Books that Changed Humanity: Erving Goffman, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life

How did a relatively obscure study of manners and mores in mid 20th century Shetland Islands turn into one of the most influential texts within the social sciences? Shakespeare reminds us that ‘All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.’ Goffman goes deep into how that play is actually rehearsed, revised and performed. Professor Meredith Rossner explores some of the elements of this performance, and discussed Goffman’s contribution to our understanding of the many ways, both poignant and banal, that ‘the self’ is presented in ‘everday life.’ As the world adjusts to new ways of social interaction during the pandemic and beyond, it’s no surprise that Goffman’s work has renewed relevance today.

Meredith Rossner is a Professor of Criminology at the Centre for Social Research and Methods at the ANU. She conducts research on emotions, rituals, and technology in the criminal justice system. Past and current projects include investigations into the emotional dynamics of restorative justice, therapeutic courts, the dynamics of jury deliberation, the role of courtroom design on access to justice, and the use of video technology in courts.

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Date & time

Fri 22 Oct 2021, 5.30pm




Professor Meredith Rossner


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