Few contemporary sociologists are as creative as Erving Goffman. One product of this creativity is frame analysis (Goffman, 1974), a method that is both admired and neglected. Comparing Goffman's approach to other paradigms seems not only to be a negation of the creativity of this writer, but is strongly disliked by Goffman (1981b)
when such comparisons have nothing but labelling as their purpose.
It is not the function of this paper to place frame analysis in one or another theoretical pigeon-hole. Frame analysis is a sociological approach in its own right. Nevertheless, Goffman accepts different standpoints of symbolic interaction (G.H. Mead), ethnomethodology
and phenomenological sociology (A. Schutz) even when he
denies others. I intend here to present the differences and
similarities between Goffman's frame analysis on the one hand, and Blumer's symbolic interaction, Schutz's phenomenological sociology,and Garfinkel' s ethnomethodology on the other hand in function of three questions. (1) What are the presuppositions in
relation to reality, knowledge, man and society used in the four paradigms? (2) What is the object of sociology? (3) What are the methodological principles? Moreover, I want to show that in spite of different accents, the frame-analysis approach can already be found in the earlier work of Goffman.