Framing Social Interaction : Continuities and Cracks in Goffman’s Frame Analysis
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The Canadian-American sociologist Erving Goffman (1922–82) studied social interaction in a society where old-fashioned customs encountered modernising forces that were transforming political life, working life, everyday life, and other lives. He defended his doctoral dissertation in 1953. In the speech he would have delivered as president of the American Sociological Association at the 1982 congress had he not been prevented by illness, Goffman referred to the interaction order that he had investigated. This interaction order changed a great deal during the thirty years that Goffman was active, but much of what was valid at the beginning of this pe- riod was still valid at its close. During the thirty-five years that have passed since Goffman’s death, the interaction order has presumably changed to a greater extent than earlier, at any rate in certain parts of the world; e.g., when it comes to relationships between young and old, men and women, authorities and others. What we call globalisation has resulted in the spread not only of goods, food dishes, labour, the market economy, refugees, tra- ditions, illnesses, Western democracy, Islamist terror, identities, models of organisation, military activities for policing the world, bed bugs, music styles, and consumption goods, but also of different ways of interacting socially. Furthermore, new media – in particular mobile phones, the In- ternet, and social media – have exposed the interaction order to a transfor- mational pressure, in that spatial proximity is no longer a prerequisite for social interaction.
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