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After reading the required selections, please post a response and follow up question to the group thread. You can respond to more than one question and questions should only be a guide to the conversation not required questions to be answered in essay form.

Guiding Questions:

What is face, and where does it come from? What is saving face?

What common rituals do we engage in when we are in a public restroom? What values are these rituals protecting?

How does the code of the street organize the interactions of African-American girls in urban neighborhoods? How does the code shape the self-presentations of these girls?

How do people pass along institutional logics to new people? What institutional tools do people use?

The Organization
of Social
“Briefly, a social order may be defined as
the consequence of any set of moral norms
that regulates the way in which persons
pursue objectives.” ~Erving Goffman
Understanding the Goffman’s Concepts of
“Face” and “Face-work”
According to Goffman, “face” is the image of self and social attributes. Face is
the positive social value we see in ourselves. In interaction we are concerned
with maintaining image of self. Our “face” is fragile and vulnerable. We must
engage in “face work” to maintain order in interaction and a desirable self image. It is important to remember that all face work is done in cooperation. Interaction is always reliant on at least two individuals. Goffman talks about several interaction rituals we use to cooperatively engage in face work such as
“after you”; “I’m sorry” What are others? Face work engaged by both parties
complicates interaction and challenges our ability to self monitor our image.
When “face” is threaten the expressive order needs to be restored and
Goffman calls this process of “saving face”. One way to save face is through
the interaction rituals of the avoidance and corrective processes.
Key Ideas in the Structure of
Social Interaction
1. Everyday interactions, including backstage behaviors, are
grounded in and guided by interpersonal rituals.
Goffman argues interaction is organized around rituals
and patterns where individuals must recognize and play
the expected parts. This structure to interaction helps
maintained shared meaning and a cooperative interactional structure. Engaging in the correct rituals helps to define
situations and manage our presentation of self. The structure of interaction informs social expectations and rules of
2. In interaction, we collectively engage in agreements with
others to protect our “faces”.
Maintaining face in interaction serves to sustain an expressive order which results in smooth interactions, positive self images, and a sense of social value. Face work
are the different strategies we use to preserve or restore
our self image. These rituals within interaction uphold
our identities and social rules and reinforce the structure
of interaction.
Key Ideas in the Structure of
Social Interaction
3. Social relations and interactions are also guided by one’s social
location and position within the social hierarchy.
Power and privilege are also an element within the structure of interaction and the normative interaction rituals
individuals practice. Recurrent patterns are influenced by
group-based codes of conduct. Constructions of class,
gender, and race become a part of the expressive order.
Different values and interactional norms are connected to
these identity categories. Maintaining face takes these
relations and one’s social position into account.
4. When the interactional order is challenged, others hold individuals accountable.
While the meaning and structure of interaction is patterned and recurrent, there are times
people break the rules of interaction and offer a new interpretation of the situation. When
deviation occurs, the group must restore the expressive order and reestablish the structure of the interaction. This practice reinforces social meanings and the patterns of interaction.
Summary of the Readings
The readings in this unit examine the structure and patterns of interaction. The authors examine
various forms of interaction and describe the patterns and rituals within interaction.
Goffman once again appropriates the metaphor of dramatic performance to show that individuals act out a line when in the presence of others. Goffman observes that individuals claim and
become emotionally attached to face. Individuals will perform face-work to protect others’ faces
and defend their own face in order to maintain expressive order in social interaction. Social interaction is patterned and ritualistic so as to maintain order in society.
The selection by Cahill offers empirical evidence for Goffman’s theories of “face-work” in social
interaction. Using qualitative data collected in public restrooms, Cahill examines the ritual of social interaction to show the types of practices individuals engage in to protect the sacredness of
their own faces as well as the faces of others. He discusses the public bathroom as a
“performance region” where individuals display frontstage and backstage behavior.
Jones explores the gendered nature of Anderson’s (1999) “Code of the Street.” Although originally considered part of hegemonic masculinity, Jones finds that ‘the code’ also applies to women. Drawing on in-depth interviews with youth engaged in violent incidents, Jones argues that
both young men and women are drawn into violence in distressed, inner-city neighborhoods.
However, gender structures teenage boys’ and girls’ use of physical aggression and violence in
unique ways.
Fighting forest fires is an incredibly dangerous job with a high risk of injury or death, yet firefighters employed by the US Forest Service do not perceive either their job or fires as inherently
risky. This is because they have internalized the organizational “script” of the Forest Service
which frames the injury or death of a firefighter as the result of an individual’s failure to follow
“the ten and the eighteen”—the Forest Service’s rules and guidelines for fighting fires, rather
than as the result of inherent risk and unpredictability of fighting fires. The firefighters first formally learn the script through their required training, and then reinforce it informally among

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