Chapter 5 - Brym
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What is social interaction?
-Involves people communicating face to face or via computer and acting and
reacting in relation to other people.
-Structured around norms, role, and statuses
The Structure of Social Interaction
Status: a recognized social position an individual can occupy. (Flight attendants)
Status Set: the entire ensemble of statuses occupied by a person. (Flight attendant, wife
Ascribed Status: an involuntary status. (Daughter)
Achieved Status: an involuntary status. (Flight attendant)
Master Status: his or her overriding public identity. Status that is most influential in
shaping a person’s life at a given time.
Roles: Sets of expected behaviours
Role Set: a cluster of roles attached to a single status.
Norma: generally accepted ways of doing things
Case Study: Stewardess and Their Clientele
-Ellen Church hired by Boeing air transport; worlds first stewardess.
-Wore her white robes which identified her natural role
-Main role was to reassure apprehensive flyers were in safe hands
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-The revolution in the role of the stewardess was signalled by first series of radical
-Braniff Int. Airways hired a fashion designer to change the style of stewardess
-Everyone wanted fly Braniff due to the style of stewardess’s
-All the other airlines followed
-Advertising reflected the new expectations surrounding the stewardesses roles
-Movies, books, ads, etc, solidified the stewardess’s roles as sex objects.
Role Conflict & Role Strain
Role Conflict: occurs when two or more statuses held at the same time place contradictory role
demands on a person. (Being a mother and a stewardess)
Role Strain: occurs when incompatible role demands are placed on a person in a single status.
(Being suggestive and polite while warding off impolite, unwanted and crude overtures.)
What Shapes Social Interaction?
-Outcomes of our emotions
-Interact differently with people depending on whether they love us, hate us, make
us angry/happy, etc
-Norms, roles and statuses require a sort of “social cement” to prevent from falling
apart and to turn them into a durable social structure.
-Three main ways of maintaining social interaction and thereby cementing social
structures and society as a whole: by means of DOMINATION, COMPETITION
The Sociology of Emotions
Laughter and Humour
-Speakers laugh more than listeners
-Women laugh more than men in everyday conversations
-Biggest discrepancy is when the women is a speaker and the listener is a man
-Even when the man speaks, the woman is more likely to laugh more than the man
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