Mead And Symbolic Interactionism Essay

2569 words - 10 pages

Performance StageErving Goffman uses the metaphor of a stage to explain human behavior in everyday life.Key PointsAll identities and behaviors are dependent upon the audience to whom one performs.Everyone seeks to control others' impressions of themselves. This is called impression management.Dramaturgy emphasizes the dual evaluative work that is undertaken by both the performer and the audience, thus demonstrating the inseparable link between performer and audience, individual and society.Front stage behaviors are those that are visible to the audience, while back stage behaviors are those to which the audience does not have access.TermsBack StageActions that only occur when the audience is not around.Front StageActions that are visible to the audience and are part of the performance.Impression ManagementIn sociology and social psychology, impression management is a goal-directed conscious or unconscious process in which people attempt to influence the perceptions of other people about a person, object or event; they do so by regulating and controlling information in social interaction.ExamplesAn example of the difference between front stage and back stage behaviors would be the type of customer service embodied by baristas at the local coffee shop. While on the clock and in front of customers, baristas will typically do what the customer wants and try to look untroubled by obnoxious requests. The barista wishes to convey to the customer that she is willing to meet the customer's needs. However, as soon as the customer leaves, the barista might deride the customer to coworkers. This shows how individuals are constantly attuned to audience and will alter their behaviors accordingly.Dramaturgy is a sociological perspective that is a component of symbolic interactionism and is used in sociological analysis of everyday life. Developed by American sociologist Erving Goffman in his seminal 1959 text The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, dramaturgy uses the metaphor of theater to explain human behavior. According to this perspective, individuals perform actions in everyday life as if they were performers on a stage. Identity is performed through roles. Here, the term "role" works in two ways, referencing both the name for a theatrical character and the ways in which individuals fill roles in reality by acting as a mother, friend, husband, etc. Dramaturgy argues that the presentation of oneself through role is a way of engaging with society.Impression ManagementGoffman contends that each performance is a presentation of self and that everyone seeks to create specific impressions in the minds of others. This universal drive is called impression management. Individuals manage others' impressions of them by successfully portraying themselves "onstage," or in public. People present themselves to others based on cultural values, norms, and expectations. Most of the time, people seek to meet society's expectations, but the dramaturgical frame applies...

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