Understanding Virtuality

Contributions from Goffman’s Frame Analysis
  • JoAnn M. Brooks
Part of the IFIP International Federation for Information Processing book series (IFIPAICT, volume 236)


Although virtual interactions are often assumed to be separate and distinct from the “real world,” they are ultimately situated in material reality. In this paper I propose that a situated approach to understanding virtuality can be drawn from Goffman’s Frame Analysis (1974/1986). I explain how Goffman’s terminology and concepts afford a powerful way of integrating the study of virtual action and interaction with the study of social action and interaction more generally. His frame analysis provides language and concepts for distinguishing virtual worlds from each other and from real worlds in a way that is consonant with significant aspects of human-computer interaction. It helps to account for the phenomenon of immersion in virtual worlds, while at the same time, it is better suited for understanding both co-present and mediated social interaction. I conclude by discussing some limitations of this approach and suggestions for further research.


Virtual World Simulated Image Frame Analysis Virtual Team Actor Network Theory 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© International Federation for Information Processing 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • JoAnn M. Brooks
    • 1
  1. 1.MITREBedfordUSA

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