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Erving Goffman

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Explain Erving Goffman’s ideas on the presentation of self. What are the elements of “Presentation?” How, for example, does a college professor engage in a scripted presentation of self to a class? What about a professor’s office? What features of the office are used to convey information to an observer? Erving Goffman believed that when an individual comes in contact with other people, that individual will attempt to control or guide the impression that others might make of him. The way they might do that is by changing or fixing his or her setting, appearance and manner. (The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 13 July 2014. Web. 21 July 2014) Ways we do that is cut and color our hair, wear makeup, dress appropriate for where we are, and wear accessories.

The elements of presentation are performance, nonverbal communication, gender and performance, Idealization, embarrassment and tact, and tact. Performance has to do with tone of voice, dress, gestures, and objects. Nonverbal communication is body language, facial expressions and gestures. Gender and performance has to do with men’s and women’s roles and how they see each other. Idealization is how our actions reflect our ideal culture rather than our motives. Embarrassment and tact refers to accidents that can happen and embarrass a person. Tact is when a person helps someone recover from an embarrassing incident. (Macionis, 2013)

Some examples of how a college professor engages in a scripted presentation of self to a class are what there tone is like, there body language, and how they dress. How a professor’s office engages in a scripted presentation is the items in the office might be considered “props” for example table, papers and computer. Some examples of features of the office that are used to convey information to an observer would be how organized they are, if the person has pictures of others it show who they value, and the amount of work on their desk shows if they are hard workers or not.

Little things in life prove the way Erving Goffman sees today’s society. I wouldn’t look the same going to the store as I would a wedding. We all change our appearance based on our surroundings. The way I act, my tone and almost everything else changes depending on the people I’m around, for example, I wouldn’t talk to my mom the same way I would talk to my best friend. The way you are depends on who’s with you at that moment.

Reference page:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Presentation_of_Self_in_Everyday_Life Sociology – 15th edition – John J. Macionis

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