Goffman’s account of modification of the “self” through performance Essay

Goffman’s account of modification of the “self” through performance Essay

Length: 1269 words (3.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Berger and Luckmann’s The Social Construction of Reality and Irving Goffman’s The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life analyze human interaction in the context of actions we perform and the meanings that such actions take in social environments. I will analyze Goffman’s account of modification of the “self” through performance within the context of Berger and Luckmann’s hypothesis. The theatrical performance metaphor looks at how socialization and experience affect the use of fronts, expressions, and expressions given off.
Berger and Luckmann explain that everyday life presents itself to audiences as a reality interpreted through typifications that constitutes the fabric of social meaning. Goffman focuses on social interactions as dramaturgical performances that exhibit both “expressions given” and “expressions given off” within social sites made up of “front-stage” and “back-stage” environments. In both perspectives, to act solely for the sake of acting is not possible. All actions are social performances that give off impressions of “self” to other actors in society based upon past experiences and typifications.
Berger and Luckmann offer a treatise to the social construction of reality that outlines how we formulate the idea of the “self” in social society and how reality itself is socially constructed. “Knowledge must always be knowledge from a certain position.” It is our social position that guides our perceptions of reality and allows us to embrace our idea of “self” within reality. Everyday life presents itself as a reality that is interpreted by others and is subjectively meaningful because of such interpretations.
Goffman offers the same argument on a micro-sociological level. He claims, “information about the in...

... middle of paper ...

... we will act as such to keep up the expectation.
Through providing a micro-level analysis of the “self” through theatrical dramaturgy, Goffman supplies an adequate account of how modification of the “self” happens via performance. Taking parallel theories and ideas, each author builds upon the arguments of the other and Goffman provides enough detailed examples of social development through performance to satisfy the treatises of Berger and Luckmann’s account. Therefore, the arguments of Goffman and Berger and Luckmann work best when combined, giving us the most insight into the “self.”

Works Cited

Berger, Peter, and Thomas Luckmann. The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge. 1st ed. Garden City: Anchor Books, 1966. Print.

Goffman, Erving. The Presentation Of Self In Everyday Life. New York, NY, USA: Anchor, 1959. Print.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Goffman, The And Social Sciences Essay

- Erving Goffman was a Canadian-born, extremely influential, sociologist and one of the most cited authors in the humanities and social sciences. Goffman is probably best-known for his study of symbolic interactionism. This theory was explained through a famous dramaturgical analysis, from his 1959 book, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. Goffman is also known for his research on total institution shown in his work, Asylums (1961). A major area of Goffman’s study included the sociology of everyday life, social interaction, the social construction of self, moving away from macro sociological studies such as that of Marx and many other significant sociologists....   [tags: Sociology, Erving Goffman, Total institution]

Strong Essays
1229 words (3.5 pages)

Functionalist Theory Of The Middle Range And Goffman 's Theories Of Impression Management And Total Institutions

-   Theory Paper This theory paper will provide a comparison of Robert K. Merton and Erving Goffman. These two theorists are very different. Merton is considered to be a functionalist and Goffman is an interactionist. These two different trajectories led these thinkers to have very different theories and ideas about the social world. The contrasts can be seen in some of their well known theories including Merton’s theories of the middle range and Goffman’s theories of impression management and total institutions....   [tags: Sociology, Scientific method, Erving Goffman]

Strong Essays
1897 words (5.4 pages)

Analysis of Erving Goffman´s Gender Advertisements Essay

- ... By not saying anything you are also exacting that same feeling of oppression. With privileged positions comes gender discrimination. There is a clear distinction between women and men. According to Block and Galabuzi, women encompass barriers to ideal jobs, as they are more likely to be stuck with a low-paid job that is insecure with few or no benefits. Compared to men, women witness a gendered income gap where they receive less than their male counterparts (Block, and Galabuzi). In the Mooney reading, they mentioned a myth where mothers on welfare have large families with many children and that unmarried women have children solely to reap the benefits of welfare....   [tags: social, cultural, performance]

Strong Essays
2155 words (6.2 pages)

Goffman Essay

- Goffman “All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players: They have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts…”Student of sociology, believe Erving Goffman could easily claimed to have made that statement just as Shakespeare is given due. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life details dramaturgy or as Goffman himself relates, “The Perspective employed in this report is that of the theatrical performance…” (Preface, p. xi). Using theater metaphors Goffman wanted to analyze frame by frame the organization of the social experience....   [tags: Book Review, Social Exchange]

Strong Essays
1911 words (5.5 pages)

Theories of Contextual Behavior in Erving Goffman’s The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life

- ... Thus, the appearance of an individual portrays their current social status or role within society. A person wearing a white lab coat may cause an audience to believe that person is of high social status, perhaps working as a doctor or scientist, while someone wearing a McDonald’s uniform will portray a lower social and economic status. With appearance, the manner with which an actor interacts with an audience fulfills a similar role. The appearance and manner of the actor should be consistent with one another so as to avoid confusion within the audience (Goffman 1956:15)....   [tags: interactions, socialization, social media]

Strong Essays
1104 words (3.2 pages)

Essay on B Du Bois And Erving Goffman

- W.E.B Du Bois and Erving Goffman were two of the most important and well known theorists in sociology. W.E.B Du Bois was an African American sociologist and an activist who studied at Harvard University. He studied sociology customs of the individual. His theoretical work dealt with racism and the color line. He influenced the foundation and direction of Black education. Du Bois’ theoretical work relates to a conflict perspective because of the tension that was overlooked due to all human rights, blacks in particular....   [tags: Sociology, African American, Race]

Strong Essays
1455 words (4.2 pages)

Essay on An Analysis Of The Sociological Theories Of The Research Foundation

- Analysis of the Sociological Theories The Progeria Research Foundation is an organization that helps children that has Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome or commonly known as progeria. Progeria is a rare fatal genetic disease that affects children by accelerating the aging process of their appearance. There is no cure for this disease and the average life span of a child with this disorder is fourteen years of age. My senior year of high school I dedicated my senior project to this organization to raise awareness and help donate money towards a cure, and since then I have been a member....   [tags: Sociology, Erving Goffman, Symbolic interactionism]

Strong Essays
983 words (2.8 pages)

Symbolic Interactionism And Conflict Theory Essay

- Symbolic interaction differs greatly from the other major theoretical approaches in sociology. Where functionalism and conflict theory examine society as a whole, symbolic interaction focuses its attention on the individual level. Initially created by George Herbert Mead, the basic premise of symbolic interactionism is that reality is socially constructed. Rather than dealing with an objective reality, every individual perceives the world through the filter of their cultural and childhood socialization....   [tags: Sociology, Symbolic interactionism, Erving Goffman]

Strong Essays
772 words (2.2 pages)

Understanding The Presentation Of Self Essay example

- ... Interpretations of ‘Passing’ Numerous scholars have done extensive research on the notion of ‘passing or ‘satus passage’ (Garfinkel 1967; Schrock 2009; Stone 1991, Halberstam 1998, Roen 2002; Namaste 2005; Rubin 2003; Snorton 2009). In his revolutionary book, Garfinkel (1967), discussed a woman named Agnes who was born with male genitalia and raised as boy before puberty hit (Garfinkel 1967: 119). Agnes started to develop female secondary sex characteristics as puberty began to take place and thus Agnes took on a female role in society that she felt more accurately represented her (Garfinkel 1967: 120-121)....   [tags: Transgender, Gender, Male, Sociology]

Strong Essays
1616 words (4.6 pages)

Dramaturgical Analysis Essay

- “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” William Shakespeare may have written these words in As You Like It in 1600, but Erving Goffman truly defined the phrase with his dramaturgical theory. Dramaturgical analysis is the study of social interaction in terms of theatrical performance. Unlike actors though, who use a script telling them how to behave in every scene, real life human interactions change depending upon the social situation they are in. We may have an idea of how we want to be perceived, and may have the foundation to make that happen....   [tags: social interaction, Erving Goffman, interactionism]

Strong Essays
1189 words (3.4 pages)