His most important book is Frame Analysis (1974).
Watch out: Goffmann uses “unusual language“.
“When an individual in our Western society recognizes a particular event, he tends, whatever else he does, to imply in this response (and in effect employ) one or more frameworks or schemata of interpretation …[which]is seen as rendering what would otherwise be a meaningless aspect of the scene into something that is meaningful“
“It has been argued that a strip of activity will be perceived by its participants in terms of the rules or premises of a primary framework, whether social or natural, and that activity so perceived provides the model for two basic kinds of transformation – Keying and Fabrication.
It has also been argued that these frameworks are not merely a matter of mind but correspond in some sense to the way in which an aspect of the activity itself is organized – especially activity directly involving social agents.
Organizational premises are involved, and these are something cognition somehow arrives at, not something cognition creates or generates.
Given their understanding of what it is that is going on, individuals fit their actions to this understanding and ordinarily find that the ongoing world supports this fitting“
“Self is not an entity half-concealed behind events, but a changeable formula for managing oneself during them“.
Goffmann was a Spectator in the Theatre.
In this theatre a play was performed called Life. In this play we are deceiving others. We are constantly trying to understand what is “Behind” the actions of the others.
Goffmann was highly interest in Espionage because he recognized these as extensions of everyday behaviour.
Life is a game and in this game we can be ‘pawns’ that may be sacrificed or ‘tokens’ who express a position. In life we make “moves”.
A player can represent a party or negotiate for a party. Players can be naïve, covered, uncovered and even counter-uncovered.
When we remove all the attributes we carry “nothing” is left. We are just a “changeable formula for managing oneself during events“.
Most of us are not controlling a situation or context. We are controlled by the Context. We are controlled by Frames and we React with Frames (Action patterns). We use frames to identify what is taking place.
The most fundamental frameworks are ‘primary frameworks’ which reveal what is ‘really’ happening either in the natural or social world. The meaning of a primary framework can be challenged in various ways.
It can be ‘Keyed‘.
We observe a fight and suddenly we understand that someone is “joking“.
They are playing a fight.
Suddenly one of the players hits the other and he becomes angry. He uses a knife and blood is flowing. The play changes into a real fight.
Many people watch and wonder what to do.
Is this Real or is this a Play?
One hour later we discover that our wallet is gone.
Someone in the audience was a pickpocket and the joke becomes a nightmare.
He was part of the team and we are “framed” and suddenly the “frame breaks“.
We understand that we were part of a “Fabrication“.
Many Humans are unable to distinguish “Reality” from a “Fabrication“.They “know” Dreams are a Fabrication but they don’t know for sure if the journalist on the Television is telling a Real Story.
They play the Soldier until their friend is killed. At that moment the frame breaks and they are in a new Reality. Later they realize that the War in which they were playing the Role of the Soldier was a Fabrication. It was set up by other people who were playing in a higher game to make money and to gain power.
They trust a friend and lend him all their money to invest and make a profit. Suddenly the friend and the money is gone. The frame breaks. Suddenly they don’t know if their other Friends are really Friends or are also trying to gain their confidence to solve their own financial problems.
They are the “Naïve“, the Pawns in the Play of the Secret Agents who are managed by a Director who is performing a Play that is written by an Author who is paid by an Investor who is watching the Play from a distance who is playing a Role in another Play and who is managed by …….
Who is Behind this????????????????
Behind this all is the Joker (also called the Trickster or the Demiurg) who has invented the Game of Life and is Playing Games with Us to help us to understand the Game behind the Game of Life.
This Game is not a Game at all. It is a Game to create New Games until Infinity.
In this Game we are Playing with Our Selves until we realize that the many Selves we Are are just One Self observing Itself.
If we understand this Game we are able to return to the Infinite Potential, the Void, that was there before Creation Started.