Maintaining Interaction Within a Closed Awareness Context

The Case of Students and Exams
  • Cheryl Albas
  • Daniel Albas


Wherever rules exist – in examinations, in love relationships, or in games of chance – people will be tempted to cheat and invent ways to escape detection. The goal is to “pass” and be viewed as normal and respectable despite engaging in activities others consider discrediting. Success depends upon keeping the “discredible” (i. e., not known or immediately perceptible) in its “closed awareness context” so it does not result in the “discredited” (i. e., evident on the spot). Failure results in being assigned a stigmatized identity based on “blemishes of character” and being reduced in the minds of others from “whole and usual” to “tainted and discounted” (Goffman 1963:2-3).


Impression Management Academic Dishonesty Awareness Context Symbolic Interaction Unfair Advantage 
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© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden 2015

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  • Cheryl Albas
  • Daniel Albas

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