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The Self and Erving Goffman

Symbolic Interactionism and Dramaturgy

Alphonse Loeher

on 19 April 2010

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Transcript of The Self and Erving Goffman

Erving Goffman •The self is an integral concept in symbolic interactionism •Cooley’s “looking glass self” and Mead’s concept of self were important in the development of the modern symbolic-interactionist concept of self. •Blumer lent his own definition of the self as well. Although his ideas were very close to Cooley and Mead The Self A sociologist who was a social anthropologist by training. He contributed to the modern idea of the self. •Goffman’s conception of the self is anchored in Mead’s idea of tension between the I and the me. •In order to maintain a stable self-image, people “perform” for their social audiences like actors in a play. Dramaturgy •Goffman’s focus: Dramaturgy -– a view of social life as a series of dramatic performances •Basically, the self is perceived as a product of this dramatic interaction between actor and audience. is a specialized form of symbolic interactionism •Has three domains: front stage (front, setting, and personal front), back stage, and outside. •The “act” being put on by the actor is liable to disruption, and hence, the actor needs to control the act through social distance, mystification, impression management and role distance •The audience also plays a part in maintaining the verity of the “show” •In dramaturgy, the basic unit of analysis is the team. The team could be actor-actor, actor-audience and audience-audience. •Goffman also focused on other aspects of the self such as stigma (gap between virtual social identity and actual social identity) and frame analysis. = )
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