Original Research Article
Dmitri Shalin has demonstrated the importance of Erving Goffman to the field of sociology, and in this case to the sociology of Las Vegas as a gambling, resort, and urban center. But Goffman also was part of a trend, or more accurately what became a trend, and he played an important role in it. When Goffman came to Las Vegas in the late 1950s and early 1960s in connection with his field work as a downtown casino dealer, “the city of non-homes,” as he called it, was at a turning point in a variety of ways. When he published his findings in the late 1960s, including his essay “Where the Action Is,” Las Vegas was positioned for another turning point that he helped to coax onward: becoming an important field for scholarship. This essay attempts to explain the Las Vegas in which Goffman found himself, and the Las Vegas whose understanding he went on to enhance with the publication of his work.