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J. I. (Hans) Bakker

Subject Psychology
Social Psychology » Interactional Sociology

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405124331.2007.x


The concept of “facework” (or face-work) was articulated by Erving Goffman in 1955 in his book Interaction Ritual . He provides a “subject–object” model of human symbolic interaction in which individuals interact with other individuals in terms of subjective perceptions. Whatever is “universal” about human beings, it is not – according to Goffman – something automatic. Instead, it is a matter of self-regulation and the ritual recreation of “face.” He defines the term “face” as “the positive social value a person effectively claims for himself.” If a person makes “a good showing,” then the image of him or her is perceived by that social actor as approved by members of the reference group. If there is a mismatch between expectations and events, there is likely to be a negative emotional reaction. When a person presents a certain face, then we say she “has” that face. In conventionalized encounters there is little choice about which face to “be in” or “maintain.” A person can be said to be “in wrong face” or “out of face” when she cannot integrate the situation or deal with it in expected ways. When one is out of face there may be a sense of shame, while being “in face” tends to be associated with pride. An interaction involves people trying to follow expected patterns. Expected signs such as glances and gestures are either given or withheld ( Collins 1988 : 16). Greetings and farewells ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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