Comments on Michael Delaney's Dissertation

Harold Bershady

Dear Dmitri,

There are no apologies adequate for the grievous gap in my remembrance of Michael Delaney, and this should be corrected. Delaney was one of a small handful of the most talented students I taught in 45 years of teaching. His dissertation was original and made a signal contribution to the theory of action. By comparing and integrating Burke's "grammar" with Parsons' four-fold scheme, Delaney was able to develop an aesthetic dimension of the theory of action that had been missing. Simultaneous to this, he also provided aesthetic theory with a far richer grounding in the social world than had existed previously the Frankfort school notwithstanding. It is a loss that thus work remains, as it were, stillborn, the one copy of it merely languishing on a dusty library shelf. It is perhaps for this reason that when you and I spoke the occasion was such that I did not recollect Delaney's thesis -- an instance of some hardening of the neurons. But this is no excuse. I would appreciate it if you would enter this note in your archive on Coffman. I will write to Michael directly.




* The Erving Goffman Archives (EGA) is the web-based, open-source project that serves as a clearing house for those interested in the dramaturgical tradition in sociology and biographical methods of research.  The EGA is located in the Intercyberlibrary of the UNLV Center of Democratic Culture,  
Postings on the website are divided into four overlapping sections: “Documents and Papers,” “Biographical Materials,” “Critical Assessments,” and “Comments and Dialogues.”  For inquiries regarding the EGA projects, please contact Dr. Dmitri Shalin,  When you cite the materials collected for the EGA, please use the following reference:  Bios Sociologicus: The Erving Goffman Archives, ed. by Dmitri N. Shalin (UNLV: CDC Publications, 2009).