To Goffman, all forms of interaction are kinds of performances.
These performances may fall under the structure of rituals, socially acceptable formalized interactions.
These may be playful or contemptful, there are forms of ritualized contempt that are standard forms of expressing dissatisfaction of one kind or another (the middle finger, the slap, the insult, etc.) (p.
85) “It is therefore important to see that the self is in part a ceremonial thing, a sacred object that must be treated with the proper ritual care and in turn must be presented in a proper light to others.
An asymmetric rule is one where one group has authority or precedence over another. Formal rules have some degree of ostensible substance or value and are formalized to protect that substance. Omission of deference implies destructuralization and rebellion.
Informal rules are ceremonial, things like greetings, whose sole purpose is to guide conduct, their substance is secondary. 53-54) The ceremonial idiom is that the tokens for ceremonial purposes have meanings for certain groups. 56) Goffman on deference: “By deference I shall refer to that component of activity which functions as a symbolic means by which appreciation is regularly conveyed authority. But there are symmetric deferences, that superordinates owe to subordinates. Deference also maintains artificial difference or distance. 60) There are a variety of styles in personal/relationship/formal distance: polite conversation with the boss in the elevator, patient doctor communication, filling station boss.
Rather, moments and their men," writes Erving Goffman in the introduction to his groundbreaking 1967 Interaction Ritual, a study of face-to-face interaction in natural settings, that class of events which occurs during co-presence and by virtue of co-presence.
The ultimate behavioral materials are the glances, gestures, positionings, and verbal statements that people continuously feed into situations, whether intended or not.
As a means through which this self is established, the individual acts with proper demeanor while in contact with others and is treated by others with deference.” And later: “An environment, then, in terms of the ceremonial component of activity, is a place where it is easy or difficult to play the ritual game of having a self.” (p.
91) This essay is about the phenomenon of embarrassment and how it fits in with social organization. There is a vast spectrum of embarrassment: mild moments versus sustained difficult embarrassed encounters.