Goffman Dramaturgical Analysis

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Kevin McCowen 13347796 Outline & assess goffmans dramaturgical approach, in your answer you should consider how these ideas can be applied to everyday life. “Life its self is a dramatically enacted thing” – Goffman (1959:72) Intro Goffman, where he was from, his influences and how these shaped his dramaturgical approach. Goffman spent 3 years in a mental institution in Bethseda Maryland. Goffmans Dramaturgical Approach Throughout his work on symbolic interactionism and dramaturgy one key thing to note is the language he uses, Goffman uses the language of the theatre, people become actors, their daily routines become their performances, the performances that they play on the frontstage, which is significantly different to that of the backstage,…show more content…
For example, an inmate in a high security prison may love ballet, yet, he will never make this known to his other inmates or the prison guards as he would be ridiculed. This ensures audience segregation. A typical symbolic interactionist will argue that if we did not act as the example above i.e individuals measuring how appropriate the image they wish to portray is by the imagining responses of others to their actions, then in turn we would not be able to co-ordinate our behaviour with various peer groups and vary our performance from one to another then we would be unable to engage in relatively predictable and smooth functioning behaviour. This is where Goffmans dramaturgical approach varies to that of a traditional symbolic interactionist. Goffman does not deny what traditional symbolic interactionists argue. Instead he is more interested in how the presence of other individuals, social arrangements, social order, social hierarchy and the interaction order shape the image of ones ‘self’. Goffman studied & explored the nature of ones self and its relation to the broader moral codes & social attidudes that shape agents interaction…show more content…
Everyone does it, consciously or sub-consciously. Imagine the scenario when a group of peers are hanging out together for the weekly routine of pre-drinks or ‘prinks’ as they are known colloquially. A phone rings. It’s one of the ‘lads’ mother. As soon as he answers everyone in the room immediately begins to start shouting profanities down the line. The person reciving the call changes immediately. They leap up to try and escape the call. Their body language, tone of voice and personality changes. They no longer have the mob mentality of hanging out with their peers they had 30 seconds prior to receiving the call. Instead they become the soft toned caring sweatheart their mother knows them as. Goffman describes this front in two parts (i) the setting or scenery and (ii) personal front. The set consists of the scenery & props that create the physical space for the actor to successfully complete their role. A referee needs a football pitch, and a stripper needs a nightclub. The personal front consists of the items/ props or “expressive equipment” In the case of the stripper these items would consist of a bikini to show her scantily clad breast implants and a pole to dance around.

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