Erving Goffman (1922-1982)

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  • Humanistic tradition (social interaction)
  • Shared cultural meanings that guide indiviual actions
  • Interpretive mthod of analysis 
  • Wrote "The Presentation of the Self in Everyday Life" (1959)


  • Micro sociology- everyday, face to face interaction
  • School of symbolic interactionism- interaction between individuals
  • Self- respresentations interpreted by others
  • Symbols= mannerisms, etc convey meanings= status, etc
  • Weber was a major influence on Goffmans work

Main Ideas

  • How we represent ourselves to others
  • Humans are active and knowledgable creatures
  • Interaction Rital: Actors- perform roles, Contacts- how we interact, Encounters- where we interact, Performances- what we are interacting, Celebrations- large groups of people
  • We complete a performace- Dramaturlogical approach
  • Roles are dependnt


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