As a microsociologist, Erving Goffman (1922–1982) theorized the basic structure of social life through exploring the complexities of ordinary, everyday social interaction. That is, instead of focusing on large-scale processes (e.g., globalization, comparative political systems, the military-industrial complex), he sought to understand social life from the perspective of the individual within group life. As such, Goffman’s contribution to the scientific understanding of social life emphasized the ways in which individuals negotiate their sense of self throughout their mundane experiences in everyday life. Although he never explicitly focused his research on surveillance and privacy, his work—particularly in Asylums: Essays on the Social Situation of Mental Patients and Other Inmates, Interaction Ritual: Essays on Face-to-Face Behavior, and Presentation of Self in Everyday Life—provides theoretical context for understanding ...

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