On Facework

On Face-Work

“For example, in polite society, a handshake that should not have been extended becomes one which cannot be declined.” (28.4)
Fundamental importance of verifying/confirming that the ritual order is intact or that the ritual code will be supported and that individuals are upholders of the code as opposed to either being ignorant or disregarding of it. Basic typification of situations and persons? (cf. “…willingness to abide by the ground rules of social interaction. Here is the hallmark of his socialization as an interactant.” (31.3) Point is to make interaction safe for feelings and faces.

  1. 1) DEFINITIONS
    1. a) Face, line, social worth, undertaking,
  2. 2) THE BASIC KINDS OF FACE-WORK
    1. a) The avoidance process (15.3)
      1. i) Dealing with incidents
        1. (1) Deny/overlook – “tactful blindness”
        2. (2) Admit but continue
        3. (3) Turn away / time out
    2. b) The corrective process (19.1)
      1. i) Ritual disequilibrium
        1. (1) Interchange
          1. (a) Offense
          2. (b) Challenge
          3. (c) Offering
            1. (i) Redefinition
            2. (ii) Compensation/punishment/expiation
              1. 1. Rehabilitation of one’s “type” – One really is well developed Meadean self
              2. 2. Assurance that ritual code is intact
          4. (d) Acceptance
          5. (e) Gratitude
    3. 3) MAKING POINTS – THE AGGRESSIVE USE OF FACE WORK
    4. 4) THE CHOICE OF APPROPRIATE FACE-WORK
    5. 5) COOPERATION AT FACE-WORK
    6. 6) RITUAL ROLES OF THE SELF
      1. a) Double
        1. i) Image pieced together from expressive implications of flow of events
          1. (1) Sacred objects subject to slights and profanation
        2. ii) Player in ritual game who copes dis/honorably, un/diplomatically with judgemental contingencies of situation
      2. b) Institutional design
        1. i) “…each participant tends to be given the right to handle only those matters which he will have little motivation for mishandling.” (33.2)
    7. 7) SPOKEN INTERACTION
      1. a) “to be in a state of talk” (watch how we signal who is a member of a given “talking” and who is not and the normative / moral characteristics of the boundaries around such states and note that this involves who is in as well as who is out and the obligation to keep the talk in as well as that to keep the listening out).
      2. b) “occasion” as a naturally bounded unit (35.8)
        1. i) “Rules”
          1. (1) Once approached one must accede to protect face of approacher
          2. (2) In conversation one must demand only amount of attention appropriate to one’s social worth
        2. ii) Reciprocal relation of face and interaction – sometimes you can save one only by losing the other (39.5)
      3. c) Cf. (40.4) “Too little perceptiveness, too little savoir faire, … person comes to be a real threat to society…. To much perceptiveness, too much pride … person becomes thin-skinned … too much savoir-faire … too socialized ….” How does this fit in with Davis and Schmidt’s ideas about the obnoxious and the nice?
    8. 8) FACE AND SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS (41)
      1. a) Goal is to get into and out of social encounters without changing relationship between interactants or without disturbing expected trajectory.
    9. 9) THE NATURE OF THE RITUAL ORDER

TWO LEVELS OF SYMBOLIC INTERACTION

  1. 1) If I want them to get this meaning what should I do/say?
  2. 2) If I want to want myself and others to maintain face, what should I do or say?
  3. 3) In other words, our doings/sayings are guided by both levels of consideration

Journal Exercises

  1. 1) Catalog conversational disbandment lines and techniques
  2. 2) Catalog things that are “perceived” but not “noticed”
  3. 3) Examples of using face-work to leverage social worth
  4. DJR says it’s rude/tacky to do what I did in handing out photocopy without holes or proper citation.
  5. 4) What kinds of pauses are acceptable in what kinds of circumstances? What do different kinds of pauses mean? Face-to-Face, phone calls, email messaging.
  6. 5) Turn taking, interruption, etc.

Paper Topics

  1. 1) Gender and Face-work
  2. 2) Face-Work On-Line – Applying Goffman’s Ideas to Listserve “interaction”
  3. 3) Speaking Up: On the Interactional Risks Associated With Opening One’s Mouth and How Social Institutions Minimize These. Cf. The insurance industry and the invention of the corporation.
  4. 4) “The safety of solitude and the danger of social encounters”
  5. 5) An analysis of the relationship re-affirming function of greetings and farewells in love letters (or business letters or casual encounters around campus)

Concepts, Words & Phrases

Boner
Brick
Considerateness
Diplomacy
Face
In face / out of face
Definition of the situation
Role
Faux pas
Gaffe
Hints and innuendo
Line
Noblesse oblige
Occasion
Poise
Savoir faire
Second order tact
Social worth
Tact
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