With the day unexpectedly being September 11th, most of the observations were focused on the memorial service being held. Although this conflicted with the goal of observing everyday people and life, our observations still provided insight into social behavior there existed such a contrast between the somber mood of the memorial service and the cheerful socializing of college students. With our observations, we devoted time into analyzing the deriving the meaning and symbols that behaviors exhibit. In contrast to normal daily life, where we are constantly taking mental shortcuts in order to survive, the exercise highlights the fine details that underlie the skills and tricks that we’ve spent a lifetime picking up subconsciously. The behaviors people exhibit when they’re alone, when they’re with a partner, when they’re with a group, understanding the social context of such behaviors is a skill that we pick up without any thought.
An issue I’ve noticed in my observations is a tendency to project my bias onto the people I’m observing. While watching the 9/11 memorial, the people wearing their uniforms exuded authority that made the service feel more about honoring those fallen. Instead had there been no one in uniform, I would assume more that the event was about grieving friends and family.