Interaction Ritual Chains / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $17.19
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 59%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (11) from $17.19   
  • New (8) from $27.98   
  • Used (3) from $17.19   

Overview

Sex, smoking, and social stratification are three very different social phenomena. And yet, argues sociologist Randall Collins, they and much else in our social lives are driven by a common force: interaction rituals. Interaction Ritual Chains is a major work of sociological theory that attempts to develop a "radical microsociology." It proposes that successful rituals create symbols of group membership and pump up individuals with emotional energy, while failed rituals drain emotional energy. Each person flows from situation to situation, drawn to those interactions where their cultural capital gives them the best emotional energy payoff. Thinking, too, can be explained by the internalization of conversations within the flow of situations; individual selves are thoroughly and continually social, constructed from the outside in.

The first half of Interaction Ritual Chains is based on the classic analyses of Durkheim, Mead, and Goffman and draws on micro-sociological research on conversation, bodily rhythms, emotions, and intellectual creativity. The second half discusses how such activities as sex, smoking, and social stratification are shaped by interaction ritual chains. For example, the book addresses the emotional and symbolic nature of sexual exchanges of all sorts--from hand-holding to masturbation to sexual relationships with prostitutes--while describing the interaction rituals they involve. This book will appeal not only to psychologists, sociologists, and anthropologists, but to those in fields as diverse as human sexuality, religious studies, and literary theory.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Christian Century - Donald B. Kraybill
Collins argues in this pathbreaking book that ritual—whether in face-to-face conversations or at national presidential funerals—is the key sociological factor that ties group structure and collective beliefs together. . . . Collins plows new ground in several ways. First, he argues that ritual is the central category for all sociological analysis because ritual connects and mediates group structure and beliefs. . . . Second, his work breaks new paths because it proposes a comprehensive theory of ritual grounded in everyday solutions. . . . Finally, Collins bushwhacks new paths when he emphasizes the importance of the emotional energy, what he calls 'collective effervescence,' that is generated by ritual.
American Journal of Sociology - Richard Munch
Collins's book is a major contribution to contemporary sociological theory. His approach—a genuinely sociological microfoundation of sociology—is well chosen and carefully carried out . . . Interaction ritual theory helps to enrich our knowledge about a core process of social life. Interaction Ritual Chains is a book offering rich insights into this core process.
American Journal of Sociology - Richard Münch
Collins's book is a major contribution to contemporary sociological theory. His approach—a genuinely sociological microfoundation of sociology—is well chosen and carefully carried out . . . Interaction ritual theory helps to enrich our knowledge about a core process of social life. Interaction Ritual Chains is a book offering rich insights into this core process.
From the Publisher

"Collins again demonstrates why he is considered one of the leading social theorists. This . . . work of Collins, in particular, transcends the boundaries of sociology. . . . This is an outstanding work for theoretically oriented professional and advanced students in sociology, social psychology, and psychology."--Choice

"Collins argues in this pathbreaking book that ritual--whether in face-to-face conversations or at national presidential funerals--is the key sociological factor that ties group structure and collective beliefs together. . . . Collins plows new ground in several ways. First, he argues that ritual is the central category for all sociological analysis because ritual connects and mediates group structure and beliefs. . . . Second, his work breaks new paths because it proposes a comprehensive theory of ritual grounded in everyday solutions. . . . Finally, Collins bushwhacks new paths when he emphasizes the importance of the emotional energy, what he calls 'collective effervescence,' that is generated by ritual."--Donald B. Kraybill, Christian Century

"Collins's book is a major contribution to contemporary sociological theory. His approach--a genuinely sociological microfoundation of sociology--is well chosen and carefully carried out . . . Interaction ritual theory helps to enrich our knowledge about a core process of social life. Interaction Ritual Chains is a book offering rich insights into this core process."--Richard Münch, American Journal of Sociology

Choice
Collins again demonstrates why he is considered one of the leading social theorists. This . . . work of Collins, in particular, transcends the boundaries of sociology. . . . This is an outstanding work for theoretically oriented professional and advanced students in sociology, social psychology, and psychology.
Christian Century
Collins argues in this pathbreaking book that ritual—whether in face-to-face conversations or at national presidential funerals—is the key sociological factor that ties group structure and collective beliefs together. . . . Collins plows new ground in several ways. First, he argues that ritual is the central category for all sociological analysis because ritual connects and mediates group structure and beliefs. . . . Second, his work breaks new paths because it proposes a comprehensive theory of ritual grounded in everyday solutions. . . . Finally, Collins bushwhacks new paths when he emphasizes the importance of the emotional energy, what he calls 'collective effervescence,' that is generated by ritual.
— Donald B. Kraybill
American Journal of Sociology
Collins's book is a major contribution to contemporary sociological theory. His approach—a genuinely sociological microfoundation of sociology—is well chosen and carefully carried out . . . Interaction ritual theory helps to enrich our knowledge about a core process of social life. Interaction Ritual Chains is a book offering rich insights into this core process.
— Richard Münch
American Journal of Sociology
Collins's book is a major contribution to contemporary sociological theory. His approach—a genuinely sociological microfoundation of sociology—is well chosen and carefully carried out . . . Interaction ritual theory helps to enrich our knowledge about a core process of social life. Interaction Ritual Chains is a book offering rich insights into this core process.
— Richard Munch
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691123899
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 7/5/2005
  • Series: Princeton Studies in Cultural Sociology Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 464
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Randall Collins is Professor of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of eleven books, including "The Sociology of Philosophies: A Global Theory of Intellectual Change, Four Sociological Traditions", and "The Credential Society".
Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

Interaction Ritual Chains


By Randall Collins

Princeton University Press

Randall Collins
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0691090270


Chapter One

THE PROGRAM OF INTERACTION RITUAL THEORY

A THEORY OF INTERACTION ritual is the key to microsociology, and microsociology is the key to much that is larger. The smallscale, the here-and-now of face-to-face interaction, is the scene of action and the site of social actors. If we are going to find the agency of social life, it will be here. Here reside the energy of movement and change, the glue of solidarity, and the conservatism of stasis. Here is where intentionality and consciousness find their places; here, too, is the site of the emotional and unconscious aspects of human interaction. In whatever idiom, here is the empirical / experiential location for our social psychology, our symbolic or strategic interaction, our existential phenomenology or ethnomethodology, our arena of bargaining, games, exchange, or rational choice. Such theoretical positions may already seem to be extremely micro, intimate, and small scale. Yet we shall see they are for the most part not micro enough; some are mere glosses over what happens on the micro-interactional level. If we develop a sufficiently powerful theory on the micro-level, it will unlock some secrets of large-scale macrosociological changes as well.

Let us begin with two orienting points. First, the center of micro-sociological explanation is not the individual but the situation. Second, the term "ritual" is used in a confusing variety of ways; I must show what I will mean by it and why this approach yields the desired explanatory results.

Situation rather than Individual as Starting Point

Selecting an analytical starting point is a matter of strategic choice on the part of the theorist. But it is not merely an unreasoning de gustibus non disputandum est. I will attempt to show why we get more by starting with the situation and developing the individual, than by starting with individuals; and we get emphatically more than by the usual route of skipping from the individual to the action or cognition that ostensibly belongs to him or her and bypassing the situation entirely.

A theory of interaction ritual (IR) and interaction ritual chains is above all a theory of situations. It is a theory of momentary encounters among human bodies charged up with emotions and consciousness because they have gone through chains of previous encounters. What we mean by the social actor, the human individual, is a quasi-enduring, quasi-transient flux in time and space. Although we valorize and heroize this individual, we ought to recognize that this way of looking at things, this keyhole through which we peer at the universe, is the product of particular religious, political, and cultural trends of recent centuries. It is an ideology of how we regard it proper to think about ourselves and others, part of the folk idiom, not the most useful analytical starting point for microsociology.

This is not to say that the individual does not exist. But an individual is not simply a body, even though a body is an ingredient that individuals get constructed out of. My analytical strategy (and that of the founder of interaction ritual analysis, Erving Goffman), is to start with the dynamics of situations; from this we can derive almost everything that we want to know about individuals, as a moving precipitate across situations.

Here we might pause for a counterargument. Do we not know that the individual is unique, precisely because we can follow him or her across situations, and precisely because he or she acts in a familiar, distinctively recognizable pattern even as circumstances change? Let us disentangle what is valid from what is misleading in this statement. The argument assumes a hypothetical fact, that individuals are constant even as situations change; to what extent this is true remains to be shown. We are prone to accept it, without further examination, as "something everybody knows," because it is drummed into us as a moral principle: everyone is unique, be yourself, don't give in to social pressure, to your own self be true-these are slogans trumpeted by every mouthpiece from preachers' homilies to advertising campaigns, echoing everywhere from popular culture to the avant-garde marching-orders of modernist and hypermodernist artists and intellectuals. As sociologists, our task is not to go with the flow of taken-for-granted belief-(although doing just this is what makes a successful popular writer)-but to view it in a sociological light, to see what social circumstances created this moral belief and this hegemony of social categories at this particular historical juncture. The problem, in Goffman's terms, is to discover the social sources of the cult of the individual.

Having said this, I am going to agree that under contemporary social conditions, very likely most individuals are unique. But this is not the result of enduring individual essences. The uniqueness of the individual is something that we can derive from the theory of IR chains. Individuals are unique to just the extent that their pathways through interactional chains, their mix of situations across time, differ from other persons' pathways. If we reify the individual, we have an ideology, a secular version of the Christian doctrine of the eternal soul, but we cut off the possibility of explaining how individual uniquenesses are molded in a chain of encounters across time.

In a strong sense, the individual is the interaction ritual chain. The individual is the precipitate of past interactional situations and an ingredient of each new situation. An ingredient, not the determinant, because a situation is an emergent property. A situation is not merely the result of the individual who comes into it, nor even of a combination of individuals (although it is that, too). Situations have laws or processes of their own; and that is what IR theory is about.

Goffman concluded: "not men and their moments, but moments and their men." In gender-neutral language: not individuals and their interactions, but interactions and their individuals; not persons and their passions, but passions and their persons. "Every dog will have its day" is more accurately "every day will have its dog." Incidents shape their incumbents, however momentary they may be; encounters make their encountees. It is games that make sports heroes, politics that makes politicians into charismatic leaders, although the entire weight of record-keeping, news-story-writing, award-giving, speech-making, and advertising hype goes against understanding how this comes about. To see the common realities of everyday life sociologically requires a gestalt shift, a reversal of perspectives. Breaking such deeply ingrained conventional frames is not easy to do; but the more we can discipline ourselves to think everything through the sociology of the situation, the more we will understand why we do what we do.

Let us advance to a more subtle source of confusion. Am I proclaiming, on the micro-level, the primacy of structure over agency? Is the structure of the interaction all-determining, bringing to naught the possibility of active agency? Not at all. The agency / structure rhetoric is a conceptual morass, entangling several distinctions and modes of rhetorical force. Agency / structure confuses the distinction of micro / macro, which is the local here-and-now vis-à-vis the interconnections among local situations into a larger swath of time and space, with the distinction between what is active and what is not. The latter distinction leads us to questions about energy and action; but energy and action are always local, always processes of real human beings doing something in a situation. It is also true that the action of one locality can spill over into another, that one situation can be carried over into other situations elsewhere. The extent of that spillover is part of what we mean by macro-patterns. It is acceptable, as a way of speaking, to refer to the action of a mass of investors in creating a run on the stock market, or of the breakdown of an army's logistics in setting off a revolutionary crisis, but this is a shorthand for the observable realities (i.e., what would be witnessed by a micro-sociologist on the spot). This way of speaking makes it seem as if there is agency on the macro-level, but that is inaccurate, because we are taken in by a figure of speech. Agency, if we are going to use that term, is always micro; structure concatenates it into macro.

But although the terms "micro" and "agency" can be lined up at one pole, they are not identical. There is structure at every level. Micro-situations are structures, that is to say, relationships among parts. Local encounters, micro-situations, have both agency and structure. The error to avoid is identifying agency with the individual, even on the micro-level. I have just argued that we will get much further if we avoid reifying the individual, that we should see individuals as transient fluxes charged up by situations. Agency, which I would prefer to describe as the energy appearing in human bodies and emotions and as the intensity and focus of human consciousness, arises in interactions in local, face-to-face situations, or as precipitates of chains of situations. Yes, human individuals also sometimes act when they are alone, although they generally do so because their minds and bodies are charged with results of past situational encounters, and their solitary action is social insofar as it aims at and comes from communicating with other persons and thus is situated by where it falls in an IR chain.

On the balance, I am not much in favor of the terminology of "agency" and "structure." "Micro" and "macro" are sufficient for us to chart the continuum from local to inter-local connections. The energizing and the relational aspects of interactions, however, are tightly connected. Perhaps the best we might say is that the local structure of interaction is what generates and shapes the energy of the situation. That energy can leave traces, carrying over to further situations because individuals bodily resonate with emotions, which trail off in time but may linger long enough to charge up a subsequent encounter, bringing yet further chains of consequences. Another drawback of the term "agency" is that it carries the rhetorical burden of connoting moral responsibility; it brings us back to the glorification (and condemnation) of the individual, just the moralizing gestalt that we need to break out from if we are to advance an explanatory microsociology. We need to see this from a different angle. Instead of agency, I will devote theoretical attention to emotions and emotional energy, as changing intensities heated up or cooled down by the pressure-cooker of interaction rituals. Instead of emphasizing structure, or taking the other tack of backgrounding it as merely a foil for agency, I will get on with the business of showing how IRs work.

Conflicting Terminologies

My second orienting point is the following. It might seem that encapsulating a comprehensive theory of micro-sociology is heavy duty to pin on the term "ritual." The term has been used in roughly the fashion that I will emphasize by some sociologists, notably Emile Durkheim and his most creative follower in micro-sociology, Erving Goffman: that is, ritual is a mechanism of mutually focused emotion and attention producing a momentarily shared reality, which thereby generates solidarity and symbols of group membership. But this theoretical heritage is not exact, and since Goffman, for example, wrote in a different intellectual era and had different theoretical alliances, I will have to defend my own particular usage by showing its fruitfulness for our problems. More troubling is the fact that "ritual" is a term in common parlance, where is it is used in a much more restricted sense (as equivalent to formality or ceremony)1 than in this neo-Durkheimian family of sociological theories. Further confusions arise because there is a specialized body of anthropological work on ritual, and yet another body of "ritual studies" within the field of religious studies; and these usages tend to overlap in confusing ways, sometimes with the Durkheimian tradition, sometimes with the restricted sense of everyday usage. One of my preliminaries must be to display the overlaps and differences in theoretical connotation.

For orientation, let us note the principal divergence between anthropological and microsociological usage, while bearing in mind that neither is uniform. Anthropologists have tended to see ritual as part of the structure of society, its formal apparatus for maintaining order, or for manifesting its culture and its values. This is the reverse of the microsociological approach: instead of ritual as the chief form of micro-situational action, ritual merely reflects macro-structure; ritual is a doorway to something larger, higher, and fundamentally static in contrast to the fluidity of IR chains. A long-standing anthropological theme is that ritual taking place in time reveals the timeless, the local manifests the total. In the varying terminologies of intellectual movements of the later twentieth century, this is the approach of structuralism, of symbolic anthropology, of semiotics and cultural codes. In general, the terminological usage of ritual in religious studies is closer to the doorway-to-the-transcendental approach of cultural anthropology than to the local source of action in radical microsociology. Where the microsociological approach takes the situation as the analytical starting point of explanation, the structuralist / culturological approach starts at the other end, with an overarching macro-structure of rules and meanings. The challenge for microsociology is to show how its starting point can explain that what often appears to be a fixed global culture is in fact a situationally generated flux of imputed rules and meanings.2 The problem is more than terminological. Durkheim provided sociologists with a mechanism for situational interaction that is still the most useful we have. He set this model up in the case of religious ritual in a way that enables us to see what social ingredients come together in a situation and make a ritual succeed or fail. Goffman broadened the application of ritual by showing how it is found in one degree or another throughout everyday life; in the secular realm as in the sacred and official worlds, ritual plays a key role in shaping both individual character and stratified group boundaries. The model holds potentially even more wide-ranging applications. The problem is that the intellectual history of the twentieth century weaves through and around Durkheimian themes but in a fashion that has often twisted them into quite different positions. Instead of a clearly formulated causal mechanism of situational ingredients producing variations in solidarity, emotion and belief, several intellectual movements have turned away the study of ritual toward an emphasis on reconstructing evolutionary history, on the functionality of social institutions, or the preeminence of culture.

Continues...


Excerpted from Interaction Ritual Chains by Randall Collins Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents


List of Figures ix
Preface xi
Acknowledgments xxi
PART I. Radical Microsociology
Chapter 1
The Program of Interaction Ritual Theory 3
Situation rather than Individual as Starting Point 3
Conflicting Terminologies 7
Traditions of Ritual Analysis 9
Subcognitive Ritualism 9
Functionalist Ritualism 13
Goffman's Interaction Ritual 16
The Code-Seeking Program 25
The Cultural Turn 30
Classic Origins of IR Theory in Durkheim's Sociology of Religion 32
The Significance of Interaction Ritual for General
Sociological Theory 40
Chapter 2
The Mutual-Focus / Emotional-Entrainment Model 47
Ritual Ingredients, Processes, and Outcomes 47
Formal Rituals and Natural Rituals 49
Failed Rituals, Empty Rituals, Forced Rituals 50
Is Bodily Presence Necessary? 53
The Micro-Process of Collective Entrainment in Natural Rituals 65
Conversational Turn-Taking as Rhythmic Entrainment 66
Experimental and Micro-Observational Evidence on Rhythmic Coordination and Emotional Entrainment 75
Joint Attention as Key to Development of Shared Symbols 79
Solidarity Prolonged and Stored in Symbols 81
The Creation of Solidarity Symbols in 9/11 88
Rules for Unraveling Symbols 95
Chapter 3
Emotional Energy and the Transient Emotions 102
Disruptive and Long-Term Emotions, or Dramatic Emotions and Emotional Energy 105
Interaction Ritual as Emotion Transformer 107
Stratified Interaction Rituals 111
Power Rituals 112
Status Rituals 115
Effects on Long-Term Emotions: Emotional Energy 118
Emotion Contest and Conflict Situations 121
Short-Term or Dramatic Emotions 125
Transformations from Short-Term Emotions into Long-Term EE 129
The Stratification of Emotional Energy 131
Appendix: Measuring Emotional Energy and Its Antecedents 133
Chapter 4
Interaction Markets and Material Markets 141
Problems of the Rational Cost-Benefit Model 143
The Rationality of Participating in Interaction Rituals 146
The Market for Ritual Solidarity 149
Reinvestment of Emotional Energy and Membership Symbols 149
Match-Ups of Symbols and Complementarity of Emotions 151
Emotional Energy as the Common Denominator of Rational Choice 158
I. Material Production Is Motivated by the Need for Resources for Producing IRs 160
II. Emotional Energy Is Generated by Work-Situation IRs 163
III. Material Markets Are Embedded in an Ongoing Flow of IRs Generating Social Capital 165
Altruism 168
When Are Individuals Most Materially Self-Interested? 170
The Bottom Line: EE-Seeking Constrained by Material Resources 171
Sociology of Emotions as the Solution to Rational Choice Anomalies 174
The Microsociology of Material Considerations 176
Situational Decisions without Conscious Calculation 181
Chapter 5
Internalized Symbols and the Social Process of Thinking 183
Methods for Getting Inside, or Back Outside 184
Intellectual Networks and Creative Thinking 190
Non-Intellectual Thinking 196
Anticipated and Reverberated Talk 197
Thought Chains and Situational Chains 199
The Metaphor of Dialogue among Parts of the Self 203
Verbal Incantations 205
Speeds of Thought 211
Internal Ritual and Self-Solidarity 218
PART II. Applications
Chapter 6
A Theory of Sexual Interaction 223
Sex as Individual Pleasure-Seeking 228
Sex as Interaction Ritual 230
Nongenital Sexual Pleasures as Symbolic Targets 238
Sexual Negotiation Scenes rather than Constant Sexual Essences 250
Prestige-Seeking and Public Eroticization 252
Chapter 7
Situational Stratification 258
Macro- and Micro-Situational Class, Status, and Power 263
Economic Class as Zelizer Circuits 263
Status Group Boundaries and Categorical Identities 268
Categorical Deference and Situational Deference 278
D-Power and E-Power 284
Historical Change in Situational Stratification 288
An Imagery for Contemporary Interaction 293
Chapter 8
Tobacco Ritual and Anti-Ritual: Substance Ingestion as a History of Social Boundaries 297
Inadequacies of the Health and Addiction Model 299
Tobacco Rituals: Relaxation / Withdrawal Rituals, Carousing Rituals, Elegance Rituals 305
Ritual Paraphernalia: Social Display and Solitary Cult 317
Failures and Successes of Anti-Tobacco Movements 326
Aesthetic Complaints and Struggle over Status Display Standards 327
Anti-Carousing Movements 328
The End of Enclave Exclusion: Respectable Women Join the Carousing Cult 329
The Health-Oriented Anti-Smoking Movement of the Late Twentieth Century 331
The Vulnerability of Situational Rituals and the Mobilization of Anti-Carousing Movements 337
Chapter 9
Individualism and Inwardness as Social Products 345
The Social Production of Individuality 347
Seven Types of Introversion 351
Work-Obsessed Individuals 351
Socially Excluded Persons 353
Situational Introverts 354
Alienated Introverts 355
Solitary Cultists 356
Intellectual Introverts 357
Neurotic or Hyper-Reflexive Introverts 360
The Micro-History of Introversion 362
The Modern Cult of the Individual 370
Notes 375
References 417
Index 435
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)