Internet Chess and Chat As Interaction Order

Friday, July 18, 2014: 8:30 AM
Room: Harbor Lounge A
Oral Presentation
Anders PERSSON , Department of sociology, Lund University, Sweden
Internet chess and chat as interaction order

Abstract. While playing Internet chess and at the same time using a rudimentary chat function with fixed lines, I have also been observing the chess and chat as a rudimentary interaction order. In this paper I will analyze this interaction order, on the one hand on the basis of observations made while playing Internet chess, on the other hand by using the perspective on the interaction order developed by Erving Goffman. My point of departure is that individuals interact with each other whenever they meet, but under different circumstances and those circumstances conditions the interaction. The paper aims at answering the following research question: How can the interaction order that is developed on an Internet chess site be understood given that the social interaction between the chess players is restricted to the game itself and to a rudimentary chat function? The paper contains a detailed description of the chess play and the chat function at an Internet chess site. What possible interpretations can, for example, be made of one player’s offer to end the chess game with a draw? And, how can one understand the expression “Oooops!” in the chat given the different contexts that present themselves in a chess game? And, finally, how can one use Goffman´s division between expressions given and given off to understand the two mentioned and other interaction situations in Internet chess?