Publication Date

April 2012


The meaning that actors give to an interaction setting can affect the definition of the situation and all elements within the setting (the actors involved, the behaviors enacted, and the emotions that are deemed appropriate). Cultures develop shared meanings for identities, behaviors, emotions, interaction settings, and other social elements. Subcultures also develop shared meanings and these can be very different from the meanings that nonmembers give to the same social element. For example, members of the punk and straightedge subcultures might give the term “straight” quite a different meaning than would nonmembers. The implications of this are that when two actors meet in a situation in which they give extremely different meanings to the environment around them, confusion (at best) is likely to ensue. In this study, I explore the extent to which members of a subculture give distinct meanings to interaction settings that are central to their value system. I do this using data collected in the jamband subculture, a modern version of the group that followed the Grateful Dead rock music band.