Relations in Public: Microstudies of the Public Order

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Nonspecific Binding
  • Copyright: 2010-01-30
  • Publisher: Routledge

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Until recently, to be in a "public place" meant to feel safe.That has changed, especially in cities. Urban dwellerssense the need to quickly react to gestural cues frompersons in their immediate presence in order to establishtheir relationship to each other. Through this communicationthey hope to detect potential danger before it istoo late for self-defense or flight. The ability to read accuratelythe "informing signs" by which strangers indicatetheir relationship to one another in public or semi-publicplaces without speaking, has become as important asunderstanding the official written and spoken languageof the country.In Relations in Public, Erving Goff man provides agrammar of the unspoken language used in public places.He shows that the way strangers relate in public is part ofa design by which friends and acquaintances manage theirrelationship in the presence of bystanders. He argues that,taken together, this forms part of a new domain of inquiryinto the rules for co-mingling, or public order.Most people give little thought to how elaborate andcomplex our everyday behavior in public actually is. Forexample, we adhere to the rules of pedestrian traffic ona busy thoroughfare, accept the usual ways of acting in acrowded elevator or subway car, grasp the delicate nuancesof conversational behavior, and respond to the rich vocabularyof body gestures. We behave differently at weddings, atmeals, in crowds, in couples, and when alone. Such everydaybehavior, though generally below the level of awareness,embodies unspoken codes of social understandingsnecessary for the orderly conduct of society.

Table of Contents

Introduction to the Transaction Editionp. xi
Prefacep. xviii
The Individual as a Unitp. 3
The Territories of die Selfp. 28
Supportive Interchangesp. 62
Remedial Interchangesp. 95
Tie-Signsp. 188
Normal Appearancesp. 238
Appendix: The Insanity of Placep. 335
Indexp. 391
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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