Dramaturgical Perspective

Topics: Sociology, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, Erving Goffman Pages: 3 (829 words) Published: March 24, 2013
Dramaturgical Perspective

The dramaturgical perspective was developed primarily by Sociologist, Erving Goffman who recast the theatrical metaphor dramaturgy into a sociological term, meaning that social life is like a drama or stage play where intricacies of social interaction could be observed and analyzed, and people can perform in a manner that communicates how they would like others to perceive of them. Goffman stated that, “All actions are social performances that aim to give off and maintain certain desired impressions of the self to others” (Crossman, 2012).

Central to dramaturgy are the front and back regions. The front region is in essence the stage where the performance occurs. Examples of the front region are the teacher’s classroom, the public speaker’s podium, and the waiter’s restaurant dining room. It’s what the audience sees and the setting for a carefully choreographed and ordered performance. The back region is where all the activity that audience does not see, that is crucial to the front region performance occurs (Monnier, 2010).

Symbolic interactions are more related to how people look at things and how their perception affects their behavior. In America it is considered rude to blatantly stare at another individual, in certain parts of Africa, for example, that is not the case. Curiosity is a norm and it is not considered rude to stare (Henslin, 2011). Americans also have a much larger personal space bubble than many other cultures. An American doesn’t stand close enough to a stranger to accidentally brush up against them if they can at all help it. Someone from South America, who is accustomed to standing in close proximity to an individual he/she is conversing with may take offense if the individual they’re speaking to continues to move away. On the other hand, an American will likely feel quite uncomfortable participating in conversation with an individual standing closer than approximately two feet (Henslin)....
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