This article considers Goffmans conceptualization of interaction order at the margins of society in encounters between urban welfare workers and their clients. Observations from these encounters demonstrate practices relating to the situated management of stigma and identity, and the accomplishment of role within these service encounters. A reading of Goffmans theoretical contribution lies in revealing how social actors and social structures are realized in situ within the constraints of the interaction order sui generis. The article discusses three aspects of the outreach encounter, namely, (1) the accomplishment of role and motive, (2) the sequential phases of the outreach encounter, and (3) 'the normalization ritual, ' and introduces the concept of willful disattention.
Published: September 2011