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Christie brindley individual data presentation- final report


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Christie brindley individual data presentation- final report

  1. 1. Soc250 Individual Data Report 1 Student Number- 3862240 SOCIOLOGY REPORT- BREAK-UPS ARE HARD, ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU’RE FAMOUS. Image 1: jon-stewart/ By Christie Brindley (3862240) Page 1 of 9
  2. 2. Soc250 Individual Data Report 2 Student Number- 3862240The 13 August episode of the „Jon Stewart Daily Show‟ saw Jon Stewart conduct aninterview with Robert Pattinson, of „Twilight‟ fame. This particular interview,specifically from fifty-five seconds to five minutes and fifty-five seconds, is of valueand interest to the study of sociology as it was Pattinson‟s first interview since his verypublic break-up with „Twilight‟ co-star, Kristen Stewart. Pattinson makes an appearanceon the show to promote his new film, „Cosmopolis‟ which it made known when a shortexcerpt of the film is shown before Pattinson is introduced by Stewart. It is clearlyevident that Stewart and the studio audience just want the details concerning the break-up and to know how Pattinson is coping. Stewart talks around the issue of the break-upand does not address it directly, and it subsequently becomes the „elephant in the room‟and the issue that no-one wants to bring to the surface from the moment Pattinsoncomes on set. This single issue becomes the catalyst from which many other issuesarise, including face work, expectations and obligations. This is a micro interaction,despite being seen internationally and filmed in front of a live studio audience, asMouzelis (1992) believes that all interactions are micro, with some interactions justhaving more far-reaching consequences, thus informing the macro world andinstitutions.This interview and interaction can be interpreted as an attempt at face work, primarilyconcerning the saving of Pattinson‟s face due to his public break-up. In his book, „ThePresentation of Self in Everyday Life‟, (1959) Goffman writes about face work andrefers to the notions of being „out-of-face‟, or when you‟re in unfamiliar territory; being„wrong in face‟, or having something be out of place; suffering from a „loss of face‟, orwhen your face is disrupted; and having committed social death, or when you‟restripped of all that has been attributed to your regular face after a „loss of face‟.Goffmans article on „Cooling the Mark Out: Some Aspects of Adaption to Failure(1952) examines the complete break-down of one‟s self and ego. He describes the“cooler” in this situation as possessing “in essence... the job of handling persons whohave been caught out on a limb...persons whose expectations and self-conceptions havebeen built up and then shattered.” In this interaction, Stewart has the job of “handling”Pattinson as he is the one who‟s self and ego has been “shattered” due to his break-up. Page 2 of 9
  3. 3. Soc250 Individual Data Report 3 Student Number- 3862240Kristen‟s role in this break-up was plastered all over magazine covers and covered inmany tabloid reports (Huffington Post 2012). She was unfaithful to Pattinson and assuch he is suffering from a loss of face before the interview even begins.Face work is evident from the very beginning of this interview and the awkwardnesshighlights this, with Stewart tapping the table and asking uneasily, “so, how are you?”and “what have you been up to?” This prevents Pattinson from being „out of face‟. Thisis due to the public nature of Pattinson‟s break-up with Kristen, as Pattinson‟s face isalready damaged before he walks out on stage. Pattinson is saving his own face bylightening the mood in saying “I was going to start with a joke, I was all prepared, God,damn it.” Pattinson simultaneously saves Stewart‟s face with his remarks and by goingalong with his initial awkwardness. If he didn‟t, Stewart would lose face as a comic andinterviewer.Stewart concurrently saves Pattinson‟s and his own face. He saves Pattinson‟s by notdirectly addressing the issue of the break-up or mentioning Kristen Stewart and bymaking light of the situation. Ice-cream is put on the table not even a minute afterPattinson sits down, with Stewart saying “let‟s do this”, and the mood is instantlylightened, some of the tension relieved, and the stereotypical „boy-bashing‟ isinstigated, with Stewart saying “we‟re just a couple of gals talking” and “boy, you arebetter off, kick her to the curb. This provides an example of being „wrong in face‟ asgender stereotypes are broken for a brief minute, but this allows Pattinson to prevent a„loss of face‟. Stewart gives paternal advice and uses his own personal experiences withbreak-ups and the ice-cream as an attempt to bond and save Pattinson‟s face by, onceagain, making light of the situation.Stewart saves his own face by actually addressing the taboo issue, even though onlyindirectly. Despite the fact that Pattinson was on the show to promote his new film,Stewart would be criticised if he didn‟t at least hint at the issue. Stewart makes this clearwhen they actually start talking about the film six minutes into the interview and he says“ahh, bye, I‟m going to make a sandwich”, referring to the fact that the televisionaudience would have tuned out or switched channels because the thing that everyone Page 3 of 9
  4. 4. Soc250 Individual Data Report 4 Student Number- 3862240wanted to know about has finished being discussed. The initial awkwardness, again,highlights this, too, with the pair almost being „out of face‟ and in foreign territory dueto the fumbling by Stewart.The issue of expectations and obligations is also evident. Expectations are referred to,by Goffman (1967), as a wanted or unwanted thing and an internalisation of anobligation. There is the expectation that Stewart, as the host of the show andinterviewer, would, at the very least, hint at the break-up issue and he does this,primarily, with the ice-cream bonding and at the beginning of the interview. It isHollywood, so there is no denying that relationships are what everyone wants to knowabout and there‟s no way of getting around that, and Stewart meets this expectation. Inher book, Cashmore (2006) examines why society has a preoccupation with the lives offamous persons, despite the fact that their lives will never intersect with our own andwhose fame and wealth make no actual difference to our lives. Cashmore goes onto saythat this celebrity obsessed society and the „celebrity culture‟ is an occurrence that issimultaneously well known in that many individuals are fascinated by celebrities, beingwhy the audience is so concerned with Pattinson and his break-up, but without actuallyunderstanding why they are fascinated, because this particular break-up does not impacton them at all, making the reasons behind this phenomenon unknown.There is also the expectation that Pattinson would not want to discuss the break-updirectly because it‟s a personal issue and he, understandably does not want the world tocritique his personal life. Stewart helps this particular expectation be met by saying thathe hopes and wishes that Pattinson can deal with this issue in peace. This can beinterpreted as a moral obligation on the part of Stewart, as he is doing what is “morallyexpected of [him], as distinct from what is strictly required of [him], by members of ourfamily or people in our community” (Mellema 1998).Goffman (1967) describes obligations as involving a “constraint to act in a particularway.” He also goes on to say that obligations may be performed unthinkingly and thissubsequently allows us to see that when an individual performs an obligation that is notdone unthinkingly, meaning that it ought to be done, if it is an obligation they enjoyed Page 4 of 9
  5. 5. Soc250 Individual Data Report 5 Student Number- 3862240or not enjoyed performing (1967). For Stewart, the obligations come into play with thebreak-up topic, as he has an obligation to his audience to ask about it because it‟s whatthe audience really wants to know, being part of the celebrity obsessed culture thatCashmore (2006) describes.Pattinson, as the interviewee, is under an obligation to answer Stewart‟s questions, evenif just to say “I‟d prefer not to talk about this issue” or “next question, please”. He hasthe obligation to provide a comment, no matter how vague because it‟s the social normand also, he will consequently lose face if he does not respond. Szpunar et al (2007)argue that our capacity to behave in a way which predicts future consequences is“...perhaps one of the most adaptive capacities of the human mind...”, and goes on tosay that “...much of this capacity relies on the engagement of executive operations suchas anticipation, planning, and monitoring.” Stewart would have prepared questionsbased on how he anticipated Pattinson to respond, and vice versa, with Pattinsonpreparing answers to the questions he anticipated Stewart to ask.Symbolic interaction is apparent, specifically where the ice-cream is concerned. Blumerprovides three premises to this theory on symbolic interactionism (Robets 2006), whichstate that individuals act towards a thing on the basis of the meanings that are attachedto that thing; that the meaning associated with the thing derives from the interaction thatthe individual has with the thing; and these meanings are handled through andinterpretative process used by the individual and the things they encounter. WhenStewart places the two containers of ice-cream on the table Pattinson and the studioaudience laugh as they know exactly why Stewart has brought the ice-cream for thisparticular interview and this is because ice-cream and other „junk‟ and „comfort‟ food istypically associated with situations in which individuals are going through a tough time,such as a break-up, which is what Emmer‟s et al examines in their book (1996). Usingthe ice-cream was another way that Stewart was referring to Pattinson‟s break-upwithout mentioning it directly.Accommodative work is also apparent. In the Heritage article „The Morality ofCognition‟ this refers to the idea that “actors are viewed as devising courses of actions Page 5 of 9
  6. 6. Soc250 Individual Data Report 6 Student Number- 3862240on the basis of partially formulated „recipe knowledge‟ (1984). As Stewart andPattinson are talking around the issue of the break-up it is vital that all the partiesinvolved know the meaning behind what Stewart and Pattinson‟s exchange, and thisincludes the audience. As Kristen and Pattinson‟s break-up was so public, it is expectedthat the audience knows why the pair are bonding over eating ice-cream and talkingabout break-ups.This accommodative work also connects to the notion of the „congruency of the systemof relevance‟. Stewart, Pattinson, and the audience, too, need to all be orientated totowards the same concern throughout the interview, being Pattinson‟s break-up withKristen.The way Pattinson presents himself during the interview allows for the use of thedocumentary method of interpretation, allowing Stewart and the audience to gauge howhe is coping since splitting from Kristen and make assumptions based on hisperformance. Goffman describes this method as consisting of “treating an actualappearance as the document of, as pointing to, as standing on behalf of a presupposedunderlying pattern” (Heritage 1984). This allows Stewart and the audience tohypothesise theories, make assumptions and draw conclusions about how he is dealingwith the break-up.Pattinson is performing during this interview, and Goffman (1971) describes theconcept of „idealization‟ which, arguably, is occurring during this interaction. This isthe notion that performers, being Pattinson and Stewart in this case, present themselvesto their observers, the audience, in the way that the observer would like to perceivethem. In this interaction, the audience wants to perceive Pattinson as coping well withhis public break-up, and in turn Pattinson does this by conducting himself in that way.This is also acknowledged by Stewart when he says, “I have been worried about you,but you‟re okay.” Goffman (1971) expands on „idealization‟ and suggests thatperformer‟s conceal what cannot be attributed to presenting an „idealized‟ version ofthemselves. If Pattinson were to cry or make derogatory statements concerning Kristen Page 6 of 9
  7. 7. Soc250 Individual Data Report 7 Student Number- 3862240during the interview, he would not be presenting an „idealized‟ version of himself. Hewould have to do those things in private.Robert Pattinson‟s interview on „The Jon Stewart Daily Show‟ highlights the fact thatdespite the outside factors, being his public break-up, influencing his performanceduring the interaction, he still adhered to the social norms of an interview, even if in amodified way. The obligations and expectations of both Pattinson and Stewart weremet, and met in a way that simultaneously saved both their faces and satisfied the studioand viewing audience‟s curiosity concerning Pattinson‟s state-of-mind after his break-up. This particular interaction provides and insight into many aspects of microsociology. Page 7 of 9
  8. 8. Soc250 Individual Data Report 8 Student Number- 3862240 REFERENCE LIST:Vamburkar, M 2012, Robert Pattinson Takes Comfort In Breakup Ice Cream With JonStewart, accessed 10/09/2012 1: accessed on 10092012, B 2006, Symbolic Interactionsism 2 Developments‟, in Micro SociologyTheory, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillian, pp46-61Goffman, E 1967, „The Nature of Deference and Demeanor‟, in Interaction Ritual:Essays on Face-to-Face Behaviour, Pantheon Books, New York, pp47-96Goffman, E 1971, „Performances‟, in The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life,Penguin, Harmondsworth, pp28-82Heritage, J 1984, „The Morality of Cognition‟, in Garfinkel and Ethomethodology,Polity Press, Cambridge, pp75-102Mouzelis, N 1992, „The Interaction and Order and the Micro-Macro Distinction,Sociological Theory, vol.10, no.1, pp122-128Goffman, E. 1952. On Cooling the Mark Out: Some Aspects of Adaption to Failure,‐--‐Cooling.htm, accessed on 25102012Szpunar, K.K, Watson, J.M & McDermott, K.B 2007, Neural Substrates of Envisioningthe Future, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States ofAmerica, vol.104, no.2, pp642-647, accessed on 25102012, E 2006, Celebrity Culture, Routledge, accessed 25/10/2012 Page 8 of 9
  9. 9. Soc250 Individual Data Report 9 Student Number- 3862240Von Glinow, K 2012, „Liberty Ross: Kristen Stewart Admits Affair With ActressHusband‟,The Huffington Post, 25 August, Posted: 07/25/2012 2:21 pm & Updated: 07/25/20124:14 pm, accessed 25/10/2012, T.M & Hart, R.D 1996, „Romantic Relationship Disengagement and CopingRituals‟, Communication Research Reports, vol.13, no.1, pp8-18Mellema, G 1998, „Moral Expectation‟, The Journal of Value Inquiry, vol.32, pp479-488 Page 9 of 9