Behavior In Public Space Analysis

2174 Words 9 Pages
¾ Term
The link between Freud, Elias, and Goffman
Freud, Elias, and Goffman all wrote books concerning the evolution of reflexive human behavior in modern society (1). Freud was intensely focused on proving his (at times erroneous or unprovable) assumptions about something as nebulous as human nature. Elias set out to provide historical context to the rise of civil discourse. Civil discourse, to Elias, would ultimately lead to the rise of the modern nation-state through providing an incremental paradigm by which western cultures have been molded to conduct their many forms of self-aware interaction. Goffman’s Behavior in Public Space is interested in describing and codifying the ways that we interact in different social contexts—creating
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Goffman wrote, on some level, about how certain technologies have affected our societal interactions, but he existed in a time before cellphones, computers, tablets, and other digital tools had firmly manifested themselves in the social lives of the developed world. In Chapter 9 of Behavior in Public Spaces, Goffman discusses the accessibility of social interactions. He dives into the minutia of the way that we utilize physical space & social place to set the boundaries of social interaction (1). Concepts regarding the disclosure of social interactions have been transformed with the introduction of social media and the constantly connected digital self. Goffman talks often about the way that physical objects such as walls and doors are used as engagement/disengagement tools, but was not around to see the rise of the cellphone and social media. Today, many people are constantly engaged in some form of social interaction with their friends, family, and coworkers. People text, use Facebook, receive work email, and make phone calls while traversing through public space. Once they get to a place of significant physical social interaction, if they ever feel disengaged or simply bored, they can literally disengage from physical social interactions in favor of a remote interaction through the use of their mobile …show more content…
Is it different than closing a physical door to an office in conversing with a colleague? Goffman addresses physical situational closure (152) [4] in stating that there are kinds of “physical boundaries (doors, walls, windows)” with which people are made to show regard. How would Goffman work these understandings of conventional situational closure into a modern context? Is posting a public comment addressing a friend the same as addressing that friend audibly in a public place? How have the rules of engagement and accessibility changed with the use of private versus public online spaces? To me, it seems that Goffman would fold his understanding of the physical boundaries humans have used to engage in and end social encounters into the modern through a metaphorical understanding of the digital walls, doors, and windows that we set up through privacy settings and our choices of how much information we share on the

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