Meaning of CONSCIOUSNESS:
Consciousness is a puzzle for scientists and philosophers since they are unclear how brains and minds are able to be conscious of themselves. Nonetheless, consciousness is a given for sociologists since it is clear that people are, generally speaking, conscious of themselves. As Erving Goffman has so clearly documented, in our everyday lives we monitor our social selves, consciously thinking about not only whatever task or purpose we have in mind but also how other people view us. When I cannot find my car in the supermarket car park I may make a show of being lost and befuddled, not for my own benefit, but to indicate to other shoppers that I am not prowling around, looking out for cars to break into. I am conscious of myself but also conscious of how other people may view me. Consciousness in this sense is part of the fabric of inter-subjectivity that binds people into a common, taken-for-granted world.