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'Put the Cheetos Down': Camouflaging the Institutionality of an Interaction
Unformatted Document Text:  16 3; “put the cheetos down”). At another level, Jim’s utterance is institutionally relevant for it displays an orientation to a product that is non-institutional and treats the product as negatively consequential. In other words, “putting the cheetos down” is appropriate because cheetos are unhealthy. Admittedly, unhealthiness is a concern of many people in American society but the reference to cheetos takes on an institutionally specific meaning given it is uttered within an organization that provides health products to the public. In fact, Carl responds to Jim (line 4) by treating Carl’s utterance in this way; he emphasizes the term “nasty” by elongating it to important length (“na::::sty”). Arguably, the term “nasty” is not used to characterize the tastefulness of the product but its unhealthy character. In lines 5-6, Tom also participates in the discussion by orienting to the product in a similar way. First, he repeats part of Jim’s utterances “put the cheetos down” but complements this utterance by asking Carl to “walk away.” Tom’s sentence is reminiscent of an utterance commonly used by police officers when they ask felons to put their guns down and to walk away from their vehicle. In fact, in and through his utterance, Tom linguistically enacts himself, admittedly with a touch of irony, as a police officer. By performing this “role,” he enacts audibly institutional “law” (i.e., to move away from unhealthy foods) and treats Carl’s behaviors as a felony. The interaction is playful. Yet, by engaging in this discourse, Tom marks the significance of institutional values (i.e., cultivating healthy lifestyles) and the way in which these values extend well beyond “doing one’s work.” In other words, working for this organization partially means attending to its values, if not embracing them. In fact, the extent to which organizational members espouse these values is controlled by

Authors: Mirivel, Julien. and Tracy, Karen.
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3; “put the cheetos down”). At another level, Jim’s utterance is institutionally relevant
for it displays an orientation to a product that is non-institutional and treats the product
as negatively consequential. In other words, “putting the cheetos down” is appropriate
because cheetos are unhealthy. Admittedly, unhealthiness is a concern of many people
in American society but the reference to cheetos takes on an institutionally specific
meaning given it is uttered within an organization that provides health products to the
public. In fact, Carl responds to Jim (line 4) by treating Carl’s utterance in this way; he
emphasizes the term “nasty” by elongating it to important length (“na::::sty”).
Arguably, the term “nasty” is not used to characterize the tastefulness of the product but
its unhealthy character.
In lines 5-6, Tom also participates in the discussion by orienting to the product
in a similar way. First, he repeats part of Jim’s utterances “put the cheetos down” but
complements this utterance by asking Carl to “walk away.” Tom’s sentence is
reminiscent of an utterance commonly used by police officers when they ask felons to
put their guns down and to walk away from their vehicle. In fact, in and through his
utterance, Tom linguistically enacts himself, admittedly with a touch of irony, as a
police officer. By performing this “role,” he enacts audibly institutional “law” (i.e., to
move away from unhealthy foods) and treats Carl’s behaviors as a felony.
The interaction is playful. Yet, by engaging in this discourse, Tom marks the
significance of institutional values (i.e., cultivating healthy lifestyles) and the way in
which these values extend well beyond “doing one’s work.” In other words, working
for this organization partially means attending to its values, if not embracing them. In
fact, the extent to which organizational members espouse these values is controlled by


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