Civil inattention | Article about civil inattention by The Free Dictionary
Also found in: Wikipedia
civil inattention the ways in which an individual shows that he or she is aware that others are present without making those others the object of particular attention (GOFFMAN, Behaviour in Public Places, 1963). For example, the eyes of one person may glance at the other but not directly engage, or quickly disengage should a more direct engaging seem likely to occur. Civil inattention illustrates the existence of an ‘interaction order’ and ‘interaction ritual’ which Goffman sees as governing the general processes of social interactions (see INTERACTION, INTERACTION RITUAL AND INTERACTION ORDER).