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Dramaturgy - Erving Goffman

Goffman, a sociologist in the symbolic interactionist tradition, has likened social interaction into the theater.
by

Johnny Jr. Esmilla

on 21 February 2013

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Transcript of Dramaturgy - Erving Goffman

Total institution “a place of residence or work where a large number of like-situated individuals, cut off from the wider society for an appreciable period of time, together lead an enclosed, formally administered round of life.”

Preservation of selfhood rather than surrender to an acceptance of role
Secondary adjustments
“any habitual arrangement by which a member of an organization employs unauthorized means, or obtains unauthorized ends, or both, thus getting around the organization’s assumptions as to what he should do and get and hence what he should be.” Major works The Presentation of the Self in Everyday Life - showed his bias for the self; treats human beings as active and knowledgeable

Stigma – creativity of deviants who manage to preserve a sense of self when cards are stacked against them

Asylums – concept of a total institution
Erving Goffman Sociologist who “contributed most to intellectual progress” according to Randall Collins

Earned his BA at the University of Toronto in 1945 and his MA and PhD at the University of Chicago in 1949 and 1953

Taught at the University of California, Berkeley from 1953 to 1969 with Herbert Blumer

Was the Benjamin Franklin Professor of Anthropology and Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania from 1969-1982
Dramaturgy art of dramatic composition and theatrical representation

Took the sociological concept of ROLE and puts it in theatrical setting

Goal: look at ways individuals in their everyday lives present themselves and their activities to others
Elements of Dramaturgy Impression management – ways in which the individual guides and controls the impressions others form of him or her

Front Region – “that part of the individual’s performance which regularly functions in a general and fixed fashion to define the situation for those who observe the performance”
Setting – furniture and other items on stage
Personal front – expressive equipment (jewelry, clothes, facial expressions, gender, age, racial characteristics)

Back Region – where you drop your “front”; where you can be yourself

By drawing our attention to the backstage region, Goffman helps us understand all of the hidden work involved in accomplishing successful presentation of self in public.
Erving Goffman Dramaturgy and
the Interaction Order What happens when backstage becomes front stage? Discredited versus discreditable people Gender as personal front Function-ranking – males performing the executive role both within and outside occupational specialization

Gender, not religion, is the opiate of the masses.
“A man may spend his day suffering…
and yet on returning home each night regain a sphere in which he dominates. And whenever he goes beyond the household, women can be there to prop up his show of competence."

Genderism – “sex-linked individual behavioral practice”; there are moments in social life that evoke stereotypical beliefs about masculinity and femininity

“borderwork” – boundaries created and maintained between girls and boys Interaction Order The domain of face-to-face social interaction, “where two or more individuals are physically in one another’s presence”

1. Persons
2. Contacts
3. Encounters
4. Platform Performances
5. Celebrative Social Occasions

Although the persons, contacts, encounters, performances and celebrations outlined are essentially microscopic units, Goffman argues that the interaction order has direct bearing on the macroscopic order.

Processing Encounters an element of interaction order that has a direct effect on a person’s life chances

1. These includes interviews conducted by school counselors, personnel department staff, psychologists and courtroom officials.
2. Importance of first impressions for friendship relationships and marital bonds
Full transcript