Self_wk4 - 16 THE PRESENTATION O F 8 ELl' t he o ther...

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16 THE PRESENTATION OF 8ELl' the other performances as the audience, observers, or co- participants. The pre-established pattern of action which is unfolded during a performance and which may be pre- sented or played through on other occasions may be called a "part" or "routine, "18 These situational tenns can easily be related to conventional structural ones. When an indi- vidual or performer plays the same part to the same audi- ence on different occasions, a socia1 relationship is likely to arise. Defining social role as the enactment of rights and duties attached to a given status, we can say that a social role will involve one or more parts and that each of these different parts may be presented by the performer on a series of occasions to the same kinds of audience or to an audience of the same persons. 18 For comments on the ~ of distfnguishing between a routine of interaction and any particular instance when this routine Is played through. see 101m von Neumann and Oskar Morgenstern, The Theory of Coma and EconomIc BehaoIour (2nd ed.; Princeton: Princeton UDivemty Press, 1947), p. 490 Chapter I PERFORMANCES Belief in the Part One ls Playing When an individual plays a part he implicitly requests his observers to take seriously the impression that is fostered before them. They are asked to believe that the character they see actually possesses the attributes he appears to possess, that the task he performs will have the conse- quences that are implicitly claimed for it, and that, in gen- eral, matters are what they appear to be. In line with this, there is the popular view that the individual offers his per- formance and puts on his show -for the benefit of other people." It will be convenient to begin a consideration of performances by turning the question around and looking at the individual's own belief in the impression of reality that he attempts to engender in those among whom he finds himself. At one extreme, one finds that the performer can be fully taken in by his own act; he can be sincerely convinced that the impression of reality which he stages is the real reality. When his audience is also convinced in this way about the show he puts on-and this seems to be the typical case-then for the moment at least, only the sociologist or the socially disgruntled will have any doubts about the "realness" of what is presented. At the other extreme, we find that the performer may not be taken in at all by his own routine. This possibility is understandable, since no one is in quite as good an obser- vational position to see through the act as the person who puts it on. Coupled with this, the performer may be moved to guide the conviction of his audience only as a means to
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18 19 THE PRESENTATION OF SELF other ends, having no ultimate concern in the conception that they have of him or of the situation. When the Indi- vidual has no belief in his own act and no ultimate concern with the beliefs of his audience, we may call him cynical, reserving the term "sincere" for individuals who believe in the impression fostered by their own performance. It
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This note was uploaded on 03/26/2010 for the course SOCI 101 taught by Professor Na during the Fall '10 term at University of North Carolina Wilmington.

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Self_wk4 - 16 THE PRESENTATION O F 8 ELl' t he o ther...

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