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Chapter 4

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SOC 2700
C Yule

Chapter 6, Contemporary Theories of Everyday Life Symbolic Interactionism  Focus is on every day life  Interactions and the symbols (and their meanings) that are deeply implicated in it  People act towards things, but they do so on the basis on the meanings those things have for them  These meanings stem from our interactions with other people  People do not simply internalize the meanings that they learn through social interaction, but they are also able to modify them through an interpretive process  People, in contrast with their animals, are unique in their ability to use and rely on symbols  People become human through social interaction, especially in the early years with family members and then in school  People are conscious, capable of reflecting on themselves and what they do, and therefore capable of shaping their actions and interactions  People have purpose when they act in and well as towards any situations  We can see society as consisting of people engaging in social interaction  Looking glass self o The idea that we form our sense of ourselves by using others and their reactions to us, as mirrors to assess who we are and how we are doing.  Primary group o An intimate face to face group that plays a crucial role in linking the individual to the larger society  Sympathetic Introspection o The methodology of putting oneself in the minds of those being studied Dramaturgy  Goffman focused on Dramaturgy, or a view of social life as a series of dramatic performances akin ot those performed in theatre  The self is a sense of who one is that is a dramatic effect emerging from the immediate scene being presented  Because the self is a product of dramatic interaction, it is vulnerable to disruption during ones performance  Much of Goffman’s dramaturgy is concerned with the process by which such disturbances are prevented or dealt with.  Goffman assumed that when individuals interact, they want to present a certain sense of self that will be accepted by others  This is characterized as “impression management” o The techniques an actor uses to maintain certain impressions in the face of problems they are likely to encounter and the methods they use to cope with these problems  Front Stage o Part of the performance that generally functions in rather fixed and general ways to define the situation for those who observe the performance  Setting o The physical scene that ordinarily must be there if the actors are to perform  For example, a surgeon requires an operating room etc  The personal front o Those items of expressive equipment that the audience identifies with the performers and expects them to carry with them into the setting  Example a surgeon should wear a medical gown etc  Appearance o The way that the actor looks to the audience; especially those items that indicate the performers social status o Such as a taxi cabs drivers license  Manner o The way an actor conducts himself; tells the audience what sort of role the actor expects to play in the situation  We expect appearance and manner to be consistent  Role Distance o The degree to which individuals separate themselves from the role they are in Domain of interaction- Must Hide things in their performance 1. Actors may want to conceal secret pleasures engaged in prior to their performance or past life that are incompatible with their performance 2. Actors may want to conceal errors made in the preparation of the performance as well as steps taken to correct those errors 3. Actors may find it necessary to show only end products and to conceal the process involved in producing them 4. It may be necessary for actors to conceal from the audience that dirty work was involved in the making of the end products Dirty work may include doing thing that are immoral, illegal or degrading 5. In giving a certain performance, actors may have to let other standards slide 6. Actors find it necessary to hide any insults, humiliations, or deals made so the performance can go on  Generally, actors have a vested interest in hiding all of the facts discussed from their audience  Actors often try to convey the impression that they are closer to the audience then they actually are. Actors may try to foster the impression that the performance in which they are engaged in at the moment is their only performance or at least their most important one  Actors have to be sure that their audiences are segregated so the falsity of their performance is not discovered  The audiences themselves may try to cope with the falsity to avoid shattering their idealized image of the actor  Another example of impression management is an
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