Battlin' and The Body
November 26, 2012
• It is not just about freestyling on the spot, but it is about making it seem like you are improvis-
• Goffman talked about frame analysis. The fundamental question of "whats going on here?" is
the root to face to face interactions, that leads to a shared understanding between two parties. He
said that interviews were worthless because people will only be presenting an ideal version of
themselves. Play always has the potential to become more than play. Goffman use an animal
metaphor to relate to human interactions. He points to a non-verbal layer to social interaction.
• Play in a variety of settings always has the potential to become serious. People use signals to
show that they are just playing, and the opposing party should not be taking it seriously.
• This is important in street rapping. This is a setting of disrespect that can lead to violence.
Young men don't take kindly to being disrespected by their peers.
• It is frowned upon to catch feelings. You should not turn it into something more than play.
• There is a double sided nature to this play. Part of it is trying to beat the other player, and part
of it is within the self.
• Games begin with a mutual, shared understanding that can escalate into something really seri-
• Interactions should not just be taken for a flat meaning.
Etiquette of Improvisation - Howard Becker.
• He writes about the rules that facilitate people playing jazz music together in these taverns.
• He identifies two different types of group improvisation. These are ideal types at opposite
poles of the same spectrum.
• One is an egalitarian group of improvisation. The first person will play a solo of 7 choruses,
that sets a precedence where any subsequent player plays the same amount. Everyone follows a
• Another different style includes maestros or soloists that sit in. These players have a status that
allows them to do their own thing. Everyone else suspends their time to allow for the maestro.
This is called meritocratic, where everyone follows the best idea. When there is a better idea, ev-
eryone will drop their own ideas and join in on working on that better idea.
• The meaning of the situation is never set, it is constantly evolving.
• Away they repair their volatile words is done by offering certain cues, like smiling, winking,
• Play must be done by everyone that is present, and there has to be a shared understanding.
Sometimes if play is not recognized, an intervening member may have to separate and diffuse the
Techniques of the Body
• Acts as a blueprint for writings that look at dispositions and habits.
• The way we use our bodies are socially constructed.
• For example, eating is universal and required. However how we eat is shaped by cultures and
societies. • Squatting in some cultures are a way for kids to pass time, however they grow out of it when
they are older.