Monday, November 13, 2017

Erving Goffman - short summary

Erving Goffman Coined the idea of self-presentation: very radical at the time. Was a variant of Interpretative sociology: a sociology of people interpreting and attaching meaning to their world. You are either for agency or structuralism: schism in sociology. Tries to find implicit rules that govern life. Disturbances are used to discover these.

Dramaturgical approach. According to Goffman social life is like a performance: a play enacted on a stage, in front of an audience. Why? Because you want an audience to test your identities (front stage) and teammates with whom you withdraw backstage and can converse casually. Tact: helping people out when people make mistakes. Goffman’s methodology was participant observation, often very deep. Institutions that should deal with madness, criminality or illness often enhance the phenomena they should reduce because within these total institutions only two identities are possible: right and wrong. Goffman’s focus on micro situations makes him lose track of the bigger picture.  

See also: The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life by Erving Goffman

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