November 23, 1999
Symbolic Interaction Perspectives
Herbert Blumer (1900-1987) was a student and later a professor at the University of Chicago who continued and developed the ideas of Mead. Blumer coined the term symbolic interactionism in 1937, keeping this sociological perspective alive through the early 1950s at Chicago, and then in California where he was a professor at the University of Californa in Berkeley. His ideas were important in the development of sociology in North America, countering the dominant approach of Parsons and playing a major part in developing the symbolic interaction perspective as a major school of sociological thought. Blumer views symbolic interaction in the following manner.
The term "symbolic interaction" refers, of course, to the peculiar and distinctive character of interaction as it takes place between human beings. The peculiarity consists in the fact that human beings interpret or "define" each other's actions instead of merely reacting to each other's actions. Their "response" is not made directly to the actions of one another but instead is based on the meaning which they attach to such actions. Thus, human interaction is mediated by the use of symbols, by interpretation, or by ascertaining the meaning of one another's actions. This mediation is equivalent to inserting a process of interpretation between stimulus and response in the case of human behavior. (Blumer, p. 180).
According to Blumer, the characteristics of this approach are (i) human interaction, (ii) interpretation or definition rather than mere reaction, (iii) response based on meaning, (iv) use of symbols, and (v) interpretation between stimulus and response. Blumer proposed an interpretive model for sociology which "inserts a middle term into the stimulus response couplet so that it becomes stimulus-interpretation-response" (Wallace and Wolf, p. 206). Blumer builds on the approach of Mead and notes how social context works for Mead:
Fundamentally, group action takes the form of a fitting together of individual lines of action. Each individual aligns his action to the action of others by ascertaining what they are doing or what they intend to do—that is, by getting the meaning of their acts. ... "taking the role" of others—either the role of a specific person or the role of a group ... He forms and aligns his own action on the basis of such interpretation of the acts of others. This is the fundamental way in which group action takes place in human society. (Blumer, p. 184).
Blumer argues that sociologists have generally taken a different approach from that of Mead, rarely recognizing society "as composed of individuals who have selves. Instead, they assume human beings to be merely organisms with some kind of organization, responding to forces which play upon them." (p. 185). Sociologists use concepts such as values, norms, roles, classes, and structures and consider these to describe or determine how individuals act. That is, these forces are considered to be independent social phenomena which act on or through individuals, leaving little or no room for the self, interpretation, or meaning. Examples of this approach are when sociologists describe how one variable affects another or individual action is considered to be explained by variables such as social class, religion, or education. The statistical approach certainly expresses this if not used carefully. For example, attitudes or voting behaviour may be "explained" by referring to income, occupation, socioeconomic status, region, education, or age – for example, saying that working class people are class conscious are hence will vote for the NDP. For Blumer, these approaches treat the social action of people "as an outward flow or expression of forces playing on them rather than as acts which are built up by people through their interpretation of the situations in which they are placed" (Blumer, p. 185).
2. Assumptions and Methods
Blumer suggests that sociologists using a symbolic interaction perspective adopt a number of assumptions and methods that are as follows (see Blumer, pp. 186-7).
a. Acting people should be considered to be the basic units of human society. These are like Mead's act, with the acting units being individual people, groups, or organizations. Blumer's view of human society is that it consists of acting units and acting people, and all activity in society springs from such acting units. These acting units are to be viewed in the way that Mead did, as taking on the role of others, using interpretation, and considering meaning in action. Blumer describes society as follows.
Human society is to be seen as consisting of acting people, and the life of the society is to be seen as consisting of their actions. The acting units may be separate individuals, collectivities whose members are acting together on a common quest, or organizations acting on behalf of a constituency … There is no empirically observable activity in a human society that does not spring from some acting unit. This banal statement needs to be stressed in light of the common practice of sociologists of reducing human society to social units that do not act – for example, social classes in modern society. (Blumer, pp. 186-7).
b. Situations. The situations or settings in which action takes place must always be considered. If a family is being examined, the manner in which the family members act will depend on the setting. This might be considered similar to the multiple roles that Parsons imagined individuals as filling. For Blumer though, these roles are not nearly as fixed or determined as in the structural functional approach, and involve interpretation, that is, "the action is formed or constructed by interpreting the situation. … Group life consists of acting units developing acts to meet the situations in which they are placed" (p. 187).
c. Interpretation. The acting unit interprets each situation, and the action is then constructed or carried out in the light of that interpretation. This contrasts with predictable effects based on the influence or stimulus of various factors on the individual. The individual takes into account the "tasks, opportunities, obstacles, means, demands, discomforts, dangers, and the like" (p. 187) and uses these to guide his or her own action.
d. Structures are the common understanding among many actors of appropriate forms of activity in particular situations, based on past experience. That is, acting units tend to adopt patterns or take on repetitive forms of behaviour. While these form the institutions and structures that the structuralist approach examines, these structures are much more flexible and less rigidly interconnected than in the structural approach. Blumer notes that "through previous interaction they develop and acquire common understandings or definitions of how to act in this or that situation. These common definitions enable people to act alike" (p. 187).
e. Study of the process of interpretation must not fall back on either the antecedent conditions or the results as a means of explanation. Rather, a sociologist must catch the process of interpretation, and put oneself in the position of the individual or group being examined. While structures as repetitive patterns of behaviour do exist, each part of those is a process of interpretation by the actors. Typical responses in earlier, similar situations provide a guide to understanding the interpretation of the actor, but cannot be taken as a substitute for developing the understanding of the meaning for the acting unit in each situation. In order to do this, "the student must take on the role of the acting unit whose behavior he is studying" (Blumer, p. 187). Similarly, the result of the action cannot be regarded as an explanation for the action, even if it forms part of a pattern of behavior.
f. Results. Blumer argues that if the sociologist adopts this approach and method, there are two differences from the conventional sociological approach. (i) What sociologists mean by "society" is the place where social action occurs, rather than society being regarded as the determinant of such action. (ii) Organization of, and changes in, society are the result of the activity of acting units and not of "forces" that do not consider the acting units. This approach is useful in considering social change, something that conventional strufctural approaches might find difficulty in explaining. Two examples of statements that Blumer gives are claims made by other sociologists:
Economic depression increases solidarity in families of workers.
Industrialization replaces extended with nuclear families.
These may both be correct statements as historical conclusions, but as stated they (i) ignore the role of interpretive behaviour, or (ii) regard the behaviour as coerced or determined by the factor of change. (paragraph based on Blumer, pp. 191).
3. Premises of the Symbolic Interaction Approach
Wallace and Wolf (pp. 208-212) summarize Blumer’s approach with three premises or assumptions. These are as follows.
a. Human beings act toward things on the basis of the meanings that things have for them. Human consciousness, the ability of humans to indicate something to themselves about their surroundings leads to the possibility of meaning. Individuals in any situation are surrounded by myriad characteristics of their environment, but certain of these are meaningful. Blumer terms this indicating something by taking things from the setting – indications such as a knock at a door or the appearance of a friend (Wallace and Wolf, p. 209). The things extricated from the setting may be gestures, sounds, material things, or what symbolic interactionists call symbols. The individual notes these, has an understanding of them, notes them to himself or herself, and makes decisions concerning how to proceed. The symbols have meaning for the individual in that the individual takes note of them, can consider what the suitability or use of the symbol is, and take appropriate action. That is, the individual interprets these things as meaningful symbols and uses the symbols in action.
b. The meaning of things arises out of the social interaction one has with one’s fellows. Things do not have inherent meaning in and of themselves, but the meaning is socially created, through experience with these as one interacts with other individuals and groups in society. For example, if one does not know a particular language, the sounds uttered by others speaking that language have no meaning for the individual, they are merely sounds. Gestures and practices from other cultures, such as religious or patriotic symbols and rituals, have no meaning for those not familiar with them. But practices, symbols, and gestures of the type frequently experienced generally have meaning for the individual.
Two points should be noted about these. First, it may be difficult for an individual who is part of the social world in which the symbols are developed and used to comprehend them. While a sociologist may need to put himself or herself in the position of the individual using the symbol to understand it, it may also be necessary for the sociologist to adopt a certain distance or method by which the symbol can be identified and examined. Second, while the meaning of the symbol is likely to be developed on the basis of common understandings, there may not be agreement concerning the purpose or appropriateness of the symbol. For example, I may have an understanding of the meaning of the national anthem in the United States, but I may not wish to stand, take off my cap, or place my right hand across my heart. That is, commonly understood meanings imply that the individual must have had enough interaction with others to understand the thing, but it that does not mean that the individual accepts or adopts the symbol or its commonly understood purpose.
c. The meanings of things are handled in and modified through an interpretive process used by the person in dealing with things he encounters. This can be contrasted with a more structural sociological approach. The latter may identify the same symbols as having meaning, but the symbolic interaction perspective considers meaning to be much more flexible. That is, through interaction with others, the individual understands the common meaning associated with the symbols, but may modify and changes this, in a flexible way. The same symbol may have different meanings in different settings, for different individuals, and depending on how the individual interprets the setting. For example, a familiar gesture from a friend may take on a different meaning if one feels somewhat estranged from the friend than if there have been smoother relations. Particular words and phrases may be appropriate in one circumstance and not in another – e.g. calling people by their first name.
Blumer noted how the meanings are a result of a dialogue with oneself. That is, when responding in a particular way to a symbol, the individual notes the symbol and, however quickly or unconsciously, develops a particular response. This stage of interpretation between stimulus and response involves some dialogue with oneself, considering what was meant by the symbol, what one wants to portray in a response, how the other person will understand and interpret the response, and what is the most appropriate response in the circumstance. All this is done in a dialogue with oneself.
4. Aspects of Symbolic Interactionism
Blumer notes that structures do exist as "social roles, status positions, rank orders, bureaucratic organizations" (Wallace and Wolf, p. 212) but that these do not determine behavior. Rather, interaction is between people, not between roles or statuses, so that people form the direction and content of these interactions. For Blumer, the person in a role has considerable flexibility and can improvise within a setting. Interaction theory is thus concerned with plausible lines of action characteristic of particular personalities. It is this flexibility and forms of interaction, rather than the structural aspects of the settings, that interest sociologists who use the symbolic interaction perspective.
The most important aspect of this perspective is that the subject is object to itself (Wallace and Wolf, p. 214). As humans, we can act toward ourselves (or at least imagine this) when confronting others. Action is pieced together as an individual takes the setting into account. Even in common settings, such as a family, a classroom, or cafeteria, conduct must be devised as well. But in contrast to Parsons, the process of interpretation is less structured and more inventive. That is, an individual does not tote up all the positives and negatives for each of the five pattern variables, and on this basis consciously decide on a course of action. Rather, the individual more likely has developed a means for dealing with situations and uses this to interpret a new situation.
Situations that may require more consideration are those where sentiments are an important aspect, and adversary situations. Each of these require considerable interpretation on the part of individuals, and it is here that flexibility and innovation are likely to be useful. It is in groups settings, with commonly understood, orderly, fixed, and repetitious where lines of behaviour by different individuals have been fitted together. A situation such as a family dinner illustrate this. At the same time, Blumer notes that these group actions (i) must be initiated, (ii) are interpreted, transformed, or abandoned, (iii) can be associated with lack of a common definition, and (iv) may lead to a new situation or setting. Thus there is some element of uncertainty even in group actions that have occurred in many similar settings. Coordination and action must be worked out and achieved through interaction of the individuals, it is not just a result of underlying structural factors.
See Wallace and Wolf, pp. 218-226. Inductive approach. Ordinary and familiar settings. Naturalistics and exploratory. Qualitative.
Meaning and interpretation are better defined than Weber or Parsons, and Blumer fills out the explanation of meaning more completely than did Mead.
Begins with actors and situations, much like Parsons, but the theoretical direction taken is very different than Parsons and structural theories.
Importance of symbols, gestures, etc. and their connection to meaning.
B. Goffman’s Approach to Symbolic Interactionism
One of the sociologists who used the symbolic interaction approach to examine human interaction in social settings was Goffman. Goffman did not develop a theoretical approach that would explain all parts of the social world, but he developed an analysis of the interaction order – social situations or "environments in which two or more individuals are physically in one another’s presence" (Goffman Reader, p. 235). These are the situations where we spend much or most of our life – in face-to-face activities involving others, whether these be everyday social situations, situations within organized structures (jobs, school), or unusual social situations (accidents, weddings, funerals). Goffman excels at observation and description, analyzing how people interpret and act in ordinary situations, and he provides guidelines concerning how to examine social situations.
Erving Goffman (1922-1982) was born and raised in Alberta, and attended the University of Toronto and the University of Chicago. He became a professor at Berkeley and later at Pennsylvania. Goffman's best known work is The Presentation of the Self in Everyday Life (1959). Wallace and Wolf note that Goffman spent considerable time describing unusual situations such as prisons and asylums, total institutions, using these to show how individuals used various means (many unauthorized) to maintain their sense of selfhood. He also using these settings to illustrate aspects of everyday life, and the unexamined asumptions that we all make in such situations.
1. Dramaturgy. Goffman's approach is sometimes called dramaturgy or dramaturgical theory in that he used theatre and drama as a metaphor for how the individual presents his or her self and how individuals attempt to preserve selfhood. He examines the roles taken on by the individual, what the different aspects of these roles are, how the individual interprets these roles, and how the individual distances himself or herself from the role. These set the stage for explaining human interaction and it is the human linkages and countless minor syntheses that constitute the interaction order.
Wallace and Wolf note that Goffman examined the front and back regions in a theatrical settting and, by analogy, how the social life can be considered as a theatrical setting. Goffman defines the front region of daily life as that of managing the individual’s impressions. That is, a large part of what individuals do in face-to-face encounters is impression management – ensuring that the image given to others in an encounter is consistent with the role or impression that the individual wishes to convey. This may involve aspects of presentation such as clothing, gestures, speech and what might be termed attitudes or behaviour such as deference, submission, mastery, or emotion.
The back region is what goes on behind the scenes, as the individual practices and prepares impression management. If the individual is aware of the situation, the impressions are likely to be well developed and portrayed to others, with the individual having made appropriate choices in impression management such as using the pattern variables appropriately. This might be compared to Mead’s views of the ability of humans to examine their actions and consider how others might view these actions. Wallace and Wolf note though that Goffman did not emphasize the dialogue with the self, preferring instead to concentrate on the ways in which people interact and manage these interactions (p. 240).
Further, it may be important for the individual to ensure consistency in front and back regions. If there is consistency, the individual presents a self that is really the self – being yourself. In the case of inconsistency, some of these may become apparent if the individual is unable to manage impressions well. The situation of stage-managed presentations by politicians to media is a case in point. Politicians attempt to present positive impressions as part of the front region, but where the back region is inconsistent with this, a slip of the tongue, or unsolicited information may reveal an inconsistency.
Goffman shows the ways in which the individual works to manage impressions and accomplish a successful presentation of the self to others. Much of this work is hidden, and one of the tasks of the sociologist is to observe social situations in order to make more visible some of the unexamined aspects of encounters. For Goffman, all the ordinary situations in which interacting individuals find themselves involve a lot of work on the part of the individual.
2. Interaction Order. Goffman wrote on a wide variety of topics dealing with acts, social situations, and behaviour in these situations. For the most part he was concerned with the acts of individuals or small groups – the interaction order, or micro processes revolving around face-to-face behaviour and interaction among individuals.
Goffman emphasized that people spend much of their waking life moving about in space, making fleeting as well as engrossing contact with others, going to meetings, attending performances ... and celebrating occasions. These kinds of activities, Goffman argued, have not been given sufficient attention in sociological theory, despite the fact that they constitute such a large proportion of human daily experience.
... Goffman did not proclaim that the interaction order is all that is real. Rather, he simply argued that this interaction order constitutes a distinctive realm of reality that reveals its own dynamics. (Turner, p. 447).
For Goffman, the micro or interaction order was not all that existed, there was also a macro order. The structures in the macro order provide the settings within which interaction takes place, and the interaction order is distinct from macrostructural order. While there is obviously some connection between the two, this connection may be a very loose one. There can be a considerable degree of autonomy of individuals in the interaction order, and these interactions cannot just be seen as the working out or effect of forces that come from the macro order.
For example, some writers argue that interactions "reproduce" the social structures. In a structure of domination and exploitation such as the workplace, the manner in which work and extraction of surplus value are structured mean that this domination and exploitation is reproduced through daily work activity. For these writers, the structure of the workplace reflects the class structure of society as a whole, and daily activities in the workplace reproduce this class structure.
For Goffman, this reproduction approach is misleading because it does not recognize the "autonomy of the interaction order" (Turner, p. 448). Goffman notes that "social structures don't ‘determine’ culturally standard displays (of interaction rituals), they merely help select from the available repertoire of them" (Turner, p. 448). There is a loose connection of interaction and structures, but not a straightforward one-to-one connection. At the same time as Goffman recognizes the autonomy and flexibility of the interaction order, he does recognize that norms, practices, regular patterns, typical responses associated with given types of situations, etc. all exist. What the sociologist must do is study these and be a very careful observer. Goffman suggests that this can be done in a scientific spirit, but that "ad hoc observation, cultivation of anecdotes, creative thinking, illustrations from literature, examination of books of etiquette, personal experiences" (Turner, p. 448) all are useful methods.
Goffman argues that the individual is an "active and reflective self capable of making a wide range of choices in determining how it should be presented in the varied social spaces in which it must perform" (Farganis, p. 301). He considered the individual to be very flexible and capable of survival in many difficult situations. Goffman spent considerable time observing people in asylums (total institutions), describing and explaining the strategies that patients used to circumvent their keepers. Institutions such as military camps or asylums try to undermine the sense of the self, and people in those situations are robbed "of all customary means of expressing anger and alienation ... the natural recourse will be to seize on what remains – situational improprieties" (Interaction Ritual, p. 147). In these situations individuals use a variety of means to salvage some sense of human dignity. Goffman sometimes uses these situations as extreme examples to illustrate aspects of interaction in more conventional settings.
3. Accessibility. One issue that Goffman discusses is that of the accessibility of the individual to others (see, Behavior in Public Places, pp. 104-110). Normally, there are standards for accessibility and inaccessibility of an individual to other individuals that are regarded as appropriate for a situation. There are a number of reasons for accessibility – (a) the individual’s own interests may be served by being accessible (if an individual loses a glove, is in danger, turned name card upside down), (b) collective solidarity in urban settings requires some degree of accessibility, as a means of communicating and relaying information, (c) in a social setting where another individual desires to make contact, "it ought not to be refused, for to decline such a request is to reject someone who has committed himself to a sign of desiring contact. ... refusal of an offer implies that the refuser rejects the other's claim to membership in a gathering and the social occasion in which the gathering occurs" (p. 104). At the same time, there may be good reasons for refusing accessibility in face-to-face encounters. There may be physical or other forms of danger associated with the contact, there may be "pleadings, commands, threats, insult, and false information" (p. 105). As a result of an encounter a "relationship wedge" might be established – this may lead in either a positive direction (e.g. male-female to love), to negative effects (many demands on the individual), or possibly to both (parent-child relationships). As a results of these opposing tendencies, there is
a kind of implicit contract or gentleman's agreement that persons sustain: given the fact that the other will be under some obligation, often unpleasant, to respond to overtures, potential initiators are under obligation to stay their own desires. A person can thus make himself available to others in the expectation that they will restrain their calls on his availability and not make him pay too great a price for his being accessible. ... they must not "abuse" their privileges (p. 106).
These will differ by situation – for example, visiting the professor during office hours or after class, but in general there is a reluctance to call the professor at home. In bars or clubs, or in the buffeteria, people are in close proximity, but there are standards of communication that are likely to be followed. In these situations though,
Each individual, then, is not only involved in maintaining the basic communication contract, but is also likely to be involved in hopes, fears, and actions that bend the rules if they do not actually break them.
... as a general rule the individual is obliged to make himself available for encounters even though he may have something to lose by entering them, and ... he may well be ambivalent about this arrangement. Here mental patients provide a lesson in reverse, for they can show that the price that is paid for declining to make oneself available and force us to see that there are reasons why someone able to be accessible should be willing to pay the price of remaining inaccessible. ...
In the case of other patients ... refusal to enter proffered engagements cannot be taken as a sign of unconcern for the gathering, but rather as a sign of alienation based on active feeling such as fear, hate, and contempt, each of which can be understandable in the circumstances, and each of which can allow the patient to show a nice regard for other situational proprieties.
From Behavior in Public Places, p. 107.
Goffman cites examples of mental patients who ignore all others in certain situations, but can react quite normally in others. "I knew of a patient who often blankly declined greetings extended him by fellow patients on the grounds, but who could be completely relied upon not to miss a cue when performing the lead in a patient dramatic production" (p. 108). The inability or refusal to acknowledge others could be taken as sign of alienation or the beginnings of a breakdown. Or they could be appropriate in certain situations – for example, in certain situations where a young adult may ignore requests to talk with a person of the opposite sex. Each encounter and reaction depends on the situation, and in the case of mental patients, refusual to interact may be a way of coping with an intolerable situation.
4. Role Distance. Another example of Goffman’s approach is his examination of roles and role distance. Goffman notes that
A status is a position in some system or pattern of positions and is related to the other positions in the unit through reciprocal ties, through rights and duties binding on the incumbents. Role consists of the activity the incumbent would engage in were he to act solely in terms of the normative demands upon someone in his position. Role in this normative sense is to be distinguished from role performance or role enactment, which is the actual conduct of a particular individual while on duty in his position (Encounters, p. 85).
One situation that Goffman examines in connection with roles is a merry-go-round. (See Encounters, pp. 97-100 for Goffman's analysis and Wallace and Wolf, p. 213 for a short description). A merry-go-round is a situation with a number of roles. The merry-go-round is a "natural and objective social unit." It is a "situated activity system ... yet persons are placed on this floor and something organic emerges. There is a mutual orientation of the participants ... a meshing together of their activity" (p. 97). Role differentiation emerges - those who ride, those who watch, those who take tickets and operate the merry-go-round, and each of these roles implies a certain image of the self. "For the merry-go-round rider, for example, the self awaiting is one that entails a child's portion of bravery and muscular control, a child's portion of manliness, and often a child's title."
Goffman examines role distance by considering people of different ages in their roles as merry-go-round riders. A two year old might find the prospect frightening and fight to stay off the merry-go-round horse – they may become frantic and have to be taken off. At ages three and four, there is still a challenge and the rider "throws himself into the role in a serious way ... passing his parents on each turn, the rider carefully lets go one of his hands and grimly waves a smile or a kiss" (p. 106). At age five, especially for boys, merely riding is not enough – parents are not likely to be allowed by the child to accompany them, one might keep time to the music by tapping his foot, another may lean back almost too far, etc. In this case the routine is accompanied by a self-image "an image from which he apparently withdraws by actively manipulating the situation" (p. 107). By age seven or eight, the child may ride with no hands and test limits. He may "try to show distance by handling the task with bored, nonchalant competence, a candy bar languidly held in one hand" (p. 108). At age eleven or twelve, the horse may became a race horse for the rider and the rider "is just old enough to achieve role distance by defining the whole undertaking as a lark, a situation for mockery" (p. 109). Adults have different methods of showing role distance – one may make a joke of fastening the safety belt, a dating couple ride adjacent horses hold hands to bring sentiment, not daring, to the situation, and so on.
Goffman defines role distance as "this ‘effectively’ expressed pointed separateness between the individual and his putative (commonly accepted) role" (p. 108). That is, "the individual is actually denying not the role but the virtual self (essence of self) that is implied in the role for all accepting performers" (p. 108). Goffman notes that while mastering riding the merry-go-round horse can be accomplished very easily and at a young age, "the task of expressing that it [the developmental task] is not [a challenge] continues for a long time to be a challenge and remains a full necessity." As well, "the immediate audiences figure very directly in the display of role distance" (p. 109). Goffman further notes two ways of establishing role distance: (i) isolating oneself as much as possible for the situation, or (ii) projecting a childish self.
At the end of this essay, Goffman notes that
if an individual is to show that he is a ‘nice guy’' or, by contrast, one much less nice than a human being need be, then it is through his using or not using role distance that this is likely to be done. It is right here, in manifestations of role distance, that the individual's personal style is to be found. And it is argued in this paper that role distance is almost as much subject to role analysis as are the core tasks of roles themselves. (Encounters, p. 152).
5. Conclusion. Goffman's approach provides some examples and guidelines concerning how the self and personal style can be examined and analyzed to show the diversity of forms of action and interaction. Goffman shows how there are patterns to these, as much as to the norms and roles that have been part of the more conventional sociological approach. He does not provide an overall model of how the micro and macro approaches could be integrated. What he does present is the case for the autonomy and flexibility of the interaction order, that it can be examined systematically and meaningfully, and that this can be done within the social context of societal structures.
Blumer, H., "Society as Symbolic Interaction," in Arnold Rose, editor, Human Behavior and Social Processes: An Interactionist Approach, Boston, Houghton Mifflin, pp. 179-192.
Goffman, Erving, Behavior in Public Places: Notes on the Social Organization of Gatherings, New York, Free Press, 1963. HM131 G54.
Goffman, Erving, Encounters: two Studies in the Sociology of Interaction, Indianapolis, Bobbs-Merrill, 1961. HM291 G58
Goffman, Erving, Interaction Ritual, Chicago, Aldine, 1967. HM 291 G59
Goffman, Erving, Strategic Interaction, Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania, 1969. HM 291 G625
Lemert, Charles and Ann Branaman, The Goffman Reader, Oxford, Blackwell Publishers, 1997.
Turner, Jonathan H., The Structure of Sociological Theory, fifth edition, Belmont, Ca., Wadsworth, 1991. HM24 T84
Last edited on November 25, 1999.
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