Goffman 1959. Goffman's (1959) The presentation of self in everyday life Flashcards 2019-01-29

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Erving Goffman's Front Stage and Back Stage Behavior

goffman 1959

Recent Development in Role Theory. The interactions are viewed as a performance, constantly being shaped by the environment and audience, with the objective of providing others with impressions that are consonant with the desired goals of the actor. In it, Goffman details the sociological perspective of our social interactions. Less formally, they are the parts to be played in the social drama. In the functionalist conception, role is one of the important ways in which individual activity is socially regulated: roles create regular patterns of behaviour and thus a measure of predictability, which not only allows individuals to function effectively because they know what to expect of others, but also makes it possible for the sociologist to make generalisations about society. By noticing the importance of Role Distance Goffman is able to situate the concept of Identity within a single coherent structure. And those can be seen on social mobility.

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The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life by Erving Goffman

goffman 1959

Interestingly, this conception has crossed over from academic discourse into popular use. Dramaturgical analysis is defined as the study of social interaction in terms of theatrical performance. And all the men and women merely players: They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts. Even so, it remains a fundamental concept which is still taught in most introductory courses and is still regarded as important. Additionally, role theory does not explain when and how role expectations change. Both Mead and Goffman took much of their lives studying the self and its origins. This simply means a person's efforts to create specific impressions in the minds of others.

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The presentation of self in everyday life (Book, 1959) [rftp.com]

goffman 1959

He served as President of the American Sociological Association in the year leading up to his death in 1982. How we behave back stage is freed from the expectations and norms that shape our behavior when we are front stage. Narrative interviews were conducted, and data were analyzed using the phenomenological hermeneutic method. A symbol will have a meaning that all individuals within the society will understand and, thus, will influence behavior - again, whether in public or in private. You will learn what he meant by saying that people are all actors playing a part - and that our behavior is dictated by symbols and whether we are in public or private. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life.

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The presentation of self in everyday life (Book, 1959) [rftp.com]

goffman 1959

For example, it is appropriate for a doctor to dress fairly conservatively, ask a series of personal questions about one's health, touch one in ways that would normally be forbidden, write prescriptions, and show more concern for the personal well-being of their clients. He stated that we present ourselves to others in everyday situations and reveal information about ourselves while doing so. He was born on the 11th June 1922 in Alberta, Canada. What's more, role theory also argues that in order to change behavior it is necessary to change roles; roles correspond to behaviors and vice versa. We might practice our smile or handshake, rehearse a presentation or conversation, or plan the elements of our appearance.

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Goffman, E. (1959) The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. Doubleday Anchor Books, Doubleday, Garden City.

goffman 1959

However, even in our back stage lives we often have a small team with whom we still interact, like housemates, partners, and family members, but with whom we observe different rules and customs from what is expected when we are on the front stage. Taken to extremes, the functionalist approach results in role becoming a set of static, semi-global expectations laid down by a unified, amorphous society. Many role theorists see Role Theory as one of the most compelling theories bridging individual behavior and social structure. The expectations correspond to different roles individuals perform or enact in their daily lives, such as secretary, father, or friend. But if a bank teller simply begins handing out cash to random people, role theory would be unable to explain why though role conflict could be one possible answer; the teller might have taken the job wanting to be a modern day Robin Hood. Often when we are back stage we rehearse certain behaviors or interactions and otherwise prepare ourselves for upcoming front stage performances. Each of these roles has its own more or less explicit script.


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Erving Goffman's Front Stage and Back Stage Behavior

goffman 1959

Goffman states that individuals in a society will alter their behavior according to their 'set'. Goffman applies metaphor to his theory of the presentation of the self by pursuing a dramaturgical analysis p. Roles consist of a set of rules or norms that function as plans or blueprints to guide behavior. In this structure identity is not preconceived or presupposed but constructed. The distinction between role and norm or culture thus becomes sterile. Role theory is, in fact, predictive. For instance, the behavior of someone who adopts the role of bank robber can be predicted - she will rob banks.

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Goffman's (1959) The presentation of self in everyday life Flashcards

goffman 1959

These objects may be physical, tangible objects, actions, relationships, or symbols. He analyzed people's behaviors and stated that we are like actors performing on a stage. In the theater, there are two halves of the stage: the front stage, where the audience can see the actors playing their parts, and the backstage, which is private and cut off from the audience, where the actors behave as themselves. When a role is truly embraced, the self disappears completely into the role. She may be expected to spend a great deal of time taking care of her children while simultaneously trying to advance her career.

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Erving Goffman's Front Stage and Back Stage Behavior

goffman 1959

Each of us is called on to play a number of different social roles at once. Thus, the symbol, with the meaning attached, dictates our behavior. Their works, when closely examined, actually share some extreme similarities. The functionalist approach has been criticized for its static understanding of roles. It is through his findings that we can better understand situational behavior.


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Erving Goffman's Front Stage and Back Stage Behavior

goffman 1959

Symbols represent many aspects of a society and include physical objects, hand gestures and pictures. It wouldn't be until someone explained to you the meaning of the object what it is used for, how to use it, and what to expect from it that you would know how to interact with it. Role theory holds that a substantial proportion of observable, day-to-day social behavior is simply persons carrying out their roles, much as actors carry out their roles on the stage or ballplayers theirs on the field. Identity becomes a product of the performance. The concept of role distance provides a sociological means of dealing with one type of divergence between obligation and actual performance.

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Goffman, E. (1959) The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. Doubleday Anchor Books, Doubleday, Garden City.

goffman 1959

The purpose of this study was to illuminate the meaning of being an informal caregiver for a person with dementia living at home and receiving day care services. For example, if you were shown an object that you have never seen before, you would not know what to do with it, what it does, if it would hurt you or even how to interact with it. So even when we are back stage, we are aware of norms and expectations, and they influence what we think and do. For example, as a young man, Tony Bassillio might be called on to play simultaneously the roles of premedical student, son, brother, apartment-mate, Catholic, Democrat, part-time mechanic, fiancé, aware 20-year-old, and man. In this approach, Goffman stated that people could be seen as performers in a theater.

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