Erving Goffman. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life
Review by J R
Erving Goffman has completed a wonderful presentation of human behaviour and face-to-face interactions, of a first meeting between two people, who may or may not have an audience. The use of a theatrical performance to explain the interaction was indeed an ingenious idea that kept me intrigued until the very end. This book was written in 1959 but its referencing to human behaviour is still very much relevant to today’s life style. Human behaviour patterns have been written about by many individuals over the years, why we do the things we do or how long we have been undertaking these behaviours. Is there any relevance to the patterns in our behaviour? It would seem there definitely appears to be. As a society, to influence how another person perceives who we are. We give appearances and refinements of someone we want people to see, yet not particularly who we truly are. Goffman describes this as a performance, a play that we put on to give a good first impression. This play could become a nightmare, if we do not keep it under control. It can be difficult to play the part of someone you are not, for the reason that it can rebound on you. It is better to persist with who you are, and not reveal all of yourself in the beginning, like a good story. To present who we are, we should start at the foundation, begin with presenting an opening act. This act should be near to true life, the person you would like to be known as. Currently a person of importance gives the impression that they know what they are doing, example your doctor. If they were a person who, on first meeting gave the impression that they were unsure, confused and unconfident, would you go back to them? No, perhaps not. Even when they are having a bad day your doctor will always appear to be in control, so that we feel more at ease. When we first meet new people we try to acquire information about them, it is then how the...
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