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Presentation of Self- Paper 3

Presentation of Self- Paper 3 - Try to picture yourself...

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Try to picture yourself playing a role in a movie twenty four hours a day. Imagine how draining it would be. You’re tired, frustrated, the director is yelling at you and you’re simply ready to take down your façade and go home. That sounds miserable, does it not? According to Ervin Goffman, in reality that is what we are all doing all the time. He states that “the self is a dramatic effect arising… from a scene that is presented.” (Lecture Summary) We are all in effect, social actors that are constantly playing roles. “Birth ushers us onto the stage of everyday life, and our socialization consists of learning to perform on that stage.” (Henslin 100) Our actual self is determined not by who we really are, but what stage we are put on and what role we are playing. However, an argument against Goffman’s perspective is that creating an “actual self” is basically impossible because everyone is always acting and putting on a front. There can be no distinction between what is real and what is an act. Essentially, since people are always acting nothing is authentic. Reality is non-existent, but according to this perspective, society is not looking for authenticity anyways. Living in a pseudo world is considered normal. All of Goffman’s theories play a significant role in the micro-sociological perspective because the focus is on the roles of individuals instead of on society as a whole. Micro-sociology “zeroes in on the smaller scale aspects of social life: individual and small group interaction, things like gestures, conversation, performance, etc.” (Lecture Summary) Playing roles is used to create self, put on a desirable front to make good impressions, and mold the surrounding situation. As Goffman states in his article entitled, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life , “the part of the individual reinstates the symmetry of the communication process, and sets the stage for a kind of information game- a potentially infinite cycle of concealment, discovery, false revelation, and rediscovery.” (Goffman 237) “Micro-sociology focuses on the self and its main characteristics that it sees social actors as being: individualistic, rational, and creative.” (Lecture Summary) Interface is very important in the study of micro-sociology. Instead of focusing on big societal issues such as gender, race, religion, sex, or class, micro-sociology focuses on the things that are going on “behind the scenes”. According to micro-sociologists, we determine our own acts, environments, audiences, and situations by how we role play. “Our definitions (or constructions) provide the basis for what we do and how we feel about life.” (Henslin 106) Micro-sociologists also argue that we are constantly in control of how we behave and what is going on around us. We have the final say in
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