Total Drek

Or, the thoughts of several frustrated intellectuals on Sociology, Gaming, Science, Politics, Science Fiction, Religion, and whatever the hell else strikes their fancy. There is absolutely no reason why you should read this blog. None. Seriously. Go hit your back button. It's up in the upper left-hand corner of your browser... it says "Back." Don't say we didn't warn you.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Customers do the Darndest Things!

We sociologists often do things that others find a little... strange. Some of us are a tad embarrassed by this, but personally I revel in it. Let's be honest here for a moment, shall we? The weirdness of sociologists in general just helps me blend in a little better.

One of the things we do that earns us this reputation for oddity is referred to by the innocuous name "breaching experiments." These experiments, developed by Erving Goffman, attempt to plumb the depths of human interactional rules by violating them. In essence, since a set of understandings about situations facillitates interaction, we all learn to interpret situations in light of socially defined rules. When these rules are broken, however, things get interesting. Responses often begin with attempts to ignore the transgressor, or hostile efforts to compel conformity.

Why do I bring this up? Because the boys over at SomethingAwful have provided us with a pretty decent home effort at a breaching experiment. It's worth taking a look at, especially if you have a high-bandwidth connection. Or, you know, if you're not entirely enamored with the sort of cult that has developed around Apple products.

4 Comments:

Blogger tina said...

I don't know, Drek. That clip made me LOVE the Apple Store.

Monday, June 13, 2005 10:31:00 AM  
Anonymous lago said...

I know that Goffman described a lot of behavioral norms in "Behavior in Public Places," but isn't the term "breaching experiment" specifically associated with Garfinkel and ethnomethodology?

Monday, June 13, 2005 12:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Peter said...

Lovely - I saw a while ago a good breaching experiment, via a Rocky training montage spoof. I particularly like the take-down by the clerk about 2/3 through...

http://www.kontraband.com/show/show.asp?ID=1851

Tuesday, June 14, 2005 3:04:00 PM  
Blogger Drek said...

Nice one, Peter. Weird- but nice.

Lago: Garfinkle, Goffman, eh... whatever. I'm sure I'd remember the right name if I weren't taking so many amphetamines.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005 9:18:00 AM  

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