Sociology Index

Erving Goffman

Among distinguished sociologists, Erving Goffman has made a major contribution to the study of social interaction, encounters, gatherings and small groups in Behaviour in Public Places (1963), Interaction Ritual (1967), and Relations in Public (1971). Erving Goffman has also made important contributions to role analysis in Encounters (1961a). Erving Goffman's principal concern has been with the constituents of fleeting, chance or momentary encounters, that is with the sociology of everyday life.

To grasp the orderliness of such meetings, Goffman employed drama as an analogy for the staging of social meetings in The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life (1959).

For Erving Goffman, the social order is always precarious because it is disrupted by embarrassment, withdrawal and the breakdown of communication; these issues are explored in Stigma (1964). He has also contributed to the analysis of inmates in mental institutions in Asylums (1961b). Erving Goffman's recent publications include Frame Analysis (1974) and Gender Advertisements (1979).