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Title: Three Essays on Local Social Orders
Authors: Beckwith, Cary
Advisors: Duneier, Mitchell
Contributors: Sociology Department
Keywords: boomtown
Subjects: Sociology
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation analyzes the role of local social orders in creating community, belonging, inclusion, and moral worth. It draws on survey, observational, and interview data to identify social processes that shape experiences of inclusion and exclusion. It engages these issues across three empirical settings: an oil boomtown, a live-audience television interview, and a sample of communal-living residences. Chapter 1 examines the distribution of “we-feeling,” or a sense of belonging, within small groups, asking how an individual’s position in a local status hierarchy influences his or her sense of belonging. Using data from the Urban Communes Project, it tests a theory in which a “high-status penalty” diminishes we-feeling for high-ranking individuals, leading we-feeling to concentrate in the middle of a status hierarchy. Chapter 2 uses a public embarrassment spectacle to isolate the role of conversational mechanics in Goffmanian face-work. In a televised interview between comedian David Letterman and actor Joaquin Phoenix, Letterman and Phoenix navigate conversational obligations and conventions in ways that threaten Phoenix’s face by “scoring points” at his expense. These “conversation-mechanical points” facilitate content-based points that further damage Phoenix, demonstrating how the structure of talk works in concert with the content of talk in producing a ritual outcome. Chapter 3 explores sources of discontent among migrants to an oil boomtown in North Dakota, focusing on how masculinity shaped their experiences. Oilfield workers aligned their self-understandings and senses of moral worth with the local definition of masculinity. Many found it satisfying to think of themselves as doing a “man’s job,” but the demands of oilfield life subtly undercut many men’s sense of independence and entitlement, thereby frustrating the masculine self-understanding they prized and adding to their discontent with their new surroundings. Together these chapters highlight how social processes that create inclusion and exclusion are grounded in local social orders.
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Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Sociology

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