The Art of Language Round Table


In 2022, academics around the world and across many disciplines will be observing the 100th anniversary of Erving Goffman’s birth; as it happens, this will also be the 40th anniversary of his death. One of the most important sociologists of the C20th, Goffman’s unique scholarship has heavily influenced the study of everyday language use. To mark this occasion, we are planning a round table which will bring together prominent sociocultural linguists to discuss the impact of Goffman’s work on our field.

In a nod to Goffman’s well-known chapter in his groundbreaking The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, our round-table event is being organized under the rubric of The Art of Language. This thematic orientation to art has two intellectual implications. First, we are organizing a unique opportunity to document the “state of the art” of sociolinguistics and discourse studies, not only reviewing the past but also pin-pointing new directions in our engagements with Goffman’s ideas. Second, and capitalizing on its distinctive Bern setting, the event will be refracted through the lens of Paul Klee’s artwork for engaging cutting-edge debates about the multimodal limits and opportunities of language.