Erving Goffman's Dramaturgical Approach

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5) Outline and assess the dramaturgical approach of Erving Goffman. In your answer you should consider how Goffman’s ideas could be applied to an everyday situation of your choice. This essay will examine Erving Goffman’s dramaturgical approach to everyday living, including the social roles we play and social behaviours that we convey. A number of Goffman’s concepts will be discussed such as front and back stage, dramatic realisation and impression management with each idea applying to the everyday situation of interacting with friends over lunch. It will explain Goffman’s theory in total institutions and look at the types of stigma in society. Goffman’s theory was based on the face to face interactions of those whom everyone came in contact…show more content…
They have no control over their ‘front’ as they would always be performing, even daily tasks like sleeping and eating in the presence of their inmates and supervisors, they are never truly alone. “The barrier that total institutions place between the inmate and the wider world marks the first curtailment of self…membership automatically disrupts role scheduling, since the inmate’s separation from the wider world lasts around the clock and may continue for years” (Goffman, 1961: 14). Therefore their role in society diminishes and what once was an individual identity is replaced with a devalued self-image. Stigma “the situation of the individual who is disqualified from full social acceptance” (Goffman, 1963: 9) is another concept of Goffman’s where individuals are stigmatised by society for being different and not fitting into the ‘normal’ category. In his book ‘Stigma’ the first chapter describes the three types of stigma, the first stigma of physique “abominations of the body – the various physical deformities” (Goffman, 1963: 14), second, stigma of character attributes “blemishes of individual character perceived as weak will, domineering or unnatural passions, treacherousness and rigid beliefs, and dishonesty, these being inferred from a known record of, for example, mental disorder, imprisonment, addiction, alcoholism, homosexuality, unemployment, suicide attempts, and radical political behaviour” (1963: 14), and lastly stigma of group identity “the tribal stigma of race, nation, and religion, these being stigma that can be transmitted through lineages and equally contaminate all members of a family” (1963: 14). Those stigmatised experience stereotypical discriminative behaviour on a daily basis, they
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