The Relation of September 11 to Goffman's Theory of Face and Line

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Goffman was the contemporary theorist who first introduced the idea of face and line into a sociological perspective. When Goffman refers to the concept of the line, he is referring to the patterns of behavior through which a person uses to express their view of a particular situation to others and ones self (Layder 1998:172-174) It is the view that a person takes on an issue that he tries to "sell" to himself and others. An example of a line could be a person stating that he or she is the fastest kid in high school. Whether other students choose to buy into the line or not, it still is the particular view that he or she is using to express their view of the situation. The concept of face is the positive social value that a person claims for himself or herself by taking a particular line (Layder 1998:172-174)The face is reaffirmed and strengthened when others buy into and incorporate a person's line into their beliefs. For example, since the other students in the high school know that he or she has many awards for track, they would probably agree with the student and maintain face. This is because the projected line was accepted and reinforced by those in the interaction within a social context. A threat to face is when someone challenges a person's line and face. Others are not buying what a person is trying to portray and get across in a social context. For example, he or she may have a lot of awards for track, but he or she also gained 30 pounds over the summer. Therefore the students will prevent a threat to face by challenging his or her line that he or she is the fastest. The article "CIA Breaks its Silence to Save Face" deals with the CIA and their breaking down of traditional rules and letting the public be aware that one of it's operatives was killed in Afghanistan. Johnny Spann, a CIA operative, was killed last week during a prison raid on Taliban fighters near Mazar-e-Sharif. In the past, the CIA does not expose any of its operative's identities or their whereabouts due to secrecy of their mission and to reduce the risk that their families might face from potential enemies. On September 11, 2001, the World Trade Center and its inhabitants in New York, New York, fell victim to terrorist action.

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