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Freedom of Speech and Segmenting the Citizens
Unformatted Document Text:  ICA-10-10582 16 In his Constitution of Society, Giddens (1984) draws our attention to one of Goffman’s contributions to our understanding of importance of social encounters. This contribution, which was largely ignored according to Giddens, was Goffman’s stress upon the role played by routine social encounters in sustaining of trust and enhancing the protection of social continuity (p.70). Giddens defines social occasions 5 as "gatherings, which involve a plurality of individuals". What is important to notice, at this point, is the claim that these social occasions "form, dissolve and reform" more often than not following certain recognized patterns of conduct (p.71). The repetition of patterns, including not only the physical setting but also the conventions of interaction and gestures during co-presence, is key to the routinization of social encounters that enable the ’fixity’ of institutions (p.72). The process of routinization, which increases an agent’s ability to predict her day-to-day activities and thereby maintain her "ontological security", is also crucial for her sense of autonomy (p.50). The vitality of routine interactions lies not only in their being integral to continuity of the "personality of an agent" but also their being integral to the continuity of the social institutions (p.60). The question then becomes what happens when the routine is interrupted? This answer is provided in Bettelheim's account of what took place in the concentration camps during Second World War. The destruction of the daily routines was eventually followed by a new kind of routine in which the autonomous agent was re-socialized into a machine-like unit who (or which) refrained contact from its fellows (p.62). While it would be beyond the boundaries of reason to claim that routine exclusion of individuals from public sphere would have such severe consequences, it can be hypothesized that the underlying patterns of change would be very similar. The loss of social contact introduces a new routine, in which diversity in our interactions is the exception rather than the rule. Consequently, excluded agents would be deprived of the opportunities to practice 5 See, Giddens, 1984, p.71 where he defines social occasions as forms of social encounter which take place in the more formalized contexts.

Authors: Popescu, Mihaela. and Baruh, Lemi.
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ICA-10-10582
16
In his Constitution of Society, Giddens (1984) draws our attention to one of Goffman’s
contributions to our understanding of importance of social encounters. This contribution,
which was largely ignored according to Giddens, was Goffman’s stress upon the role played
by routine social encounters in sustaining of trust and enhancing the protection of social
continuity (p.70). Giddens defines social occasions
5
as "gatherings, which involve a plurality
of individuals". What is important to notice, at this point, is the claim that these social
occasions "form, dissolve and reform" more often than not following certain recognized
patterns of conduct (p.71). The repetition of patterns, including not only the physical setting
but also the conventions of interaction and gestures during co-presence, is key to the
routinization of social encounters that enable the ’fixity’ of institutions (p.72). The process of
routinization, which increases an agent’s ability to predict her day-to-day activities and
thereby maintain her "ontological security", is also crucial for her sense of autonomy (p.50).
The vitality of routine interactions lies not only in their being integral to continuity of the
"personality of an agent" but also their being integral to the continuity of the social
institutions (p.60). The question then becomes what happens when the routine is interrupted?
This answer is provided in Bettelheim's account of what took place in the concentration
camps during Second World War. The destruction of the daily routines was eventually
followed by a new kind of routine in which the autonomous agent was re-socialized into a
machine-like unit who (or which) refrained contact from its fellows (p.62).
While it would be beyond the boundaries of reason to claim that routine exclusion of
individuals from public sphere would have such severe consequences, it can be hypothesized
that the underlying patterns of change would be very similar. The loss of social contact
introduces a new routine, in which diversity in our interactions is the exception rather than
the rule. Consequently, excluded agents would be deprived of the opportunities to practice
5
See, Giddens, 1984, p.71 where he defines social occasions as forms of social encounter
which take place in
the more formalized contexts.


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