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What kind of game is everyday interaction?

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  • Hendrik Vollmer

Abstract

This paper discusses the compatibility of Thomas Schelling’s concept of coordination games with microsociological analyses of everyday interaction offered, among others, by Erving Goffman and Harold Garfinkel. This compatibility is based on the mutual premise that participants of everyday interaction are continuously involved in the tacit coordination of expectations. Whereas game theory focuses on distinct patterns of interdependence between participants, microsociologists have been pointing to principles of affirmation adhered to by participants of everyday interaction in establishing and preserving coordination. Tacit coordination of expectations is complemented by signalling and by processes of framing, explored by Goffman in terms of keys and frames and by game theorists in terms of correlated equilibrium selection and signalling games. Implications for social theory are discussed, particularly with respect to welfare aspects of everyday interaction.

Suggested Citation

  • Hendrik Vollmer, 2013. "What kind of game is everyday interaction?," Rationality and Society, , vol. 25(3), pages 370-404, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:ratsoc:v:25:y:2013:i:3:p:370-404
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