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Behavior in Public Places by ERVING GOFFMAN

Behavior in Public Places by ERVING GOFFMAN

Author:ERVING GOFFMAN
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: THE FREE PRESS
Published: 1963-07-15T00:00:00+00:00


CHAPTER 8

Engagements Among

the Unacquainted

ONE might say, as a general rule, that acquainted persons in a social situation require a reason not to enter into a face engagement with each other, while unacquainted persons require a reason to do so. 1 In these two rules, the same fundamental principle seems to be operative, namely, that the welfare of the individual ought not to be put in jeopardy through his capacity to open himself up for encounters. In the case of acquainted persons, a willingness to give social recognition saves the other from the affront of being overlooked; in the case of unacquainted persons, a willingness to refrain from soliciting encounters saves the other from being exploited by inopportune overtures and requests.

If the assumption is correct that a kind of tacit contract underlies communication conduct, then we must conclude that there are imaginable circumstances when any two unacquainted persons can properly join each other in some kind of face engagement—circumstances in which one person can approach another—since it will always be possible to imagine circumstances that would nullify the implied danger of contact. I should like now to consider some of these circumstances under which some kind of engagement among the unacquainted is permissible, and sometimes even obligatory, in our American middle-class society. 2



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