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Goffman, Erving (1922–82)

Gregory W. H. Smith

Subject Sociology » Social Psychology, Sociological and Social Theory

Place Northern America » United States of America

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

People Goffman, Erving

Key-Topics self

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405124331.2007.x


The work of Erving Goffman centered on explicating the structures and processes of the “interaction order,” the domain of social life brought about and facilitated by the physical co-presence of persons. In a series of extraordinary writings published from the early 1950s through the early 1980s, Goffman developed an utterly singular vision of social life, expressed in a highly distinctive language that reflected his extraordinary observational acuity and his unmatched sociological grasp of metaphor and irony. Born in Mannville, Alberta, Canada to Jewish migrants from the Ukraine, Erving Manual Goffman was educated at the universities of Manitoba (1939–42), Toronto (BA 1945) and Chicago (MA 1949; PhD 1953). His doctoral studies included a spell at Edinburgh University's department of social anthropology, which sponsored and funded 12 months of fieldwork on the remote Shetland island of Unst. Following research posts at Chicago and with the National Institute of Mental Health (where he conducted fieldwork at St. Elizabeth's Hospital, Washington, DC for Asylums ), he was appointed to the faculty of the University of California, Berkeley's sociology department in 1958, becoming a full professor in 1962. While teaching at Berkeley he influenced a number of graduate students, including John Lofland, Dorothy Smith, David Sudnow, and Harvey Sacks. He also used his proximity to Nevada ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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