The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life

Topics: Sociology, Erving Goffman, Symbolic interactionism Pages: 2 (572 words) Published: September 24, 2006
The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life
By: Erving Goffman

What Goffman writes about is how an individual reacts when they come into the presence of others. He tries to come up with a type of human model that represents how individuals try to perceive others with knowledge that was previously obtained. According to Goffman, information about the individual helps to setup the situation, which in turn helps others to predict what the individual might expect of them or vice versa.

If analyzed from a functionalist's point of view a type of structure and order seems to appear. It seems reasonable to say that every individual has had encounters with multiple types of people with different personalities. This seems to be a critical function for any individual who wants to interact with another. Looking at it this way has made it become a required function in communicating with others. In addition, it also seems as if we don't necessarily approach people statistically or scientifically. We tend to live by inference, in this aspect it basically means that although we might treat people according to previous knowledge we have, we initially would treat them as if they were a guest which would indicate a type of structure we have created in presenting ourselves to others.

While looking at it from a conflict theorist's point of view we see a type of struggle going on between the individual being presented and the observers. Knowing that an individual might present himself in way which makes him appear better, the observers might categorize what they see into two parts. The first makes it easy for the individual to influence their presence upon the person or seems to give them some control over the appearance they are trying to give off. Then the observers may use what are considered to be the uncontrollable aspects of the person's expressive behavior to check how accurately the person is conveying themselves. This type of control which is given to the individual...
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