Erving Goffman

Erving Goffman, 1922–82, American sociologist, b. Manville, Alta. His field research in the Shetland Islands resulted in The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life (1956), which analyzes interpersonal relations by discussing the active processes by which people make and manage their social roles. Using metaphors of the stage ( "dramaturgy" ), Goffman describes how ordinary individuals give performances, control their scripts, and enter settings that make up their lives. This active notion of "role" is often associated with the symbolist interactionist school of George Herbert Mead, which argues that humans manipulate social situations by selecting appropriate roles and by maintaining some distance from these roles. Goffman later studied deviance and the "total institution" in Asylums (1961); he later returned to patterns of communication in Frame Analysis (1974) and Forms of Talk (1981). Widely recognized for his distinctive writing style, he served as president of the American Sociological Association in 1981.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2013, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Erving Goffman
Tom Burns.
Routledge, 1992
Forms of Talk
Erving Goffman.
University of Pennsylvania Press, 1981
Relations in Public: Microstudies of the Public Order
Erving Goffman.
Basic Books, 1971
Dramaturgical Analysis of Social Interaction
A. Paul Hare; Herbert H. Blumberg.
Praeger, 1988
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "Presentation of Self"
Goffman and Social Organization: Studies in a Sociological Legacy
Greg Smith.
Routledge, 1999
Beyond the Enlightenment: Lives and Thoughts of Social Theorists
Roger A. Salerno.
Praeger, 2004
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 24 "Erving Goffman: The Drama of Self"
Psychology of the Image
Michael Forrester.
Routledge, 2000
Librarian’s tip: "Goffman and the Dramaturgical Self" begins on p. 86
Aspects of Confused Speech: A Study of Verbal Interaction between Confused and Normal Speakers
Pamela Shakespeare.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1998
Librarian’s tip: "Goffman and the Interaction Order" begins on p. 6
Writing / Disciplinarity: A Sociohistoric Account of Literate Activity in the Academy
Paul A. Prior.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1998
Librarian’s tip: "Complicating the Dyad: Erving Goffman on Participation Frameworks" begins on p. 144
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