In the preface of Goffman Unbound!, Scheff writes, “Goffman’s main focus was what might be called the micro-world of emotions and relationships. We all live in it every day or our lives, yet we have been trained not to notice” (p. viii, emphasis added).
Like many contributors on this blog, I’m currently wrapping up a semester of teaching social movement theory. My students seem genuinely inspired by sociological accounts of the Civil Rights Movement and Occupy Wall Street, among others. Yet I sometimes worry that, by highlighting large-scale, extra-institutional forms of collective action, my course also trains them to gloss over, or even deny their most immediate experiences of jockeying for leverage. I’m thinking here of arguments with their work supervisors, skirmishes with campus officials, and—as one might suspect—negotiating faculty’s proprietary claims on their attention during the closing days of the semester. Continue reading