"Race" as an interaction order phenomenon: W.e.B. Du Bois's "double consciousness" thesis revisited

Sociological Theory 18 (2):241-274 (2000)
This article reports on a study of interaction between Americans who self-identify as Black and White that reveals underlying expectations with regard to conversation that differ between the two groups. These differences seem not to have much to do with class or gender, but rather vary largely according to self-identification by "race." The argument of this paper will be that the social phenomena of "race" are constructed at the level of interaction whenever Americans self-identified as Black and White speak to one another. This is because the Interaction Order expectations with regard to both self and community vary between the two groups. Because the "language games" and conversational "preferences" practiced by the two groups are responsive to different Interaction Orders, the "working consensus" is substantially different, and as a consequence, conversational "moves" are not recognizably the same. It will be argued that a great deal of institutional discrimination against African Americans can be traced to this source
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DOI 10.2307/223314
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