Drawing on Bakhtin and Goffman: Toward an Epistemology that Makes Lived Experience Visible


  • James Cresswell Northwest Nazarene University
  • Allison Hawn




Bakhtin, experience, qualitative methodology, Goffman, aesthetic interpretation, language


This article seeks to enrich qualitative analysis by way of showing how Erving GOFFMAN's work can be enhanced by interfacing it with Mikhail BAKHTIN. The goal is to inspire an approach to the interpretation of human action that highlights phenomenologically immediate experience, thereby enhancing current work. BAKHTIN's later work focused on the interpretation of such experience but it was left incomplete at the time of his death. Fortunately, this latter work is reminiscent of his early work on the interpretation of poetics. The article addresses BAKHTIN's discussion of content, form, and material in art and how this discussion can enlighten our epistemological praxis with persons. By way of a demonstration, our proposed approach is applied to an online interaction between the second author and an anonymous online gamer.

URN: http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs1201203


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

James Cresswell, Northwest Nazarene University

James CRESSWELL is a cultural psychologist whose work involves 1. the value of BAKHTIN's theory in terms of how it can enrich cultural psychology, 2. how this theory can impact our understanding of immigration and acculturation, and 3. how such theory can impact our understanding in the area of cognitive science and religion.

Allison Hawn

Allison HAWN recently completed her Psychology BA with an interdisciplinary focus at Northwest Nazarene University. Her past research includes a participant study that focuses on the motivations of and prejudices against the American video-gamer community, content analysis on video games and an exploration of attitudes towards body art, all of which have been presented at conferences. She will be moving onto a graduate program in social psychology after spending a year working with street youth in Spokane, Washington.




How to Cite

Cresswell, J., & Hawn, A. (2011). Drawing on Bakhtin and Goffman: Toward an Epistemology that Makes Lived Experience Visible. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 13(1). https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-13.1.1594