Volume 7, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2213-1272
  • E-ISSN: 2213-1280
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Treating uncivil encounters as breaches of the ritual contract of civil inattention (Goffman 1963), this article connects ritualized interaction between strangers in everyday life and the production and maintenance of moral order more generally. The ongoing enactment of the ritual of civil inattention maintains and characterizes the particular kind of moral order that strangers collectively produce in urban public spaces.

Drawing on select empirical materials – from unsolicited commentary to queue-jumping – gathered under the auspices of the Researching Incivility in Everyday Life (RIEL) Project this article builds upon the ‘everyday incivilities’ approach pioneered by Smith, Phillips and King (2010) to examine moral dimensions of everyday encounters between strangers. Preliminary analysis of the RIEL data indicates that ritual dimensions of interaction between strangers in public space provide interactants with , that is, opportunities to align themselves with an idealized moral order through projective moral action.


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Keyword(s): affordances; interaction ritual; moral order; strangers
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