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Frame Analysis: An Essay on the Organization of Experience Hardcover – December, 1974
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Top Customer Reviews
Frame Analysis is very long, dense and at times a rather trying and difficult read. Goffman employs a plethora of concepts couched within a multitude of frames from which the reader or `student' can view the ever complex and complicated social world. The most distinctive concepts (and important in terms of this text) however include the `frame,' `primary framework,' `keying,' and `fabrications.' Goffman defines a `frame' as, a collectivity of `definitions of situations' that together govern social events and our subjective involvement in them. A `primary framework' then provides meaning to events that would otherwise be meaningless and consists of two classes, "natural and social." The "natural" class concerns frames that are "purely physical" (e.g.Read more ›
The way this topic is developed, however, is by an amazingly detailed discussion of example of incidents where people dramatically misunderstand the situations they find themselves in, either by mistake, or because they are induced into doing it by others who set out to con or fool them. One of the most fun things about this book is the sources of the examples. The most memorable are news clippings apt to be filed under "Odd News", with tales about con men, college activists, the royal family and such, which were obviously thrown into the paper for comic relief, and make the book enormous fun to grab and skim through just for the stories. Goffman's introduction goes as far to label his selection methodology, literally, as a mockery of representative sampling.
But there's a method here. The stories were newsworthy precisely because they were extraordinary ocurrences; and Goffman's approach is to iluminate normality by examining situations that depart dramatically from it. He develops a series of very technical concepts to analyse at great depth what's going on in these situations, the central ones being "frame", "keying", "fabrication". He applies these concepts to drama, conversation and deception, among other things.
The funniest thing about this book, however, is the contrast between Goffman's serious, academic tone and the silliness of a lot of the material he's covering. A contrast which one can tell he played up.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Let me preface my review by saying, I am not a sociologist. Perhaps that's why I found this rambling 580-page tome oblique. Read morePublished on May 19, 2005 by Bruce