Goffman 1959. Erving Goffman's Front Stage and Back Stage Behavior 2019-02-14

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Erving Goffman's Theories: Impression Management, Dramaturgy & Symbolic Interaction

goffman 1959

Immediately you slow down but do not stop , for the police car represents a ticket if caught speeding over the posted speed limit. Collectively, a group of interlocking roles creates a social institution: the institution of law, for example, can be seen as the combination of many roles, including: police officer, judge, criminal, and victim. Being at home instead of out in public, or at work or school, is the clearest demarcation of the difference between front and back stage in social life. 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. 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. The presented the dramaturgical perspective in the 1959 book The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. Well, so did Erving Goffman, a Canadian-American sociologist, who is known most for his study and analysis of everyday human interactions.

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

goffman 1959

Doubleday Anchor Books, Doubleday, Garden City. Simply put, we will act one way in public and act another way in private. Roles, in the functionalist perspective, are relatively inflexible and are more-or-less universally agreed upon. It is through his findings that we can better understand situational behavior. As a result, various derivatives and additional concepts have developed.

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Erving Goffman's Front Stage and Back Stage Behavior

goffman 1959

It shapes not just what we do and say in a social setting, but how we dress and style ourselves, the consumer items we carry around with us, and the manner of our behavior assertive, demure, pleasant, hostile, etc. Whatever the setting of front stage behavior, we are aware of how others perceive us and what they expect of us, and this knowledge informs how we behave. Although it is recognised that different roles interact teacher and student , and that roles are usually defined in relation to other roles doctor and patient or mother and child , the functionalist approach has great difficulty in accounting for variability and flexibility of roles and finds it difficult to account for the vast differences in the way that individuals conceive different roles. Front stage behavior reflects internalized norms and expectations for our behavior that are shaped in part by the setting, the particular role we play within it, and our physical appearance. Dramaturgical analysis is defined as the study of social interaction in terms of theatrical performance.

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

goffman 1959

Goffman is considered as the pioneer of the study of face-to-face interaction and has made a substantial contribution to micro-sociology. Each of these roles has its own more or less explicit script. Of course, playing roles in society is considerably more complex than playing a part in a play. For instance, let's assume person X has a friend who is also a lawyer; we'll call him Y. The distinction between role and norm or culture thus becomes sterile.

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Sociological Theory/Role Theory

goffman 1959

Goffman establishes and analyzes the processes by which we change our behavior in order to alter or manage the impressions we give off. Individuals generally have and manage many roles. By noticing the importance of Role Distance Goffman is able to situate the concept of Identity within a single coherent structure. Within the dramaturgical analogy, social roles are the parts to be played, social norms the script of the play, and reference groups the audience. In other words, it's how we behave and interact when we have an audience. Goffman 1959 utilizes specific dramaturgical terms such as performance, teams, front and back regions, sign-vehicles, and highlights the process of dramatic realization. Waiting in line for something, boarding a bus and flashing a transit pass, and exchanging pleasantries about the weekend with colleagues are all examples of highly routinized and scripted front stage performances.

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

goffman 1959

Recent Development in Role Theory. Society has a front stage where people play parts and a backstage where they can be themselves. 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. He uses the metaphor of theatre to better understand the complexities surrounding interactions; it is from this seminal text that we establish words from the dramaturgical framework such as performance, backstage, front-stage, and costume as illustrations of interactionism. Either way, front stage behavior typically follows a routinized and learned social script shaped by cultural norms. Lesson Summary Goffman was a sociologist who used the symbolic-interaction perspective to better understood society by studying the everyday interactions and behavior of people.


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Erving Goffman's Theories: Impression Management, Dramaturgy & Symbolic Interaction

goffman 1959

Their works, when closely examined, actually share some extreme similarities. Returning to the example of a mother, if she were to find that she is unable to fulfill her obligations as defined by, say, an overly demanding spouse or religion, or child , she would experience role strain. And those can be seen on social mobility. The role expectations may be beyond what she is able to achieve or may push her to the limits of her abilities. These objects may be physical, tangible objects, actions, relationships, or symbols.

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

goffman 1959

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. We engage in front stage behavior in less public places too, like among colleagues at work and as students in classrooms, for example. This simply means a person's efforts to create specific impressions in the minds of others. The front stage is in public where all around you can see your behavior, and the backstage is home or some private place where only a select few see your behavior. And all the men and women merely players: They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts. 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.

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