Firsthand observations of recreational swimmers in a university pool are used to show how leisure participants, informally and largely nonverbally, structure and maintain their interaction in predictable and sociable patterns. The paper builds on these observations to show the kinds of social norms, statuses, and roles that constitute basic elements of social structure in the leisure setting of a pool, and it examines how regular leisure participants in such a setting maintain their informal social order through subtle or obvious, but usually nonverbal, means of social control. Analysis of the construction and maintenance of informal social order in a pool is presented here as a spring-board for enriching our understanding of patterns and processes of informal, nonverbal social organization and social control in other settings.
Direct all correspondence to Howard L. Nixon II, Dept. of Sociology, University of Vermont, 31 So. Prospect St., Burlington, VT 05405.