Swamped with your writing assignments? Take the weight off your shoulder!
This week, you will do some “fieldwork” and “participant observation” (where you are participating in the interaction, but being reflexive about what’s happening, because you are also playing the “role” of the social scientist!). You will document a specific situation (interaction) in a specific context/space: one in which you notice social discomfort (perhaps because someone in the interaction is breaching a social norm).
For example, you might be working at a fast food restaurant and notice a customer behaving in a way that is rude to a fellow employee. What happens? Another example could be an episode at a bus stop or when passing you on the sidewalk.
Pay close attention to this interaction, document it, and analyze it using concepts from Module 2, and especially those used by Goffman. Who are the main actors in this “scene”? Is there an audience? What serves as the front stage and back stage, or is there no apparent back stage? What scripts are used to manage this episode? What roles do people take? Do you notice a shift in roles? This interaction must take place face-to-face, NOT ONLINE.
Notice the DETAILS. What time is it? What day is it? Describe the setting with details. What are people wearing? What do you notice about the moment of social awkwardness in terms of the “shift” in how people “present their self”?
You can also mention your own intra-action, and remember, you can be part of this interaction.
Examples of settings for the “episode” might include, for example:
a space at FIU (classroom, gathering/hangout place indoors or outdoors
a “hangout” off campus
a grocery store or other store you go to regularly
a restaurant or cafe you go to regularly
doctor or dentist office
a parking lot
a bus/train stop (or a bus/train)
Textbook, Ch. 2 (“Symbolic Interactionism”) and Ch. 5, pp. 83-93