Webometric Thoughts

December 27, 2009

The Cat, the Bullfighter, and Google Books

Filed under: Erving Goffman,Google Books,frame breaking — admin @ 3:37 pm

As a general rule I take the web for granted. Although I’m old enough to remember [a lot of] life before the web, because I was aware of services like Prestel and had dialed up the local BBS years before, I merely saw the web as a natural progression.

Occassionally, however, an inconsequential event does make me stop and realise how much we really take for granted. Last night I was curled up with Erving Goffman’s Frame Analysis: An Essay on the Organization of Experience (as I’ve mentioned before his works provide userful frameworks for understanding the social web). On page 424 he uses an example of a cat ‘frame breaking’ as it circled the bull ring whilst the bullfighters were hiding behind barriers from the bull. Despite being nearly midnight I could go over to my computer, go to http://books.google.com/ and browse or search my way to the relevant issue of Life magazine to see the full-page picture of the event.

A book published in 1974, referenced a photograph published in 1955, and I could see that photo in a matter of moments. Something that would have been impossible for the vast majority of people who have ever read Frame Analysis over the past 35 years.

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