Freestyling and Battling
19 November, 2012
• Erving Goffman is the most important in the field of microsociological research. His work
looks at the social self. We can understand identities by understanding the conscious and the
unconscious. Goffman led a sociological response in this field. Identities are social and are
determined through interactions with others.
• He pioneered research on face to face interaction, otherwise known as symbolic interaction.
One of the focus of interaction ritual was how people "save face". Frame Analysis was his
most theoretical book. He asks "what is going on here?" This question is always at play in
any given interaction. At some point, people have to come to a shared understanding of
what is going on.
• Any single kind of encounter has a point where there has to be some sort of negotiation.
• The self is not a static thing. Identity is a flexible phenomenon. It is something evolving
and contingent on interactions with other people.
• Identity changes over time and across situations. We become a different person in different
• Most people would have multiple personalities and selves across their lives.
• We can win and lose face. You can do things to win you honor and respect, which changes
the way people see you. You can also do things that are embarrassing that diminishes your
• "Defensive practices" are things that people do to defend against face threats. They will
interact with people that boosts their confidence and lets them play a certain type of role.
• "Protective practices" are things that people do to help others save face. People tend to look
out for one another. When someone does something shameful, people will do stuff to
overlook that discrediting action to help them save face. At some point, we will need that
help as well. So they help out others in case they need it some day.
• Reality is flexible ("flexible reality") and is negotiated through face to face interactions. He
is not giving a subjective form of reality. He is giving an intersubjective definition of
reality. There is always some negotiation in reality. Reality is never given and it is
currently evolving ("Swingers" clip)
• There were a lot of coming of age movies about growing up in the hood during the 90s. South
Central was called the gang capital of the world. Appropriated with images of gangs, and gangsta
rap. It is also home to a very vibrant underground hip hop scene.
A lot of rappers put South Central LA, Compton, etc. on the cultural map. But there was also
an underground culture that stood for something else.
• This Is The