Publication details [#19624137]

Watson, Rod. 2021. Quem ‘matou’ Erving Goffman?
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Brazilian Portuguese


The key question posed in this article is "Why has the rich intellectual legacy bequested by Erving Goffman hardly ever been subsequently taken up and built upon by social scientists and linguists?" In a spirit of jouissance, this question and its proposed answer will be put in mystery form, and the investigation leading to its proposed solution will be pursued in the following manner. First, Goffman's legacy will be outlined with regard to its purported 'plusses' and 'minuses'. Secondly, the solution is pursued by references to the work of Goffman's latterday advocates and to his alleged opponents. Thirdly, a barrier to the proper characterisation, development and critical appreciation of Goffman's legacy was that hardly anyone currently concerned with his analyses has found the appropriate level at which to describe or criticise them. It is argued in this in this paper that the appropriate level for the deep investigation and critique of Goffman's analyses is that of what Ludwig Wittgenstein, in his later work, terms 'logical grammar' - the logical grammar of Goffman's tropes, his similes, his analogies. Perspicuous illustrations of this form of analysis are offered from the work of the theatre director and teacher of acting, Konstantin Stanislavski.