Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The terms "Grooming" and "stroking" revisited by Marian

I read your comments on my first assignment carefully. I agree with you in your comments, "If we have "involvement strategies", it seems we must have a concomitant "involvement response". This is where the consideration of groomong and stroking comes in: as signs of listener involvment. Even so, the concepts of grooming and stroking are not fully developed". You commented, "Grooming is more concerened with "currying favor" whereas stroking is concerend with acknowledgement."

I looked up the definition of "grooming"From Wikipedia again. The term "grooming" is essentially related with direct and physical activity including cleaning, shaving, combing, and licking etc. I wonder whether the term is REALLY appropriate to interprete the involvement activities between storyteller and the audience. Because the involveme activities are neither direct nor physically touched. They are more indirect and mentally touched to someone's heart.

I am not sure that the status and ranking of participants in the storytelling event can be interpreted in terms of "grooming" and "stroking". It would be better if we have some reference for that. Since you are the person that wants to apply these terms into the storytelling event, you must PURSUDAE me with examples which covers the original meaning. In order to do my assignment to use those terms in the analysis, I myself must somehow be confirmed.

Most of listeners' responses are laughing or clapping without any "touched" involvement. If there are groomings between human beings (see below), they are very intimate and physically touched between lovers, between parents and children, between families, and between close friends. In other words, the grooming behavior occurs when the social relationship is very close. However, the social distance between storyteller and the audience is not close at all. In addition,storytellers' involvement strategies mainly consist of verbal and body gestures alone on the stage without any touch.

Would it be ok for us to ignore the literal and original meaning of grooming and stroking? In addition the grooming behaviors are mainly concerend with animals rather than human beings (see below).


I am getting lost and very confused. Please help me and make me clear about my confusion if you can. Tannen talked abouth involvement in discourse and involvement strategies but did not mention the terms "grooming" and "stroking" at all. I can understand what and how you desribe the stroytelling event. But we still need to be very careful to adopt the new terms to interpret the event. A couple of my main concers are Cited From Wikipedia below. I would like to hear how my classmates think of my revisit. Your comments and feedback are welcome!!!

Cited From Wikipedia
All animals regularly clean themselves to keep their fur, feathers, scales, or other skin coverings in good condition. This activity is known as personal grooming, preening, or auto-grooming and is a form of hygiene.

Many social animals groom each other, an activity known as social grooming, mutual grooming, or allo-grooming. Items removed during social grooming are identical to those removed by personal grooming. Social grooming also takes the form of stroking, scratching, and massaging. Grooming in humans typically includes bathroom activities such as primping: washing and cleansing the hair, combing it to extract tangles and snarls, and styling. It can also include cosmetic care of the body, such as shaving.

A few empirical studies of human social grooming exist. They rely on self-report survey and experimental methodology of adults living primarily in the U.S. and other Western cultures. People report grooming romantic partners more than grooming people they have other types of relationships with like family members, friends, and strangers. Grooming is associated with increased relationship satisfaction, trust, and experience of family affection while growing up. People who groom, as opposed to touch each other without grooming, are perceived to be better potential parents, more in love with the person they have groomed and more caring and committed to them. Women, but not men, tend to think people who have groomed one another are romantically involved. People also think that if people who have groomed one other are romantically involved, they are in a long-term relationship rather than one that has just begun. Human mutual grooming plays a role in pairbonding.


Mary B said...

The term "stroking" came up in the article from Games People Play, by Eric Berne. The term comes from Transactional Analysis (the article calls it Transnational) a form of psychotherapy popular in the late 1960s and 1970s. The term "stroking" is used in describing social interaction. I think it would be appropriate to use in analyzing our recordings of conversational storytelling, as well as any social interaction in the formal storytelling analysis.

According to Locke in, Why We Don't Talk to Each Other Anymore, manual grooming is a form of social relaxation. Dominant animals are groomed more than subordinate ones; parallels can be seen in social interactions, as well as competitive grooming. I think these are more apparent at storytelling (and other) events if you have some knowledge about the participants (teller and some audience members).

David said...

These terms are most definitely being applied in a figurative sense. Locke suggests that the physical act of grooming becomes extended into the communicative act of speaking when participants are too many or too distant to be physically touched. The behaviors that are attention getting or that garner praise and increased status for the actor or that confer praise and status on another may in this sense be seen as grooming and stroking transactions. This is more dramatically represented in situations of contest And competition where there are prizes and awards. Consider the popular show "American Idol." Contestants (low status) are performing for the approval of judges (hi status). The judges respond with either negative strokes (harsh criticism and rejection) or positive strokes (praise and acceptance) or, most damning, with no response (stroke) at all. The contestants are grooming the judges with respectful acts of contrition as well as sincere effort to entertain.

Marian said...

Thanks Mary and David for your comments!!

It was ok when I used these terms for the analysis of conversational storytelling. while I am trying to use these terms in the storytelling event, i have a trouble in using the terms because of the following reasons. First, participants in the storytelling event are anonymous ("not known") and different from those in conversational storytelling. We don't know who they are. The terms "Grooming and stroking" should be used where the social distance is very close. Second, there are very few grooming and stroking behaviors from audience such as clapping and laughing. I wonder whether we can include audience verbal replies as grooming behaviors. To me, the terms are being used as "overgeneralization" in our classroom.