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Qualitative Sociology

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 369–388 | Cite as

Georg Simmel and Erving Goffman: Legitimators of the Sociological Investigation of Human Experience

  • Murray S. Davis
Article

Abstract

By originating and developing the sociological investigation of human experience, Georg Simmel and Erving Goffman have shifted social phenomena at the edge of awareness to the center of attention, and have legitimated their study for contemporary sociologists. Both Simmel and Goffman describe these subtle social phenomena by distinguishing their perceptual boundaries and crossover elements, pointing out their common features when their statuses differ, and reversing their traditional location in means-end and cause-effect chains. But Durkheim's influence on Goffman's basic conceptions of interaction, individual, and society differentiated his interpretation of these social phenomena from Simmel's. Moreover, Simmel's and Goffman's explanations of these social phenomena evolve in different directions, revealing the antithetical goals toward which spiritual transcendental Simmelians and cynical reductive Goffmanians would lead sociology.

Simmel Goffman sociology phenomenology theory 

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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Murray S. Davis

There are no affiliations available

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