slicing reality

“Goffman begins by dividing the world into an empirical part – a ‘strip’ – which he defines as ‘any arbitrary slice or cut from the stream of ongoing activity’ (p. 10), and a subjective part – a ‘frame’ – which he defines as the ‘principles of organization which govern events – at least social ones – and our subjective involvement in them’ (p. 10-11). . . . We ‘frame’ ‘strips’ of activity by seeing them as

  • natural “(unguided events”) or social (“guided doings”) – the two fundamental frames; or as
  • fantasied or faked – two of the man instances of secondary frames Goffman discusses.

“The cellular aspect of frame analysis involved describing the membrane around an activity – the spatial and temporal brackets of each particular frame…[and] also involves distinguishing the nucleus of an activity from its surrounding cytoplasm – the inner official events … from the outer … occasion.

“The concentric (onion skin) aspect of frame analysis involves discriminating the various levels or “laminations” that frame a strip of activity and specifying the ways natural and social frames (basic) are transformed into other, less fundamental frames.

from a review
of Goffman’s masterwork, Frame Analysis: An Essay on the Organization of Experience,
by Murray S. Davis in
Contemporary Sociology, Vol. 4, No. 6 (Nov., 1975), pp. 599-60.

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