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ERIC Number: ED299654
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1988
Reference Count: 0
The Utility of Erving Goffman's Theoretical Perspective, Metaphorical Models, and "Serious Ethnography" for the Rhetoric and Communication Scholar.
Corder, Lloyd E.
Erving Goffman has made significant, sustained contributions to the understanding of human behavior. Goffman studied the minute details of human interaction and how social arrangements protect and promote those interactions. Central to Goffman's study of human interaction was the concept of "self." Goffman believed that the self has two parts:"official" and "all-too-human." Both selves are communicated by interpersonal means, where individuals choose clothing, mannerisms, and speech to influence the outcome of conversations and interactions with others. Goffman's theoretical perspective, his use of "incongruent phrases," and his practice of "serious ethnography" or "ethnomethodology" are useful concepts and research techniques for the rhetoric and communication scholar. His methods have been called empirical, but were not based on quantification--a radical stance for his time. His primary research goal was to show that the behavior considered to be common is really uncommon, when viewed from different perspectives. Goffman has attempted to avoid being classified along any one theoretical line or associated with any particular school of thought. The ability to articulate the subtle implications of how society is maintained is a powerful part of Goffman's work. At the same time, however, Goffman understood that he was a part of what he was studying, that his mere presence had an impact on how people behaved, and that the situation in which the episode occurs influences its meaning. Communication reality is a symbolic reality that is held together, because people believe it is that way. (Thirty-eight footnotes are included.) (RAE)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Ethnomethodology; Goffman (Erving)