Maintaining shared knowledge of acquaintance : methods people use to establish who knows whom
Ekberg, Stuart (2014) Maintaining shared knowledge of acquaintance : methods people use to establish who knows whom. British Journal of Social Psychology, 53(4), pp. 605-621.
Acquaintance is a fundamental determinant of how people behave when interacting with one another. This article focuses on how this type of personal knowledge is an important consideration for people as social actors. Studying naturally-occurring social encounters, I describe how speakers use particular references to convey whether a recipient should be able to recognise a non-present third party. On some occasions, however, the presumption of recognisability or non-recognisability that underpins the use of a particular reference proves questionable. By exploring how recipients can challenge reference forms, and thereby reject claims of either recognisability or non-recognisability, I explain how people establish and maintain a shared understanding of who knows whom. I conclude by discussing motivations for this behaviour, and thereby contribute to understanding the commonsense reasoning that underpins orderly conduct in this aspect of social encounters.
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