There are two ways of reading Goffman-as a theorist of trust and ritual accommodation, that is, as a theorist of the interaction order, or as a theorist of deception. I suggest a way of making these two readings compatible, by arguing that Goffman was interested in what I call the "production of credibility." Credibility is the quality of being believable, and this quality is integral to both trust and deception. Viewed in this way Goffman explored the ways in which people make their actions convincing to other people. Although Goffman's analysis of the interaction order did not need a theory of the self, his work actually contains two quite different theories of the self: one linked to role analysis, one to his analysis of mental illness. I argue for the latter at the expense of the former. I conclude that Goffman both initiated substantive work about the interaction order and contributed to a synthesis of a theory of the interaction order and a theory of the self.
Manning, Philip, "Credibility, Agency, and the Interaction Order" (2000). Sociology & Criminology Faculty Publications. Paper 11.
Manning, Philip. 2000. "Credibility, Agency, and the Interaction Order." Symbolic Interaction 23(3):283-297.
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