Assignment 2: Breaching Experiment – 60 Points
For this assignment, you are each going to conduct your own breaching experiment. To accomplish this, you will use the sociological perspective you have been developing to determine a topic and analyze your results. You can find nuermous examples on-line (on youtube) by searching for “breaching experiments”.
1. Identify a common social activity with clear norms (rules of behavior).
2. Consider the social space and the social players involved in the activity.
3. Determine a specific way that you are going to violate a specific norm.
4. Perform the “breach” numerous times (at least five (5) times).
5. Note the reactions of the people involved in and around the activity.
6. Note your feelings and thoughts while conducting the experiment.
Write a 2-4 page paper (in essay format) on your experiences. Include material from the text that can be applied to your work, with citations and a reference page. In your paper, be sure to include the following:
Part 1: Begin with a discussion of the background and data.
1. Discuss your project design and clearly identify the activity of interest.
2. Apply Goffman’s dramaturgical approach.
a. Discuss the space; identify the stage(s), the players, the statuses, and roles.
3. Discuss how each breaching event impacted the goings on. (Consider this the data portion of the paper; be clear, concise and descriptive. Hold analysis for the last next potion.)
a. What did you do? What did you expect to happen? What really happened? Who reacted and how did they react.
b. How did you act when performing the breach? How did you feel when performing the breach? What were your thoughts?
Part 2: Analyze what occurred. Reflect and synthesize your understanding by addressing the following.
1. What aspects of the space, time, event, etc. influenced the situation? (e.g. because it was early in the morning people may have been more short tempered, or because it was in Church people tried to appear more tolerant, because it was a bar people had less inhibition in their reaction, etc.)
2. What aspects of the action (breach) influenced the situation? Why was it a breach? How would you compare it to other ways one could breach protocol? What are people really reacting to? For example, if I disrupt the progression of the line I am not influencing the time at which they get to the front, that is determined by how fast all of the preceding transactions occur, but it is slowing the progression of the line.
3. What forces are working on the ‘audience’? Do certain types of people react differently (e.g. young versus old, men versus women, etc.)? How do these relate to macro-level pressures of society? Are they following another set of rules in terms of sanctioning behavior? What are they and are they violated (by whom)?
4. How did you feel and what did you think when performing the breach? Did it get easier or harder as you repeated the breach? Discuss how this (if this) helped you understand how your actions (and those of others) are determined by micro- and macro-social interactions.
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