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Social Interaction.docx

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Robert Brym

Feminist Theory, Emotions, and the Building Blocks of Social Interaction - From a study done, it was found that women laugh more than men, and that men are more likely to engage in long monologues and interrupt when people are talking - Social Interaction: communication among people acting and reacting to one another, either face-to-face or via computer - Three building blocks of social interaction: 1) Social Statuses 2) Roles 3) Norms - For example, it’s generally true that people with higher status get more laughs, and people with lower status laugh more. Even laughter is not as spontaneous as you would think - Role: a set of expected behaviours.  People perform roles - Norm: generally accepted way of doing things Emotion Management - Some scholars believe, for laughter and certain emotions, an external disturbance causes a reaction that people presumably experience involuntarily. Emotions just happen to us. - Feminists were the first to note the flaw that emotions are involuntary Women, many times, have to control their own emotions, and we manage them You can react better if you control your emotions (if a grizzly bear attacks you, it is better to play dead than run screaming - People usually know and follow certain “scripts”, a culturally designated emotional response - Emotion Management: involves people obeying “feeling rules” and responding appropriately to situations (coined by Arlie Russel Hochschild) - People have expectations of what they should feel and how they should feel it, how long they should feel it, and who they should share with - Norms and rules govern our emotional life Emotion Labour - Emotion management (which everyone does in their daily life) and emotion labour (which people do for their job and are paid for) are different - For example, when teachers discipline their students for acting rowdy, or sales clerks deal with frustrating customers while still looking happy and presentable - They carefully manage their emotions while trying to remain looing happy - Hochschild estimates that nearly hald the jobs women do and 1/5 of the jobs men do require emotional labour (women tend to be better socialized to undertake caring and nurturing roles) - Market for emotional labour grows as economy shifts from production of goods to production of services  many people are trained and paid for their skills in emotional labour - Makes expression of feelings less spontaneous Emotions in Historical Perspective - Cultural scripts and expectations of others influence the way manage our emotions in our personal lives - Culture has a huge impact on our emotional life, as the growth of the economy’s service sector comes into play, requiring more emotional labour - We can see evidence in socio-historical studies  Grief – In Europe as late as 1600, life expectancy was much shorter (35 years old), and many infants died in their first year of life. Medical practice was just in its infancy. There was less grief when a family member or child died. People invested less emotionally in their children (mourning period was less). When health conditions improved, life expectancy improved, which made us more prone to grief when we lost a family member or child.  Anger – Industrialization and the growth of competitive markets in the nineteenth- century made emotional life hard in the family. Anger control became important to keep a healthy family dynamic in times like these.  Disgust – Manners back in the Middle Ages were disgusting in our eyes. But manners began to change with the emergence of modern political state. Coordination of effort necessitated more self-control on citizens, and standards of public conduct changed. These rules about difference between good and bad manners were created to signify the distribution of power in the family by age and gender - Emotions are not universal or constant. They have histories and sociological underpinnings in statuses, roles, and norms - Norms, roles, and statuses need a “social cement” to prevent them from falling apart CONFLICT THEORIES OF SOCIAL INTERACTION Competing for Attention - Maintaining interaction requires that both parties’ need for attention is met - Turn-taking is one of the basic norms that govern conversations; people take turns talking to make conversation possible. - However, a large part of all conversations involves a subtle competition for power - Derber concluded, after a study, that North Americans try to turn conversations towards themselves - According to Derber, there is a set of extremely common conversational practices --> Since norms don’t allow blatant ego-centric behaviour, these practices are usually subtle, trying to switch attention to themselves --> They are expected to look interested about what the other person is saying - Derber's analysis is influenced by conflict theory, which holds that social interaction involves competition over valued resources - Conflict theorists believe through social interaction, people try to gain the most while paying the least Variants of the Conflict Theory of Interaction - Exchange Theory - The idea that social interaction involves trade in attention and other valued resources  They argue that all social relationships involve a literal give and take  When people interact, they exchange valuable resources (attention, pleasure, approval, etc.) and punishments. Without payoffs, relationships end - Rational Choice Theory- Focuses more on how interacting people weight benefits and costs of interaction  Interacting people always try to maximize benefits and minimize costs - Payoffs make social order possible - The greater the inequality of payoffs, the greater the chance that co
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