Social interaction is based on assumptions of appropriate and expected behaviors
What happens when this is transgressed?
Aligning actions: largely verbal efforts to create an alignment between the
substance of a social interaction and the selves involved and the culture they
share. - Get things back on track.
Part of everyday life
To ask someone of their motives is to implicitly state that what they did was
inappropriate. Requiring on explanation: the question is why? Example Why did
you skip class?
Vocabulary of Motives
⁃ People learn to use certain words to describe their acts depending on:
⁃ a) Specific situation
⁃ b) Specific audience.
⁃ Tailor their explanation/ motive talk
⁃ Hewitt “people learn that in a given situation their choices of conduct and motives are
limited by what others will treat as legitimate.
⁃ Compartmentalization of motives in different spheres: what constitutes a valid
explanation for one event may not be for another.
⁃ A way of verbally protecting yourself from the implications of what you were/ are
saying “I’m not sexist but...”
⁃ Role taking at work: we know how we will be typified and we overcome it in advance.
⁃ A prospective at in which you anticipate a question about your conduct.
⁃ A form of explanation after the fact either an excuse or justification
⁃ You are giving an account of events
⁃ In court explain your actions or being late for an appointment
Relieve ourselves of responsibility if we were negligent (ex arriving late)
Effectiveness of the account makes for better outcome. You want things to be
smoothed over “social lubricant”.
Occur when we do take responsibility and we give an account for why our actions
Allows us to avoid harsh reactions from others. Try to maintain our “good
identity” Vocabularies of Emotion
⁃ Affective or emotional dimension of social interaction
⁃ eg of grief: loss of part of the self
⁃ Harman says emotion comes after the event
⁃ Grieving over loss of job or relationship
⁃ What is important is how long the thing was part of your identity
⁃ Working for 35 years- retire great loss
⁃ 2 week relationship – break up, less of a loss
⁃ SI – we do not live these identities alone.
We are linked to others. Lofland – seven threads
1)Roles we play – are you still a daughter when parents die?
2)Help we receive – support system
3)The wider network of others available to us – grandparents keep family together
through family events
4)The selves others create and sustain – special things others cannot replace (they way
5)The comforting myth they allow us – put people on pedestal
6)The reality they validate for us – they validate our reality – reaffirm our value
7)The future they make possible – Christmas is different. - Retirement would be different
without your husband.
Each culture accumulates