Talking Big About Small Talk: A Contemporary Theoretical Model for Phatic Communication

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González Manzo, Fabiana
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Mount Saint Vincent University
This thesis views phatic communication as a discursive mechanism relevant to the establishment and maintenance of social bonds, even in contemporary times. The theoretical framework that guides this research is Thomas Scheff's sociological Bond Theory. Through it, the functional significance of phatic communication in interpersonal relationships and society at large is characterized. Further attention is given to phaticity in social media, where online social platforms are used to establish and maintain bonds through different mechanisms. The framework for this purpose comes from the work of sociologist Vincent Miller and his concept of phatic culture. A theoretical model for phatic communication is elaborated through a classificatory scheme that identifies the formal and structural characteristics of phatic communication and phatic gestures. In consort with this process, representative illustrations of phatic communication are presented and explained from fabricated and secondary data. Sources for analysis include social occasions, such as greetings and spontaneous conversation in transient space, dialogues in work places, and exchanges in private contexts.
small talk , Online communication , Phatic communication