encounter

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encounter

[en′kau̇n·tər]
(physical chemistry)
A group of collisions, each of which consists of two molecules that collide without reacting and do not separate immediately because of the cage of surrounding molecules.

encounter

any meeting between two or more people in a face-to-face interaction. Everyday life is made up of a series of such interactions, some of them with persons we know well, but many others with people with whom we may have only a fleeting contact. Described by GOFFMAN (1961b,1967,1971) as situations of copresence, encounters involve SOCIAL ACTORS in ‘positionings’ of the body and knowledgeable attention to FACE WORK, creating and preserving the numerous, distinctive kinds of encounter that can be observed. See also FACE-TO-FACE INTERACTION, INTERACTION ORDER AND INTERACTION RITUAL.