Cultures of exclusion conference

As this Warwick conference approaches, my thoughts return to social interactionism and symbolic interactionism, although the latter (Mead, Blumer) may be a stretch too far.  This consideration has been stimulated too by a recent event in my life, subjective as it may seem in the historical prospectus.  Recently, my college alma mater communicated that this year it would entertain 50th-anniversary recruits (matriculands, as it has it) for its annual dinner.  The insistence, however, on black tie is anathema to some of us (well, me).  I consequently declined to attend.  Is this self-exclusion?  I suggest not entirely.  In part, the culpability rests with the college which is inflexible in allowing lounge suits (those who wish could still retain black tie).  The exclusion is a consequence of interactionism or, as I re-read it, Goffman’s Behavior in Public Places (1963).  It approximates to the expected rules which are not legislative but to which people are expected to conform.  It is not quite a question of Goffman’s ‘situational proprieties’, which are matters of etiquette.  It would be interesting if the participants in their papers address this wider issue: ‘situational proprieties’ (how people who do not respond in the anticipated fashion in face-to-face (public) situations become excluded).

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