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The Social Science Citation Index counts 1,805 references over the past decade for Goffman's (1974) methodological foundation.That almost doubles Durkheim's ( 1968) classic Rules of the Sociological Method (936 references) and also easily surpasses Di Maggio's (1983) re-interpretation of Weber's iron cage, the best known piece of the ubiquitous neo-institutionalism school.In his initial and widely quoted definition, Goffman characterized frames as follows: I assume that definitions of a situation are built up in accordance with principals of organization which govern events [ ] and our subjective involvement in them; frame is the word I use to refer to such of these basic elements as I am able to identify (Goffman 1974: 10f) In other words, frames are basic cognitive structures which guide the perception and representation of reality.
Precisely because frames consist of tacit rather than overt conjectures, notorious difficulties to empirically identify frames arise (Maher 2001: 84).
The difficulty of measuring latent frames could partially explain the gradual theoretical shift towards a conceptualization of frames as being more actively adopted and manufactured.
Frame analysis : an essay on the organization of experience / Erving Goffman ; with a foreword by Bennett M.
Berger Northeastern University Press Boston 1986 Goffman, Erving.
Boston : Northeastern University Press Goffman, Erving.