Topic: Sociology

Last updated: March 12, 2019

On the article by Erving Goffman titled The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, he analyzes the meaning of daily interaction. Through his analysis he provides details of an individual’s identity and social interactions. His perspective gives us understanding of the nature of social interaction and the psychology of a person. Goffman seeks to show the reader how everyone sets out to present themselves to the world around them, always trying to maintain the role they have selected for themselves. Erving Goffman portrays everyday interactions as strategic encounters in which one is attempting to “sell” a particular self-image–and, accordingly, a particular definition of the situation.Goffman investigated social interaction as though it were a theatrical performance.

He maintained that people use statuses and roles to create impressions. They work with the available tools on their cultural palette. People use a process called the presentation of self to create specific impressions in the minds of others.

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Performances occur both front stage – in public- and back stage – in privacy or with primary group members. What gives Goffman’s work a value that will endure far longer than most sociology is its intense individual humanity and its style. In the Presentation of Self in Everyday Life he provides us with an introduction to the nourishment of the self in only normally problematic situations – in the social establishments that are part of everyday life, interaction with people who are reasonably well equipped and well inclined to collaborate in sustaining mutually agreeable definitions of self. Individuals work their performance so as to provide others with the materials by which they infer that a creditable self-confronts them.


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