The Dramaturgical Approach Of Ervin Goffman

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In this essay I will outline and assess the dramaturgical approach of Ervin Goffman while considering how Goffman’s ideas could be applied to an everyday situation. Erving Goffman (1922–1982) was a micro-sociologist and he outlines his idea of the dramaturgical approach in his book called The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life (1959). Goffman’s dramaturgical analysis of social interaction is where he describes face-to-face interactions on a daily basis. Goffman analyses social life and social interactions through a metaphor of the theatre, examining the ways in which people present themselves to each other in different situations, he argues, the world is much more like a stage.

According to Oxford Dictionary of Sociology, dramaturgy or
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It is not like something we consciously know about but rather it arises in the acting process of performance. It takes collective effort to stage a convincing performance, complete with roles, scripts, costumes, and a stage. Goffman indicates this is achieved by using the metaphor of the theatre. He projects the metaphor of the theatre out to individuals who interact with each other, suggesting that everyone is performing an action and individuals are also an audience and receiving an action. The sociology of Goffman is then the study of how people convince others to believe in certain things. As he suggests, they do this by using a variety of theatrical tools. For example, convincing performance, complete roles, gestures, appropriate language is used, scripted dialogue and satisfactory…show more content…
As Goffman claims, whenever actors implement a role, they must take a position on their belief in the role, they must decide whether they feel that the impression of reality they will project is ‘true’. When we find that the individual has no belief in his own act, we might call him ‘cynical’ and ‘insincere’ (1959:17-18). In The Managed Heart (1983) by Arlie Hochschild, she looks at flight attendants as an example and describes types of social actions. Guy Oakes in The Soul of the Salesman (1990) studies insurance sales people and Stephen Miller in The Social Base of Sales Behavior (1964) examines car salesmen and their behaviour and social interactions. These salespeople must have gotten suitable training to perform well in their social roles. They must believe in what they are selling so the customers will buy it, otherwise if the customers don’t feel convinced to buy the products or services they might just feel insincerity and
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