(2005) Human Studies 28 (4).

Enacted others

specifying Goffman's phenomenological omissions and sociological accomplishments

Gregory W. Smith

pp. 397-415

Erving Goffman's distinctive contribution to an understanding of others was grounded in his information control and ritual models of the interaction process. This contribution centered on the forms of the interaction order rather than self-other relations as traditionally conceived in phenomenology. Goffman came to phenomenology as a sympathetic but critical outsider who sought resources for the sociological mining of the interaction order. His engagement with phenomenological thinkers (principally Gustav Ichheiser, Jean-Paul Sartre and Alfred Schutz) has to be understood in these terms. The article traces basic differences in analytical focus through a range of phenomenological critiques of Goffman and a comparison of salient aspects of Schutz's and Goffman's writings. While the contrasts have perhaps been overplayed, I conclude that Goffman's thinking about others probably owed more to his pragmatist roots than to his later encounters with phenomenology.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/s10746-005-9006-1

Full citation:

Smith, G. W. (2005). Enacted others: specifying Goffman's phenomenological omissions and sociological accomplishments. Human Studies 28 (4), pp. 397-415.

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