Thursday, July 8, 2021

Erving Goffman's Dramaturgy theory explained

Erving Goffman's Dramaturgy theory is mainly based on the understanding between people and on a common interpretation of symbols and stimuli (see Symbolic Interaction). Thus, for example, members of the same culture interpret slang in a similar way, behave according to accepted norms and have expectations in relation to the people with whom they interact. In every interpersonal meeting there is a negotiation about the definition of the situation between all the social players in the situation, with each player trying to impose the desired definition of the situation on the other players by managing the impression he creates.

Impression management consists of all the person's communicative actions, both the conscious (mainly speech) and the unconscious ( body language , intonation). The person tries to create the best impression for him so that he can force the best definition of the situation for him on the other players and therefore on the whole situation.

Since all players perform impression management, the definition of the situation is in constant negotiation between them, and each of them adopts different and alternating impression management strategies, so that in fact they negotiate the definition of the situation and even the type of interaction between them.

In many cases misunderstandings occur between people and the explanation for this is a different interpretation of the symbols or stimuli created during the interaction. A non-uniform interpretation of symbols or occurrences causes the reaction to be different as well.

Goffman likened society to theater and humans to actors, and according to his image interactions take place on stage. The person is a kind of actor who appears on stage and he can put on a mask and through it he will present himself as he wishes. One of the problems that Goffman presented is the gap between the way the actor presents himself, and the way he is perceived by others (the audience). This gap is the basis for misunderstanding and social conflict. This approach advocates that man shapes culture.