The presentation of the self”

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  • Publicado : 21 de noviembre de 2010
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In his book “The Presentation of the Self” Goffman lays out his theory of the interactive processes that individuals undertake within established social systems and through which they define andsustain their self. He uses a dramaturgical analogy as a framework for this interaction analysis. Goffman discusses the double persona each individual embodies and how the self and the identity that onebuilds exude two types of communication in daily routines which are described by Goffman as expressions given and expressions given off, in other words, conscious and intended symbols expressed inverbal communication and a variety of actorial, non-verbal forms of communication, presumably unintentional. In order to present a coherent portrayal of the self there must be symmetry or congruencebetween the two forms of communication.
Goffman also uses the concept of “front” and “back” to describe the impression management the individual applies in order to evoke a particular response from thepeople he or she interacts with. While “front” (on stage) refers to a standardized set of expressions used in situations in a general and fixed way, “back” (backstage) is the setting in whichindividuals prepares for the on stage performance but does not have to continuously act and emphasize those aspects of themselves they wish to convey to others. However, one should acknowledge that actors donot create these “fronts” but rather chose an existing front or compose their own from already cemented societal components. That allows the audience to consider themselves familiar with the front andbe able to interpret it and act accordingly.
Similarly to Durkheim, Goffman adopted the idea of a rigid and defined moral order pervading society and sustaining social interactions. However,Durkheim explored moral order as durable, predictable and consistent, while Goffman viewed it is as rather flexible, impermanent and in constant need of repair. Therefore, although one could deduce that...
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