where the action is.

by the term action i mean activities that are consequential problematic, and undertaken for what is felt to be their own sake. the degree of action- its seriousness or realness-depends on how fully these properties are accentuated and is subject to the same ambiguities regarding measurement as those already described in the case of chanciness. action seems most pronounced when the four phases of play-squaring off, determination, disclosure, and settlement-occur over a period of the time brief enough to be contained within a continous stretch of releases himself to the passing moment, wagering his future estate on what transpires precariously in the seconds to come.

(erving goffman, “where the action is”, interaction ritual)