Small everyday instances of social interaction shape the social world and are the way in which we ‘live’ large-scale social systems and institutions. Much interaction is unfocused: individuals are aware of other people but do not directly interact with them.Non-verbal communication exchanges information and meaning through looks, glances and body language. Gender is an example of an identity embodied through the different ways in which women and men communicate non-verbally.Ethnomethodology is the study of the everyday ways in which people make sense of what others do and say.Interactional vandalism is a technique whereby the relatively powerless can disrupt the more powerful by breaking the taken-for-granted rules of social interaction.Goffman calls periods of focused interaction ‘encounters’. Each encounter requires an opening and closing sequence. He divides social life into front regions where individuals act out formal roles, and back regions where people prepare themselves for the role. Roles are the socially defined expectations of a person occupying a
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