Remembering Erving Goffman

Vincent Colapietro

January 1, 2014

Given my interest in subjectivity, rhetoric, conversation (and more narrowly dialogue), social transactions, and philosophical accounts of human experience in its myriad forms, I have long been a student of EG's writings. Foucault once remarked: "In the end, for me there are three categories of philosophers: the philosophers that I don't know; the philosophers I know and of whom I have spoken [or written], and the philosophers I know and about whom I don't speak [or write" ("The Return of Morality," possibly his last interview). Ever since my discovery, as a graduate student, of EG's essays and books, he has been a thinker upon whom I have drawn, but not one about whom I have written anything. He is, in other words, principally a resource, not a focus of interest - a lens through which I look, not an object*at*which I gaze. There are few, if any, theorists who are more valuable resources for developing a pragmatically inflected phenomenology of everyday life than EG. Hence, the EGA is especially welcome even by those of us who are not sociologists or social scientists, simply social theorists preoccupied with the intricately woven practices of our quotidian world. A debt of gratitude is owed to those who have made these resources available to the community of scholars and inquirers.


* 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 partially 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).