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Booing: The Anatomy of a Disaffiliative Response

Steven E. Clayman
American Sociological Review
Vol. 58, No. 1 (Feb., 1993), pp. 110-130
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2096221
Page Count: 21
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Booing: The Anatomy of a Disaffiliative Response
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Abstract

Audience booing is a form of collective behavior that emerges within and has consequences for interactions between speaker and audience. Prior research on applause serves as a comparative reference point for an analysis of booing. The principal finding is that applause and booing are coordinated by different mechanics of collective behavior. Applause usually begins promptly and its onset is coordinated primarily by audience members acting independently in response to prominent junctures in a speech. Booing is usually delayed and is coordinated primarily by audience members monitoring each other's conduct so as to respond together. This asymmetry between applause and booing is explained in terms of general structures of interaction as documented in previous research on affiliative and disaffiliative responses in ordinary conversation. Thus, the sequential structure of interaction embodies a robust framework within which particular activities, including collective activities like applause and booing, are managed.

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