Group Pleasures: Collaborative Commitments, Shared Narrative, and the Social Life of Fun

Professor Gary Fine from the Department of Sociology, Northwestern University, US will be presenting a Public Lecture on Group Pleasures during his visit to the ANU School of Sociology in March 2018.

Thursday 8 March 2018 | 5pm – 7pm
Allan Barton Forum, CBE Building, 26C Kingsley Street, Acton, ACT

As a consequence of their size and fragility, small groups depend on cohesion. Central to group continuation are occasions of collective pleasure that encourage attachment. These times are popularly labelled “fun.” While groupness can be the cause of fun, I emphasize the effects of fun, as understood by participants. Shared enjoyment, built upon the availability of time and space, creates conditions for communal identification. These moments serve as commitment devices building affiliation, modelling positive relations, and moderating interpersonal tension. Further, they encourage narration, providing an appealing past, an assumed future, and a sense of groupness. The rhetoric of fun supports interactional smoothness in the face of potential ruptures. Relying on a set of extended ethnographies, I argue that both the experience and recall of fun bolsters group stability.

Gary Fine speaking on group pleasures

Presented by ANU’s Sociology Department