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ERIC Number: EJ889893
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Jun
Pages: 24
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0190-2725
Between Deference and Distinction: Interaction Ritual through Symbolic Power in an Educational Institution
Hallett, Tim
Social Psychology Quarterly, v70 n2 p148-171 Jun 2007
In this article I provide a meso-level account of the interactional-institutional link by revisiting Goffman's analysis of deference and demeanor in light of Bourdieu's discussion of institutional fields, cultural capital, and symbolic power. To acquire deference, one must exhibit the appropriate demeanor towards others, and one must be equipped with the cultural capital that fits the institutional context. Once acquired, deference is a kind of credit that can be deployed as the symbolic power to frame (define) actions, situations, and events in ways that induce compliance and shape the social order. I also consider how these dynamics are gendered in particular contexts. Data from a two-year ethnographic study of "Costen Elementary School" brings the emergent theory to life. The theory helps explain interactions at the school and the efforts of administrators who tried to change the institutional order from autonomy to accountability. By analyzing how deference and symbolic power operate in an institutional context, I advance the "negotiated order" branch of symbolic interaction. Because social psychologists have long held that actions are informed by the definition of the situation, I argue that symbolic power is central to the field. (Contains 19 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A