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Presentation of Self in Everyday Life Essay

A Canadian-American sociologist/writer named Erving Goffman, proposed the dramaturgical perspective or the theory of “dramaturgy” in his book: The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, in order to explain the behavior of people. The book catered the interest of many readers as it was published initially in 1956. Not only mentioning the successful integration of the dramaturgical approach as a major contribution in Sociology, Goffman, was also criticized for the detraction of such authentic-written style of research he used as compared to the conventional researches that was used by many researchers and proponents of some theories.

Goffman, as a competent and keen observant, combined different theories related to support and create his new theory of dramaturgy (Sannicolas, 1997). Moreover, the focus of this paper then, is to discuss the relevance of dramaturgy in everyday scenario of a man’s real life. Body Dramaturgy is a term popularized by sociologist, Erving Goffman, pertaining to the study of mechanisms of man’s social interactions by means of communication and “face-to face” encounters.

Dramaturgy emphasizes the creation or projection of “roles” attempting to be congruent and accepted in the norms of society where a particular man or “actor” belongs in order to avoid ostracism and harmful discrimination of the majority group at their backs (an example of backstage behavior). It also functions for man to rehearse and practice one’s ideal goals for the purpose of portraying those roles into the “stage” or real world (frontstage behavior), and to be viewed by perceived viewers or onlookers (audience).

The dramaturgy or dramaturgical perspective can be best understood by showing an example in some personal and professional situations. For instance, in a particular scenario, a play, an act or a drama occurs; perhaps, a person encountering an acquaintance or friend, may be “forced” in the situation to greet the person coming nearby and may therefore reveal a phony or a fake smile in order for the other person not to think negatively about the person who is expected to greet.

The second person on the other hand, would and might as well return the greetings back because of the perceived “rightness” of the act as implied by the social norms and equity rules. Moreover, these two different persons may perform and engage in a talk and communicate through non-verbal gestures and of course, verbal language; these persons then, may use or show a facial mask or a facade we call in psychology, the “persona”.

In a professional situation however, a good example may be the HR interviewer and the applicant (interviewee): both would have to perform their assigned and implied roles as for the HR interviewer, has to appear intimidating, serious, and straightforward with less smiles, and for the applicant’s part, one has to act as the confident but not so arrogant and aggressive projected image to impress the interviewer and has to act that one knows what one is doing and the position applying for (Sannicolas, 1997). Conclusion

Further, it is concluded that the theory of dramaturgy explains the tendency of people to project rehearsed roles for the purpose of perfecting their interpersonal social skills. Sincere or not, obsequious or assertive, man’s mechanism is explained as such dominated by those internal ideal roles that is projected and performed outwards by persons in social situations (Sannicolas, 1997). References Sannicolas, N. (1997). Erving Goffman, dramaturgy, and on-line relationships. Retrieved October 31, 2008, from, http://www. dinicola. it/sit/Cybersoc%20Issue%201%20-%20Erving%20Goffman,Dramaturgy,and%20On-Line%20Relationships. htm


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