The concept of facework refers to how interactants communicate to present their own identities (faces) and respond to others’ identities in social situations. Facework is important to impression management because it directs attention to the interdependence and ritual that underlie interactants’ social construction, acceptance, and rejection of selves (faces) in particular contexts. Facework was introduced by Erving Goffman, a sociologist whose approach is often referred to as “dramaturgical analysis” because he invoked a theatrical metaphor and its associated jargon to describe human interaction. This entry first explains the nature of performance and the concept of facework and its functions. It then describes the implications for the study of reputation.

Several key concepts provide the foundation for the facework concept. Goffman’s first major work, The Presentation of ...

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