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  1. 1. DRAMATURGYContemporary Sociological TheoryDanielle Dirks, Ph.D.
  2. 2. OBJECTIVESIntroduce DramaturgyExplore Goffman’s contributions tounderstanding social interactions
  3. 3. Sociology of Knowledge Symbolic Phenomenological Interactionism Sociology Labeling Existential Ethno-Dramaturgy Theory Sociology methodology
  4. 4. ORIGINS“All the world’s a stage,And all the men and women are merely players.” William Shakespeare, As You Like It
  5. 5. DEFINITIONView that social life is a theatricalperformance...We are all actors on metaphorical stages,with roles, costumes, props, scripts,and sets
  6. 6. QUESTIONSHow do we maintain the social order?How do individuals define situations?
  7. 7. GOALSFocus onFace-to-face interactionsRoutines and ritualsEmotions
  8. 8. FACE-TO-FACE“Reciprocal influence of individuals uponanother’s actions when in one another’simmediate physical presence” Goffman (1959): 15
  9. 9. TENETS1) All actions are social in nature2) All social actions are performances3) All performances are managed
  10. 10. THEORISTS Erving Goffman
  11. 11. AN SI SCHOLAR? Erving Goffman
  12. 12. GOFFMAN’S BOOKS Several, but best known: 1 Presentation of Self (1959) 2 Asylums (1961) 3 Stigma (1963) 4 Interaction Ritual (1967) 5 Gender Advertisements (1976) 6 Frame Analysis (1974)
  13. 13. OUR FOCUSPerformancesRegions + Behavior
  14. 14. OUR FOCUSFor your in-class presentations:PerformancesTeamsRegions + BehaviorDiscrepant RolesCommunication Out of Character
  15. 15. Life is a Series of Performances
  16. 16. PERFORMANCESCynical PerformersSincere Performers
  17. 17. How is this a performance?
  18. 18. How is this a performance?
  19. 19. PERFORMANCESAppearanceManner
  20. 20. PERFORMANCESActorsStagesRolesCostumesPropsScriptsSets
  21. 21. Defining the Situation
  22. 22. Expressions We Give v. Expressions We Give Off
  23. 23. Modes of Expression: Symmetry v. Asymmetry
  24. 24. MOTIVATIONS?1) Achieve personal goals2) Present positive view of ourselves to world3) Conform to social norms
  25. 25. How do we manage shame?
  26. 26. ON SHAME “There is no interaction in which the participants do not take an appreciable chance of being slightly embarrassed or a slight chance of being deeply humiliated. Life may not be much of a gamble, but interaction is.” Goffman in Presentation of Self (1956):156
  27. 27. Is social life manipulative or moral?
  28. 28. OUR FOCUSPerformancesRegions + Behavior
  29. 29. REGIONSFront StageBack Stage
  30. 30. Front Stage: Situations in which we perform for audiences
  31. 31. Back Stage: Situations in which we are able to contradict the “truth of the performance”
  32. 32. On Stage “Off the Record”
  33. 33. Do the front stage and back stage ever overlap?“IFH Mondays”: Is this still the front stage though?
  34. 34. OUR FOCUSFor your in-class presentations:PerformancesTeamsRegions + BehaviorDiscrepant RolesCommunication Out of Character
  35. 35. Team: How do sets of individuals help define situations together?
  36. 36. Discrepant Roles: Are individuals part of the performance, team and/or audience?
  37. 37. Communication Out of Character:Are our performances always perfect?
  38. 38. CRITICISMSHow accurate are our observations?Gouldner: Too microPsathas & Schegloff: Too unsystematic
  39. 39. CRITICISMS “All the world is not a stage-- certainly the theatre isn’t entirely. (Whether you organize a theatre or an aircraft factory, you need to find places for cars to park and coats to be checked, and these had better be real places, which, incidentally, had better carry real insurance against theft.” Goffman in Frame Analysis (1974):1
  40. 40. DISCUSSIONHow could you use dramaturgy in your ownresearch projects?
  41. 41. QUESTIONS?
  42. 42. Thank You!
  43. 43. Thank You!Danielle Dirks, Ph.D.Department of SociologyOccidental