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.
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