New Open Access Book: Erving Goffman’s 1953 dissertation, Communication Conduct in an Island Community

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Jeff Pooley

Jan 9, 2023, 2:52:49 PM1/9/23
to Cheiron Forum is a scholar-led, nonprofit, no-fee open access publisher in the media, film, and communication studies fields. We are excited to announce the publication of Erving Goffman’s remarkable 1953 dissertation, Communication Conduct in an Island Community.

Canadian-born Erving Goffman (1922–1982) was the twentieth century’s most important sociologist writing in English. His 1953 dissertation is published here for the first time, on the hundredth anniversary of his birth. The study, based on fieldwork on a remote Scottish island, presents in embryonic form the full spread of Goffman’s thought. Framed as a “report on a study of conversational interaction,” the dissertation lingers on the modest talk of island “crofters.” It is trademark Goffman: ambitious, unconventional in form, and brimmed with big-picture insight. The thesis is that social order is made and re-made in communication—the “interaction order” he re-visited in a famous and final talk before his 1982 death. The dissertation is, as Yves Winkin writes in a new introduction, the “Rosetta stone for his entire work.” It was here, in 360 dense pages, that Goffman revealed, quietly, his peerless sensitivity to the invisible wireframes of everyday life.

The book is available online, and as a free download in PDF and ePub. A paperback version is also available

Communication Conduct in an Island Community appears in the Public Domain series. Scholars interested in proposing volumes in this or other series are encouraged to reach out with a query. You can learn more about, including our operations and OA principles, on our site. The press is a member of the Open Book Collective and the ScholarLed consortium, and also publishes the History of Media Studies journal. Please contact us at

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