Orange County Register
CSUF Faculty Member On: Etiquette
Feb. 11, 2014
Being quiet in elevators, saying ‘thank you’ and holding the door for an elderly person are considered forms of etiquette. But what exactly is etiquette?
“Etiquette refers to the myriad of ways we show respect for people, including ourselves, during social interaction,” said Carter Rakovski, Cal State Fullerton associate professor of sociology and sociology department acting chair.
“By symbolic acts of politeness, we demonstrate an understanding of the rules of society and extend deference toward others.”
Etiquette customs can vary across different cultures and even within a single culture depending on social status or occasion, Rakovski said. Violations of these customs can sometimes hurt feelings, destroy relationships or cause someone to doubt your integrity or sanity, she said.
“A large change in etiquette has taken place in our treatment of others in public spaces by the increase in city living,” said Rakovski. “In rural areas, it is common to waive at passing cars or greet everyone you meet on the street.”
In busy cities, people show etiquette by keeping to themselves and not acknowledging others.
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