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Everyday Life

Semester and Year SP 2009
Course Number K20.1502
Section 001
Days Tue,Thu
Time 3:30 PM - 4:45 PM
Units 4.0
Level U
Foundation Requirement


Nothing is more taken-for-granted than everyday life: dinner-table conversations, work, shopping, classroom discussions, bull sessions in the dorm.  And yet each situation is a complex production of its members’ talk, movement, thought and relationships.  This course will give students theoretical and analytical tools for unpacking these common encounters, for understanding how people manage to construct situations that they can interpret and participate in competently, and for examining ways in which they are affected by, react to and resist larger social forces.  We will analyze talk and non-verbal behavior as they shape activities and relationships; we will look at the way practical intelligence operates in different situations; we will track cultural differences in everyday behavior.  We will examine the ways in which larger social structures and processes—class, gender, ethnicity, race, and so on—are produced, performed and changed in the course of everyday life, as well as the ways they shape people’s actions and thoughts.  Along the way, we will tackle such issues as human agency vs. structural determinism; the processes of social change; the construction of identity, self and nation; and literary and cinematic representations of the quotidian.  Readings may include Mead’s Mind, Self and Society, Goffman’s The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, Hall’s The Silent Language, Erickson’s Talk and Social Theory, Rogoff and Lave’s Everyday Cognition, Geertz’s The Interpretation of Cultures, and Steinbeck’s The Red Pony.

Course Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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