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← Erving Goffman and the Performed Self

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Showing Revision 2 created 02/01/2017 by Kirstin Cosper.

  1. ♪ (light jazz music) ♪
  2. "All the world's a stage
  3. and all the men
    and women merely players;
  4. they have their exits
    (knife slicing)
  5. and their entrances,
    (baby crying)
  6. and one man in his time
    plays many parts..."
  7. The sociologist Erving Goffman
    took these lines
  8. from As You Like It
    very seriously.
  9. In his dramaturgical account
    of human interaction,
  10. he argued that we display
    a series of masks to others,
  11. enacting roles,
  12. controlling and staging
    how we appear,
  13. ever concerned
    with how we are coming across,
  14. constantly trying to set ourselves
    in the best light.
  15. According to Goffman,
    (page turns)
  16. we play a range of different parts
    (speaking angrily)
  17. determined by the situations
    we take ourselves to be in
  18. and how we think
    we are coming across.
  19. We adapt what we are depending
    on who we are interacting with.
  20. This is most apparent
  21. in awkward situations
  22. where we suddenly find ourselves
    trying to play two inconsistent roles.
  23. As for example, when
    we accidentally encounter friends
  24. from very different social groups
    and have to juggle masks.
  25. The analogy with acting only goes
    so far for Goffman, though,
  26. because in his view,
    there is no true self,
  27. no identifiable performer
    behind the roles.
  28. The roles just are the performer.
  29. He challenged the idea
    that each of us has
  30. a more or less fixed character,
    a psychological identity.
  31. At least in the role
    of author
  32. of The Presentation of Self
    in Everyday Life
    , he did.
  33. ♪ (light jazz music) ♪
  34. ♪ (light jazz music) ♪