Hitting too hard? Pillow fights: Defining violence and the rules of interaction

By Gaëlle Chartier


This study analyzes an instance of mock combat—the pillow fight—to understand the process of violent gestures. I draw upon my observations and records of acts that participants define as violent. This analysis enables me to bring to light the cognitive process of the qualification of violence, when the metacommunicative property of social frameworks is brought into question.


  • Pillow fight
  • Mock fight
  • Violence
  • Double framing
  • Confrontational tension
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