Deciphering Goffman : The Structure of his Sociological Theory Revisited book cover
1st Edition

Deciphering Goffman
The Structure of his Sociological Theory Revisited

ISBN 9780367085353
Published October 18, 2018 by Routledge
208 Pages

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Book Description

Challenging the ‘classical’ conception of Goffman’s sociology, this book offers a new interpretation based on a comprehensive examination of previous interpretations and critical assessments of Goffman’s work.

Epistemologically, the book acknowledges the important but overlooked influences of both pluralism and particularly of pragmatism, where not only Simmel but also James and Dewey played a pivotal role in his work, thus rooting Goffman’s thought in symbolic interactionism. With attention to two central theoretical principles underlying his work—the pertinence of studying social interaction as given and the need and warrant to study face-to-face interaction in its own right—the author presents a rigorous examination of Goffman’s own writings to uncover the clear and recognizable process of systematization that Goffman followed throughout. In this manner, the book reveals the structure of Goffman’s theory by way of mapping the main themes, topics, concepts, empirical referents, methodological principles and theoretical frameworks relevant to the structure of his thought. A fresh examination of the structure of Goffman’s work that sheds light on the core of his unique approach, this new study of one of the central figures of sociology constitutes an important contribution to scholarship in social theory and the history of sociology.

Table of Contents



Part I. Diverging interpretations

Chapter 1. Between opposing schools of thought

Chapter 2. Dominant sociology and modern epistemology

Chapter 3. Non-modern approaches

Part II. The philosophical base 

Chapter 4. Simmel, American pragmatism, and Goffman

Part III. Theoretical background 

Chapter 5. Theoretical principles 

Part IV. The structure of Goffman’s sociological theory

Chapter 6. The selection of concepts

Chapter 7. The willing adjustment and remedial action

Chapter 8. The necessary adjustment and defensive action

Chapter 9. The hinge principle


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Ramón Vargas Maseda has lectured at the Ibero-American University, the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico, and, most recently, in the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, where he was Professor of Sociology.