chapter  12
Facework Theory
Performing Familial Roles in Everyday Interactions
ByM. Chad McBride
Pages 10

The concept of face is of Chinese origin, however, sociologist Erving Goffman was among the first in Western culture to articulate the theoretical perspective of facework. Since Goffman was a sociologist and is credited with bringing concepts of face to Western scholarly culture, obviously the theory did not originate in the communication studies field. However, since his explanation of facework theory centered on how individuals managed impressions and identity in interactions, communication scholars soon took his ideas, expanded on them, and proposed variations of the theory. The discipline of communication studies and interpersonal communication scholarship (and certainly the newer subfield of family communication research) did not exist in its current form when Goffman theorized about face. First, facework theory has been utilized to explain how people manage their identities in various familial roles, primarily as parents. Second, facework theory has been used to describe interactions between family members in different conversational contexts and situations.