Part of the SAGE Social Thinker series, this book serves as a concise and inviting introduction to the life and works of Erving Goffman, one of the most prominent social theorists in postwar sociology. Goffman's ideas continue to influence scholars in various fields and have also attracted many readers outside conventional academia. Goffman's overall research agenda was the exploration of what he termed the interaction order—that is, the micro social order that regulates the co-mingling of people in each other's immediate presence. He coined several new concepts (face-work, impression management, role distance, civil inattention, etc.) with which to grasp and understand the complexities and basic social restructuring of everyday life, many of which are now part of sociology's standard vocabulary.

Goffman's Sociology of Deviance

Goffman's sociology of deviance

In this chapter, we examine Goffman's works on deviance. The primary focus will be Goffman's ethnographic studies at the psychiatric hospital, St. Elizabeth's, conducted in the late 1950s, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and published in Asylums (1961) as well as his more formal sociological work on the management of stigma and spoiled identities in Stigma (1964a). Both books bear witness to Goffman's interest in the consequences and management of violation of social norms and social categorization and illustrate his concern with the question of social order.

A Sociologist's View of the Cuckoo's Nest

Not only did Goffman catalyze the interactionist interpretation of dramaturgy in order to understand human self-presentation (Tseëlon, 1992b, p. 501), he was ...

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