Goffman and facework in Friends

In the video clip we see Goffman’s theory of ‘face’ and ‘facework’. ‘Face’ refers to the image that someone builds for themselves based on how that image will operate interactionally. Individuals have an expression, a way of performing depending on the crowd. The way we create our ‘face’ is through ‘facework’. This refers to the actions individuals take in order to ensure that their representation of ‘face’ works. In the video clip, Joey helps Monica build a tough image for herself so that she can perform her job as head chef well.  Goffman would refer this form of facework as ‘contest’. This aggressive interchange allows one ‘opponent’ not only to succeed in introducing information favourable to their own face, but also demonstrates that they can handle themselves better than their adversaries. In engaging in a contest with Joey and firing him, Monica gains respect from her co-workers and no longer has to suffer their teasing.


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