Comm 10 You Just Don't Understand Notes

Comm 10 You Just Don't Understand Notes - You Just Dont...

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You Just Don’t Understand By Deborah Tannen Chapter 1: Different Words, Different Worlds “Engaging the world in a way that many men do: as an individual in a hierarchical social order in which he was either one-up or one-down. In this world, conversations are negotiations in which people try to achieve and maintain the upper hand if they can, and protect themselves from others’ attempts to put them down and push them around. Life, then, is a contest, a struggle to preserve independence and avoid failure.” “Approaching the world as many women do: as an individual in a network of connections. In this world, conversations are negotiations for closeness in which people try to seek and give confirmation and support, and to reach consensus. They try to protect themselves from others’ attempts to push them away. Life, then, is a community, a struggle to preserve intimacy and avoid isolation…hierarchies more of friendship than of power and accomplishment.” “Intimacy is key in a world of connection where individuals negotiate complex networks of friendship, minimize differences, try to reach consensus, and avoid the appearance of superiority, which would highlight differences. In a world of status, independence is key, because a primary means of establishing status is to tell others what to do, and taking orders is a marker of low status.” “Communication is a continual balancing act, juggling the conflicting needs for intimacy and independence. To survive in the world, we have to act in concert with others, but to survive as ourselves, rather than simply as cogs in a wheel, we have to act alone.” “The essential element of connection is symmetry: people are the same, feeling equally close to each other. The essential element of status is asymmetry: people are not the same; they are differently placed in a hierarchy.” “The symmetry of connection is what creates community: If two people are struggling for closeness, they are both struggling for the same thing. And the asymmetry of status is what creates contest: two people can’t both have the upper hand, so negotiation for status is inherently adversarial.” “A protective gesture from a man reinforces the traditional alignment by which men protect women. But a protective gesture from a woman suggests a different scenario: one in which women protect children.” “The act of protecting frames the protector as dominant and the protected as subordinate.” “Many people consider name dropping to be a matter of status: ‘Look how important I am because I know important people.’ But, it is also a play on intimacy and close connections. Claiming to know someone famous is a bit like claiming to know someone’s mother or cousin or childhood friend—an attempt to gain approval by showing that you know someone whom others also know.” “If women speak and hear a language of connection and intimacy, while men speak and hear a language of status and independence, then communication between men and
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This note was uploaded on 08/11/2011 for the course COMM 10 taught by Professor Suman during the Spring '08 term at UCLA.

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Comm 10 You Just Don't Understand Notes - You Just Dont...

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