Erving Goffman's Insight on Face- Work in His Essays on Face-to-face Behavior

Decent Essays

Erving Goffman (1922-1982) held the position of Benjamin Franklin Professor of Anthropology and Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. He served as President of the American Sociological Association in the year leading up to his death in 1982.Goffman is considered as the pioneer of the study of face-to-face interaction and has made a substantial contribution to microsociology. His works are frequently cited throughout literature. On face-work is Goffman’s first essay from his book entitled ‘Interaction Ritual: Essays on Face-to-face Behavior’. It considers the approaches to human interaction alongside five more essays featured in this book and focuses on the concept of the face. His essay on face-work offers an
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The work is separated into sections with sub-headings which clearly identify the themes being discussed. Footnotes appear frequently giving further explanations of points being made and also direct us to sources with added information. This work provides us excellent understanding of how we as individuals present ourselves to others when interacting in our daily lives.

Social interaction is a central theme in sociology and society results from these interactions.
Goffman’s essay on face-work provides its reader with clear and concise explanations of social interaction. The theoretical framework he uses is micro sociology and his analysis takes on a dramaturgical perspective. He gives and precise definitions specific examples to get his point across. Goffman defines face as “the positive social value a person effectively claims for himself by the line others assume he has taken during a particular contact” (Goffman, p.5).
He describes the line as a pattern of verbal and non-verbal acts and gives the impression that they have already been scripted.

Goffman explains how we manage our identity through the concept of face or our self-image. In our everyday interactions we are expected to understand the conventions of language. We adapt the ways in which we speak and the things we say according to where we are or who we are communicating with. We take on roles such as friend, brother, sister, parent, work colleague and present the
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