A roommate is a big deal to people and students attending a college, especially when you are in 14’ by 14’ room with a single person for a whole year. Students will tend to go with a person that they know or find a person online. Potluck could be a blessing or the worst decision the student could make that year. It could be a blessing or hell everyday for any gender at a university. Why would one person make so much of difference in an everyday life of an average collegiate student? The answer is communication. That person for the next 36 weeks is going to be the main attention of your communicative life. You will see, talk, and interact with your roommate most likely more than most people of your everyday life in college. Communication processes, styles, and systems are numerous and vary from roommates to roommates. Male roommates tend to room with other males and women roommates tend to room with other women roommates in universities. There are numerous similarities and differences between male roommates and female roommates. In my two sets of field notes I have studied each genders interaction and communication with each respected roommate. I have developed theories that each gender has similar and different power struggles in everyday communication while men are more direct and open about building solidarity between each other than the women who use words and conversations to build relationships between each roommate.
Paige and Brynn are the first set of girl roommates while Maggie and Ali are the other set. Tyler and Adam are the first set of guy roommates and Mike and Cole are the other set. I recorded the fieldnotes at Indiana University in the McNutt dorms. Each pair of roommates was in their respective dorm rooms.
Power is not something a superhero possesses, but what happens in conversational structures and instances everyday. Power struggles exist in conversations everyday to achieve the social business desirable. Kiesling’s defines power the best by saying “power is action that modifies action”. Both genders demonstrate power struggles and use a certain type of power to modify actions and achieve the social business that they wish to acquire.
Tyler and Adam demonstrate the power struggles of a dorm like situation. While playing video games in the dorm a power struggle began to take place in their virtual soccer game. They both started out talking a lot of “smack” and talking shit to the other opponent. The power was even or nonexistent at that point because the chance to establish the power has not taken place yet. The game began and the struggle shifted over to Adam right away because he scored a goal. The power didn’t shift exactly because he only scored a goal in a video game on a Xbox, but because the action of Adam scoring a goal in the FIFA soccer modified the actions of Tyler from then on out. The modified actions of Tyler were that he could not talk trash anymore because he was losing and not superior because of the mortified action. The action of Adam scoring also managed to modify Adam’s actions has well. As you could tell from line 24 from transcript 2, Adam’s modified action was being able to talk more trash and to just talk more often in general because of the superiority he now possessed over Tyler. As the game continued Adam was able to score more and more and thus maintaining and insuring the power to him. Tyler and Adam’s actions modified more and more with each action goal that Adam scored.
Power struggles I noticed were easy to swing or sway back to a different direction. As Tyler scored a couple of goals after being down on Adam, the power dimmed from Adam a bit and Tyler began to achieve power little by little. The actions of Tyler scoring modified him into talking more and Adam into talking less. Adam won the game and the power struggle was won and the right to talk “smack” and brag was…