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.
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".
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