• (11 June 1922 – 19 November 1982), a Canadian-born sociologist and writer, was considered "the
most influential American sociologist of the twentieth century". In 2007 he was listed by The Times
Higher Education Guide as the sixth most-cited author in the humanities and social sciences, behind
• Goffman was the 73rd president of the American Sociological Association. His best-known
contribution to social theory is his study of symbolic interaction. This took the form of dramaturgical
analysis, beginning with his 1959 book, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. Goffman's other
major works include Asylums (1961), Stigma (1963), Interaction Ritual (1967), Frame Analysis
(1974), and Forms of Talk (1981). His major areas of study included the sociology of everyday life,
social interaction, the social construction of self, social organization (framing) of experience, and
particular elements of social life such as total institutions and stigmas.
“ A theory which explains the set of
Expectations used to make sense of a
Social situation at a point in time called
Sociological - Outcome of news work
(The process of news production)
Psychological - Categories of the mind
(The process of audience consumption)
1. Expectations based on previous experiences, whether derived from
media messages or direct personal experience.
2. Expectations can be quite resistant to change, even when they are
contradicted by readily factual information.
3. Expectations can arouse strong emotions such as hate, fear or love.
4. Expectations often get applied by us without our conscious awareness,
when strong emotions are aroused that interfere with our ability to
consciously interoperate new information available in the situation.
SOCIAL CUES:• According to Goffman we are always monetoring the social environment like;
• When you view a play in a theater , you rely on many conventional cues to determine when a shift on
scenes takes place , one of the oldest and most obvious cues
Involves the curtains , it rises when a scenes begins and falls when a
Other cues are more subtle shifts in lighting and music tempo often
signal changes as lights dim and music becomes ominous , we know
Movies employ many similar conventions Goffman believed we use the
same cognitive skills to make sense of daily life as we do to make sense
of plays or movies.
His theory implies that we learn social cues through every day
interaction and from observing how they are use in media content.
DOWNSHIFT• When we moved from one set of frames to another. We downshift or upshift, we reframe situation so
we experience them as more or less serious. Remember !
when you were pretended to fight with a friend but one of got hurt and the fight turned
You both downshifted---------- suddenly you no longer pulled punches but tried to make
them inflict as much pain as possible.
Many of the fighting skills learned during play were used but with a different frame you
were trying to hurt your friend. Perhaps as u both tired of you told a joke and cued the
other that you wanted to upshift and go back a more playful frame
According to Goffman daily life involves countless shift frames and these shifts are
negotiated using social cues , some cues are conventional and universal like the
curtain on a stage.
For example . Couples often develop a very complex set of cues to signal when to
upshift or downshift their interaction during the course of a conversation many upshifts
and downshifts can occur based on subtle changes in voice tone or body movement.
• How do media come into his theory?
According to Goffman ads are hyper ritualized representation of social actions ,they are edited
to highlight only the meaningful actions
Advertising using the sex appeal to women to attract the attention of man to teach or
reinforce social cues that could have serious consequences.
Goffman showed how women in many ads are presented are less serious and more
playful than man
They smile place their bodies in non serious positions where playful clothing and in
various ways signal differences and a willingness to take direction from man.
They signal their desire for them.
No wonder these ads attract that attention of man.
No wonder they are useful in positions products but could these representations of
women be teaching or reinforcing social cues that have problematic consequences.
Goffman’s theory provides an intriguing way of assessing how media can elaborate and
reinforce a dominant public culture. Advertisers didn’t create sex-role stereotypes, but,
Goffman argued, they have homogenized how women are publicly depicted.
Marketers routinely use powerful visual imagery to associate products with women who
explicitly and implicitly signal their willingness to be playful sexual partners. There are
many subtle and not-so-subtle messages in these ads. “Consume the product and get the
PRIMARY, DOMINANT OR
o In frame analysis, the real world in which people and events obey certain conventional
and widely accepted rules (sometimes referred to as the dominant reality)
o we have the capacity to constantly reframe our experience from
o moment to moment, most of us can maintain the impression that our experiences are
o quite consistent and routine.
o According to Goffman, we do this by firmly committing ourselves to live in what we
experience as the primary, or dominant, reality—a real world in which people and
events obey certain conventional and widely accepted rules.
PEOPLE MAKE FRAMING
Now-a-days, if we watch TV we will see that our main-stream media shows us that suicide
bombings and terrorism is being done by Muslims but in reality that number is far less. The
viewers than perceive that all the Muslims are violent psychopaths but reality is very
different than that.
The social constructionist view that social institutions and the elites who lead them are able
to dominate the social world by propagating frames serving their interests.
This says that if a newscaster tells us that the dog ha bitten a man that is not a news but
if man bit the dog than that is the news.
We see the news daily and what we see are most of the news about murder, rape etc. If
something out of ordinary happens in the world like if some meteor strikes the earth or
aliens invade us than that is the news that will be worth watching. That one of the most
important things news does for average readers or viewers is to offer them ritualized
messages providing reassurance that the world will go on as it always has.