Dramaturgy: Appearance And Manner By Erving Goffman

1558 Words 7 Pages
In this essay I am going to give a description of Erving Goffman’s dramaturgical approach. I am going to define dramaturgy and how this work by Erving Goffman was influenced by Kenneth Burke. I will explain this concept of dramaturgy through Goffman’s main ideas of the presentation of self and also impression management. Within these concepts are a number of ideas that help Goffman relate life to that of a play. I will assess the dramaturgical approach of Erving Goffman. Finally, by applying Goffman’s ideas to an everyday example, I will show how the concept of dramaturgy is relevant to modern society. Dramaturgy is the concept that life is a play and the world is a stage. This world consists of actors and their perceived roles, audiences, …show more content…
This is the how a person conforms to the common societal understanding of a role through appearance. Social life can be understood through symbols and they each hold different meanings in society. These symbols can be used to define our social status for example the symbol of a suit reflects a professional personal, which in turn highlights the prestige that they hold in society. “Appearance’ may be taken to refer to those stimuli which function at the time to tell us of the performer’s social statuses” (Goffman, 1959: 24). The audience makes judgements through these symbols in society. The manner of interaction is how our demeanor and actions is based upon the audience. Goffman states that “Manner’ may be taken to refer to those stimuli which function at the time to warn us of the interaction role the performer will expect to play in the oncoming situation” (1959: 24). This can be the attitudes that a person displays to reflect the impression they aim to give. It can be portrayed through the use of body language, gestures and facial expressions. However, with this concept of impression management Goffman gave rise to the idea of stigma. This idea is that the society is consciously aware that a person can have two social identities. This is the actual social identity of a person and their virtual social identity which Goffman identifies as the management of ‘spoiled identity’. It is difficult to avoid stigma in …show more content…
Working as a sales assistant in a technology shop there is a societal expectancy that you know about technology. The customers are the audience that you are trying to portray your ‘self’ to. The front stage is situated on the shop floor, surrounded by technology of which you are presumed to have knowledge on. Appearance and manner is seen through the dress code, for example, a black shirt with the company logo, black slacks and a name badge. The manner in which you aim to portray your image of being knowledgeable is seen through standing up tall, having your hands behind your back and appearing friendly and approachable. The manner of interaction is then based upon the customer with whom the sales assistant aims to portray their knowledge in an accessible way. For example, speaking to an elderly person the sales assistant slows down speech and talks in a basic but informative manner. The role of the team is to work together and reinforce what the other sales assistants have said in order to avoid misrepresentation. The back stage may be that of where the sales assistants are at home, they are more comfortable here but still portray an image of ‘self’ to their family members, such as eating dinner together and talking about their day. This is because there are social expectancies in all aspects of

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