likely to distrust others?
oWifi -> when our information is being shared (?)
Uncertainty in Interactions with Strangers
oRace, for example, may particularly affect interaction between people who do not
know one another
oDifferent interactions are based on different perceptions of different racial groups
oThese perceptions have been created historically and are legitimized on an
everyday level
Example Representation of Indigenous people in our society
Sometimes people may deliberately attempt to create an atmosphere that affirms trust
when surface signs might indicate otherwise
Brent Staples (1992) describes the measures he has adopted in his nighttime walks
through New York streets to thwart perceptions of those who may fear he is a “dangerous
black man”-he whistle classical music!
The Imaginary Indian: Unpacking the Romance of Domination (by Margot Francis)
Stereotypical ideas of Indigenous peoples have developed as a result of colonialism
oIndian act (1876)
A federal act that has authorization over First Nations People
Defines who has “Indian status” and not Canadian
Controlled many aspects of indigenous life
Indigenous peoples are considered ‘words’ of the government to be
education (residential schools)
oCultural genocide
Francis examines summer campts as a site that has … [ADD MORE
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