Archive: October, 2007


[General,Research] (10.13.07, 1:01 pm)

Geez. I think it was Celia who reccomended that I put Erving Goffman on my reading list. I can hardly imagine anything more appropriate. I’ve finished notes on the first essay of Interaction Ritual, which is highly relevant to constructing a theory of social interaction. Goffman describes the unit of “face” (as in the sense of losing or having face) as a type of value in social interaction. Having face is a good thing, and tends to imply assertiveness and confidence. Losing face is embarrassing and drops one down a bit on the grand social order.

However, due to this simple value system, lots of emergent patterns appear in the deployment of face in social systems. Once can sacrifice face as to let another save face for themselves. The loss of face tends to form social rituals that are highly dramatized in nature. What is neat about this is that it is:

1) a universal pattern of social behavior (according to Goffman, of course), and
2) this behavior is symbolic at a level that could easily lend itself to simulation.
I am interested in a couple of things now: Are there any contemporary people who are followers or who critique Goffman and his practice of Symbolic Interaction? Is there anyone who has taken these principles in the direction of AI? If anyone knows, by golly email me, otherwise I’ll find out through good solid research.

Interesting findings will be posted. Cheers!