The notion of the sociological gaze is especially apt when applied to Erving Goffman. His was a strongly visually oriented way of apprehending the social world that bordered on the scopophilic. There are plenty of clues to this orientation in what is known about Goffman’s life and work. A brief spell spent working at the National Film Board of Canada in 1943 could well have awakened his visual imagination (Winkin 1988). For his master’s thesis, Goffman (1949) administered the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT)—a projective test that invites the subject to construct a story based around an ambiguous image-to a sample of (frequently sceptical) middle-class housewives (Smith 2003). His fi rst book (Goffman 1959) is famous for the emphasis it places on appearances. It and subsequent works did much to undermine any easy contrast between appearances and the so-called ‘realities’ of the social world. Goffman is said to have completed an unpublished study of New Yorker cartoons with his fi rst wife, Angelica (Yves Winkin, personal communication, 2008). Goffman’s key concepts on behaviour in public places (Goffman 1963a, 1971)—civil inattention, tie-signs and normal appearances-did much to fl esh out Georg Simmel’s (1908/1921) notion of visual interaction.