Nathan Jurgenson, “Picture Pluperfect”
I read Jurgenson’s essay shortly before starting to mark first-year sociology essays. In these, students were asked to relate their experience to the concepts of risk, individualisation and globalisation.
It is striking how many of them have used Goffman to talk about Facebook. These 17 and 18 year-olds get this point that Jurgenson makes. The people who don’t get it are the old fogeys, the ones who’ve forgotten Goffman (a seriously limited thinker, yes, but he does have an insight or two).
For what it’s worth, I recommend Jurgenson’s essay. I think someone like Jodi Dean would rightly respond by discussing the function of communicative capitalism today (the devil’s bargain of Facebook), but Jurgenson’s essay is interested in a different set of concerns that add something to Dean’s argument.