The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life
The Presentation of Self In Everyday Life, was written by Erving Goffman. He
discusses how individuals learn to present themselves in social situations in order
to progress through life.
This book is important as the primary essay for this course is based upon the
material in the book. Students are required to use his terms and apply them to their
own personal experience. In addition this book will be on the exam.
- Performance has to be believable
- Individuals = are like actors, and the people they interact with = are like
- We learn from a young age the code, the shared meanings that go along with
the material culture. We as a society have shared symbols that make
communication possible. One example that was used in class was a pair of
rainbow earrings. These earrings may be a code symbolizing that the wearer
is a lesbian. What is important about these symbols/code is that the audience
has to be able to understand it. There must be a shared meaning.
Externals VS. Internals
- Transparency is important in our everyday life.
- We want to have it in out interactions.
- We want people to be who they say they are
- Simmel – made the distinction between externals and internals
- EXTERNALS= are something that we can see
- INTERNALS = are things that are there that we cannot see
What makes someone a professor?
- we know who the professor is by the way that they are dressed, and the
actions they take; those are externals.
- An Internal would be something like tenure. We cannot see it but we know it
- There is no performance that does not rely on power.
- Those with more power have less rules that apply to them. Tenured
professors for example do not have to adhere to a strict dress code.
We want our performance to be seamless. We tend to idealize the performance that
means we must conceal any actions that are inconsistent with the standards of the
performance. Any errors we may make during a performance are immediately
corrected. For example if you are out for dinner on a date, you want to appear put
together and desirable. If you notice you have spinach in your teeth (that is something that may go against the image of being desirable) you would immediately
find a (hopefully discrete) way of getting it out.
Gender and Performance
-Naomi Wolfe – Wrote a book called the Beauty Myth
- She argues in this book that Bodywork (anything you do to get ready) is
- Society tells