Decades after his death, the figure of Erving Goffman (1922-82) continues to fascinate. Perhaps the best-known sociologist of the second half of the twentieth century, Goffman was an unquestionably significant thinker whose reputation extended well beyond his parent discipline.A host of concepts irrevocably linked to Goffman's name - such as 'presentation of self', 'total institutions', 'stigma', 'impression management' and 'passing' - are now staples in a wide range of academic discourses and are slipping into common usage. Goffman's writings uncover a previously unnoticed pattern in the minutiae of everyday interaction. Readers are often shocked when they recognize themselves in his shrewd analyses of errors and common predicaments. This superb study, written by one of the most respected sociologists at work today, is an indispensible guide to the sociology of Erving Goffman. This book offers a compact guide to Goffman's key ideas and the debates they have engendered, and incorporates understandings generated by recent Goffman scholarship.