By Erving Goffman
Habit in Public areas: Notes at the Social association of Gatherings
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Extra resources for Behavior in Public Places: Notes on the Social Organization of Gatherings
M. D. dissertation, Department of Sociology, University of Chicago, 1951), p. 94. 42 UNFOCUSED INTERACTION Even in the more usual case, however, where the shelter is employed to conceal withdrawal in the situation, we must not misunderstand the significance of using these devices. T h e use of a shelter says just as much for the power of situational obligations as it does for the tendency of persons to seek some means of squirming out of them. It is only when it is glaringly apparent that a shield is being used for such concealment, or when a shield could easily be used and is not, that instances of situational insolence occur.
Because one perceives the individual's involvement in reference to the whole context of his activity, involvement can be shielded by blocking perception of either bodily signs of involvement or objects of involvement, or both. Bedrooms and bathrooms are perhaps the main shielding places in Anglo-American society,6 bathrooms having special interest here because in many households these are the only rooms in which the solitary person can properly lock himself. 7 Every social establishment, in fact, has some crevices that provide this kind of shelter.
F. Borgatta and L. S. , "On the Classification of Groups," Sociometry, 18 (1955) , 416-417. One aspect of involvement, that of intensity, has been considered by T. R. Sarbin in "Role Theory," section "Organismic Dimension," pp. 233-235 in G. : Addison-Wesley, 1954). My own orientation to involvement derives from G. Bateson and M. Mead, Balinese Character (New York: New York Academy of Sciences, 1942). Involvement 37 is the terminological ambiguity of this phrase. I mean to speak now only of situated involvements, those sustained within the situation, whereas the phrase "involvement in the situation" has this meaning and also a more circumscribed one, referring to ways in which the individual may have somehow given himself up to the situation as a whole and its gathering, possessing thus a situational involvement.
Behavior in Public Places: Notes on the Social Organization of Gatherings by Erving Goffman