Institutions by dfhdhdhdhjr


									Social Structure part II
  Erving Goffman
  Presentation of Self
Erving Goffman
   When he was teaching at the University of
    Chicago, Erving Goffman was known for his
    strange techniques of observing social
   He would schedule a class to meet outside on
    a warm day, and then not show up himself,
    instead observing how the students handled
    the situation through binoculars from a distant
Erving Goffman
   The Presentation of the Self in Everyday Life
“The Presentation of Self”
   "When an individual plays a part he
    implicitly requests his observers to take
    seriously the impression that is fostered
    before them." – (Goffman,1959)
Dramaturgical model
   Goffman believed in the dramaturgical model
    of social life, that is, all social life is theatrical
   He determined that in life there are actors,
    scripts, stages and props
Front stage
   Goffman revolves his view of the human life around the
    belief that we are all actors who have both a Front stage
    behavior and a Back stage behavior
   From an early age we have become skilled actors and move
    in and out of 'roles' with precision
   We follow the formal societal rules when we are on the front
    stage reciting a 'script', playing a 'role‘
   This would include going to work, presenting ourselves as the
    person we should uphold to take part in society
Credibility and the Ethical-Virtuous Front

   A front must be convincing - "in-line" with expectations
   This is significant in terms of attributing ethical, correct or
    "inappropriate" (if not quite so clearly unethical)
   The actor transmits information via various channels (a
    process to be controlled if others are to be convinced that
    behavior is in line with the role and person they assume).
   Such credibility is won by satisfying the expected duties and
    manners of an attributed role being consistent in
    communication of activities and traits
Credibility and the Ethical-Virtuous Front
     An "idealized" front conforms to conventions,
      mores and rules required by the audience (the
      team, the gang, the public). The aim is for the
      performance to be believed. The actor wants it -
      the audience want it. Credibility is manifested in
      verbal and non-verbal signifiers used to
      establish intention to verify the integrity and
      honesty of what is said or done and how it is
Signs and Signifiers
   Various signs and signifiers are used in projecting the front
    1.   The Social setting (scenery, props, location)
         The front incorporates the setting and baggage we bring with us
    2.    We enter, reside in perform in and leave settings (home, office,
         surgery, factory floor, the board room, restaurant, bed, funeral
         procession) and these may offer protections. Some are relatively fixed
         - some vary according to time (years or moments) or place.
    3.   We assemble "sign-equipment" in our settings of interaction and our
         projection of impression may be turned on/off according to setting.
         Some impressions in a particular setting may be seen as profane
         (girlie pictures on locker room walls) depending on the significance
         of the symbols to the actors and audience
   Appearance is an element of "front" or
    "role". Expectations about appearance are
    often regularized or normative within a
   Appearance works ritualistically to tell of the
    performer's status - formal or informal,
    conformity/individuality. Dress, props (clothes, car,
    house, food, body posture, facial expressions,
    gestures) serve to communicate gender, status,
    occupation, age and personal commitments.
   Manner - how we play the role;
   The personal touch - works to warn others of
    how the performer will act or seek to act in
    role - dominant, aggressive, yielding,
    receptive etc)
   A manner is expected - of the doctor, the sales
    person, the mother, exposed politician.
   Inconsistency with appearance and manner
    may confuse and upset an audience/observer
    until enough information is gathered to decide
    what is coherent or what is not
   We may not expect a Prime Minister for
    example to be playing in a rock and roll band
    (unless it is for charity and only for a few
    playful moments in a highly controlled
Risk Taking
   Definition of the "full" self can also involve performance in
    voluntary, consequential actions (not always available in
    standard role settings)
   Outside of their normal roles, many seek excitement in
   Experience of higher risk action in other, outward oriented
    performances (outside of home, family, a steady low risk job)
    becomes more important in defining "strength of character“
   Many high risk and action settings provide occasion and
    place for expression of moral sensibilities such as bravery,
    courage, determination, reliability, mastery of valued arts
    which inspires the confidence of others.
A Repertoire of Stereotypical Fronts?

   We have a repertoire and vocabulary of
    manageable fronts (Goffman's term) which
    we use across a multitude of settings
   Others anticipate and base expectations
    "me/you" from stereotypical, stock traits "we"
    project (e.g. father, tutor, confidant, banker
    manager, car dealer)
Meanwhile..... in private
   The actor may behave differently than when in
    front of the audience
      1.   Workers who can justify theft from their employer or excessive
           travel expense claims to themselves
      2.   An accountant who may correct errors and mistakes before a
           presentation to senior managers (a performance). The fact of the
           errors is concealed. An impression of infallibility is maintained -
           protecting the front.
      3.   A car dealer may valet and polish a second hand car - concealing
           the fact that little or nothing has been done to remedy deeper
           mechanical faults. The dealer however may safeguard his/her
           position by offering (at a price) a warranty.
Back stage
   Back Stage behavior is informal, as we'd
    act when we are amongst friends
   Here the front stage impression may be
    contradicted elaborating the "truth of the
   Secondary presentations arise
   Conflict and difference can be more
    evident as team members may feel less
    bound by the exigencies of public role
   Outside (off-stage)
    - individual actors may meet the audience
    independently of the team performance
   Specific performances may be given and the
    audience segmented
   In the ancient Greek, "personality" has a dramatic
    meaning - the "mask" we wear it wherever we go as
    we present ourselves to ourselves and to others
   It reflects our self concept - what we seek to
    maintain about ourselves - the self (mask) we think
    we have, the one we think we project and that
    others perceive etc.
   "Self" is socially constructed
Principles of Performance
   Individuals and audiences are taken in with
   They become a "reality“
   But the performances may be less than
    convincing - seen insincere, interpreted as a
    masquerade of self-interest
   The performer may consciously guide the
    audience for his/her own ends
The Drama
    Through the drama actors give meaning to themselves,
     to others (and of others) and their situation
    Interactions (performances before observers) deliver
     impressions to others according to the actors goals
    Information is exchanged to confirm identity and the
     significance of behavior
    The actor may have no "intent" and may be unaware or
     uncertain of their performance
    Nonetheless others impute attributes to them
Groups and membership
   The scope for dissent is minimized as
    individuals must maintain their front/face in
    line with expectations of team performance.
    The team also may project a "proper front" for
    each audience
   This guides the team, actors and audience as
    they maintain consistent interactions and
    relationships in "appropriate" settings
Goffman's framework of analysis casts
light on:
   How we shape and control the impression we
    make on others (audience) in order to
    influence their reactions.
   His terminology and account of relationships/
    processes enables us to step back from a
    subjective reality and symbolise/objectivise
Goffman's framework
   The framework is helpful and facilitates some
    prediction of processes and outcomes of social
   We may anticipate (predict) what may happen in
    various situations e.g. a business person meeting
    clients for a difficult negotiation.
   Actions associated with "front" are symbolized as
    routines, standard expectations, rituals and cues -
    abstractions which take concrete form - a process we
    call "reification" (attributing concreteness to
    abstracted generalizations)
Quiz # 3
   Actors
   Script
   Stages (Front, back, and off-stage)
   Verbal and non-verbal signifiers
   Appearance
   Manner

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