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Goffman and identity

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  1. 1. Identities: gender & ethnicity Lecture 03 1
  2. 2. Recap: symbolic interactionism Concepts are used to create • Ideas, images, symbols Theories • Individuals use symbols and images in a are used to create process of visualising themselves • Identity emerges from the individual’s ability to think of him/herself in terms of the Explanations community into which s/he has been socialised. This is a conscious, creative, and reflective ability 2
  3. 3. Invent Lives for YourselvesDuration: a few monthsProps: noneEffect: disturbing From: Roger-Pol Droit (2002) Astonish Yourself: 101 Experiments in the philosophy of everyday life London, Penguin 3
  4. 4. The ‘Me’ Decade• "In 1961 a copywriter in the employ of Foote, Cone & Belding named Shirley Polykoff came up with the line: If Ive only one life, let me live it as a blonde! The basic attitude of having only one life, said Wolfe, contradicted a general belief among families and nations that had existed for centuries, which you could sum up as a belief in serial immortality.• "Boiled down, serial immortality means that were all part of a familial stream -- our lives being a completion or fulfillment of our parents lives and our childrens lives completing and fulfilling our own, and everyone understanding that were part of the same genetic river of existence and spirit.• "Polykoffs copy line, which was written for Clairol hair colouring, basically said the hell with that -- its just me, its just my life and my goals, and Im going to satisfy myself! By the time the early 70s rolled around the culture had begun to believe in the me first philosophy en masse.• Tom Wolfe The Me Decade and the Third Great Awakening. 4
  5. 5. Performance • Irving Goffman: The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life • ‘Life is a dramatically enacted thing’ 5
  6. 6. Performance• All the world really is a stage - life is a dramatic performance• We ‘perform’ for others.• We present a kind of ‘act’ to them.• We perform differently in different situations 6
  7. 7. Persona• the different personality ‘masks’ we wear in different situations, for different people. For instance, the way we behave with our family on a picnic is different to how we would behave with prisoners if we worked as a probation officer. 7
  8. 8. Performance• This refers to how we wear our persona or personality mask. For instance: – We might be ‘sincere’ in how we behave. We are honest in what we say and do. or – We might be ‘cynical’ – and not really believe in our performance. 8
  9. 9. StageWhat do we need for our ‘performance’?• A certain location.• Props/objects.• Costume/dress.These form the context for our performance.• For instance, if you were out on the ‘pull’ you might wear attractive, new clothes and go to a club/pub. 9
  10. 10. RoleThis refers to the individual ‘jobs’ or responsibilities wehave.• We wake up as a son or daughter, within a family.• We go downstairs and clear up last night’s mess (role as cleaner?) to help other family members.• We act as a comforter to an upset friend on the bus. We chat to other friends.• We arrive at university and attend lectures, use the library … 10
  11. 11. Personal Style• This is the unique, individual aspects of yourself you bring to teams, roles, persona and how you stage things!• This is what makes you different to others. 11
  12. 12. Frames• Models we rely on to make sense of experience• Frames are learned through interaction with the generalised other (society)• We share common frames• Frames reflect cultural knowledge 12
  13. 13. Use the model• Describe a first date using Goffman’s dramaturgical model – What impression do you want to create? – What definition of the situation do you want your date to accept? – How do you manage your dress, gestures, words to project the image of yourself? – How do you control the stage? – What can you not do to create the desired impression? 13
  14. 14. Impression Management• The process of managing setting, verbal/non- verbal communication, dress etc. to create a particular impression• Constructive or deceitful?• Give one example of the ways you manage the impressions you create?• Why do you use this? 14
  15. 15. Front stage/Back stage• What are the characteristics of: – Front stage – Back stage 15
  16. 16. Front stage/Back stage• Identify a role you perform, the audience for that role and the frame in which the role is enacted • List the front stage and back stage behaviours you engage in • Predict what would happen if your backstage behaviour could be observed by your audience 16
  17. 17. Concepts and Theories: Goffman Concepts are used to create • Now complete the notes for Goffman using Theories the model. are used to create Explanations 17
  18. 18. Concepts and Theories: Goffman Concepts • Roles, actors, performance, giving off are used to create information. • Identities are acted out in everyday interactions with other people. We act out identities rather like we act our roles Theories in a play where scripts are already written but we have some scope for are used to create interpretation and improvisation. • Identities are social, the product of the society in which we live. People can gain information about themselves and others Explanations through the way they behave with each other. This is not always conscious. We find out about how this happens through observation. 18