lecturehandouts1 - ERVING GOFFMAN & GENDER...

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Erving Goffman Gender Advertisements 1. A version of display for humans would go something like this: Assume all of an individual's behavior and appearance informs those who witness him, minimally telling them something about his social identity, about his mood, intent, and expectations, and about the state of his relation to them. In every culture a distinctive range of this indicative behavior and appearance becomes specialized so as to more routinely and perhaps more effectively perform this informing function, the informing coming to be the controlling role of the performance, although often avowedly not so. 2. If gender be defined as the culturally established correlates of sex (whether in consequence of biology or learning) then gender display refers to conventionalized portrayals of those correlates. 3. It turns out, then, that in our society whenever a male has dealings with a female or a subordinate male (especially a younger one), some mitigation of potential distance, coercion, and hostility is quite likely to be induced by application of the parent-child complex. Which implies that, ritually speaking, females are equivalent to subordinate males and both are equivalent to children. 4. It is ordinarily bereft of details concerning the lives of those who are witnessed in passing and bereft of their longitudinal point of view regarding what they are seen as being and doing. (We strangers do not see John and Mary comparison shopping for a brooch to replace the one that was lost week at Jean's party, nor do we detect that their apparent dallying is due to their having to kill some time before going on to catch the new Fellini. That is what they see. We see a young
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This note was uploaded on 04/15/2009 for the course COMM 387 taught by Professor Sutjhally during the Spring '06 term at UMass (Amherst).

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lecturehandouts1 - ERVING GOFFMAN & GENDER...

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