Erving Goffman

Erving Goffman (11 June 1922 – 19 November 1982) was a Canadian-born American sociologist, social psychologist, and writer, considered by some "the most influential American sociologist of the twentieth century".[1]

Erving Goffman
Born(1922-06-11)11 June 1922
Died19 November 1982(1982-11-19) (aged 60)
  • Canadian
  • American
EducationSt. John's Technical High School
Alma mater
Known forTotal institution
Various symbolic interactionist concepts:
RelativesFrances Bay (sister)
AwardsFellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1969; Guggenheim Fellowship, 1977; Cooley-Mead Award, 1979; Mead Award, 1983
Scientific career
FieldsSymbolic interactionism
InstitutionsNational Institute of Mental Health; University of California, Berkeley; University of Pennsylvania; American Sociological Association; American Association for the Abolition of Involuntary Mental Hospitalization
ThesisCommunication Conduct in an Island Community (1953)
Doctoral advisorW. Lloyd Warner
Other academic advisorsAnselm Strauss
Doctoral studentsJohn Lofland, Harvey Sacks, Emanuel Schegloff, Eviatar Zerubavel
InfluencesRay Birdwhistell, Herbert Blumer, Émile Durkheim, Sigmund Freud, C. W. M. Hart, Everett Hughes, Alfred Radcliffe-Brown, Talcott Parsons, Alfred Schütz, Georg Simmel, W. Lloyd Warner, Dennis Wrong

In 2007, The Times Higher Education Guide listed him as the sixth most-cited author of books in the humanities and social sciences, behind Michel Foucault, Pierre Bourdieu, and Anthony Giddens, and ahead of Jürgen Habermas.[2]

Goffman was the 73rd president of the American Sociological Association. His best-known contribution to social theory is his study of symbolic interaction. This took the form of dramaturgical analysis, beginning with his 1956 book The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. Goffman's other major works include Asylums (1961), Stigma (1963), Interaction Ritual (1967), Frame Analysis (1974), and Forms of Talk (1981). His major areas of study included the sociology of everyday life, social interaction, the social construction of self, social organization (framing) of experience, and particular elements of social life such as total institutions and stigmas.

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