The sociology of social recognition: competition in social recognition games

TitleThe sociology of social recognition: competition in social recognition games
Publication TypeWorking Paper
AuthorsRottiers, S.
PublisherHerman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp
Place PublishedAntwerp
Year of Publication2010
NumberWP 10/04
Date Published09/2010

Evidence shows that social recognition works as a motive for many of
people’s behavior. Within sociology, a longstanding tradition has shown
that this recognition motive produces social and symbolic boundaries,
encompassing consumption patterns and different lifestyles, and that the
need for social recognition can, for example, explain violent behavior. In
this paper, I provide a conceptual framework of how social interactions are
affected by the need for social recognition. A natural starting point to
theorize about social interactions is Goffmanian Game Theory. However,
Goffman excludes underlying motivations in his analyses. Therefore, I
supplement the analysis with elements from rational choice theory; a
theory that, in itself, scarcely bears attention to the internal structure of
social interactions. This study results in an analytical scheme of the actors
and factors that affect social recognition games. Also, it reveals the
competition that is likely to occur within particular social recognition
games. As a result, this framework allows a better understanding of how
social recognition affects social interactions, and offers a heuristic tool for
the analysis of the impact of social recognition on a variety of behavioral

KeywordsGoffmanian Game Theory approach, social interactions, Social recognition
Citation Key2025
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