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ERIC Number: EJ889422
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Dec
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 41
ISSN: ISSN-0190-2725
Escaping Embarrassment: Face-Work in the Rap Cipher
Lee, Jooyoung
Social Psychology Quarterly, v72 n4 p306-324 Dec 2009
How do individuals escape embarrassing moments in interaction? Drawing from ethnographic fieldwork, in-depth interviews, and video recordings of weekly street corner ciphers (impromptu rap sessions), this paper expands Goffman's theory of defensive and protective face-work. The findings reveal formulaic and indirect dimensions of face-work. First, this paper shows how individuals use prescripted techniques and other canned resources to overcome embarrassing gaffes in interaction. Specifically, rappers use "writtens" (prewritten rhymes) when they are close to "falling off," a local term for messing up and stopping abruptly during a "freestyle" (improvised) rap performance. Second, this paper describes how shared pressures to sustain an interaction can lead to collateral face-saving. In the cipher, surrounding peers "jump in" and begin rapping when somebody else falls off. Although this protects the person who is falling off from embarrassment, it is often done to "keep the flow going" in the cipher. At the end, this paper also outlines situations in which individuals withhold face protection from others. These findings point to other social situations in which individuals escape embarrassment with canned resources and through collateral face-saving. (Contains 8 images and 6 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California