Erving Goffman (1922-82) is considered to be among the greatest and most inventive of American sociologists. His works first appeared at a time when traditional, formal American sociology dominated the scene. They introduced fresh, new ideas and ways of thinking about the individual in the social world.Although Goffman is more often thought of as being grounded in symbolic interactionism, he was in fact the first to raise questions about the socially constructed self, the distinction between public identity versus the private self, the role of gender in society, and the study of public spaces. These themes remain of primary interest today, making Goffman one of the most influential thinkers in late twentieth-century social thought.For the first time in any collection, readers will have access to the complete development of Goffman's writing and thinking from his earliest, lesser-kwn works to his final masterpiece Felicity's Condition. Included in this collection are pieces from Goffman's classic works including Stigma, Asylums, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, and Forms of Talk.
Charles Lemert is a Professor of Sociology at Wesleyan University. He is Series Editor for the Blackwell series Twentieth Century Social Thought and has published widely in the areas of social theory, culture and race. Ann Branaman teaches at Pennsylvania State University where she is completing her doctoral studies in sociology and philosophy.