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The Presentation of Self in Contemporary Social Life
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The Presentation of Self in Contemporary Social Life



May 2016 | 312 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
The Presentation of Self in Contemporary Social Life covers the popular theories of Erving Goffman, and shows modern applications of dramaturgical analysis in a wide range of social contexts. David Shulman’s innovative new text demonstrates how Goffman’s ideas, first introduced in 1959, continue to inspire research into how we manage the impressions that others form about us. He synthesizes the work of contemporary scholars who use dramaturgical approaches from several disciplines, who recognize that many values, social norms, and laws have changed since Goffman’s time, and that contemporary society offers significant new forms of impression management that we can engage in and experience. After a general introduction to dramaturgical sociology, readers will see many examples of how Goffman’s ideas can provide powerful insights into familiar aspects of contemporary life, including business and the workplace, popular culture, the entertainment industry, and the digital world.

 
Introduction
 
Author's Note
 
Chapter 1 Self-Presentation and The Dramaturgical Perspective
Introduction: “Being Yourself” Is a Performance Too

 
So Why Study Dramaturgy?

 
Getting Down to Business

 
The Scholarly Provenance of Dramaturgical Ideas

 
Analyzing Dramaturgy

 
Erving Goffman and Dramaturgy

 
Goffman’s Six Principles of Impression Management

 
The Self

 
Symbolic Interactionism

 
 
Chapter 2 Persona Watching: Catching Impression Management in Action
Introduction: Reverse Engineering Dramaturgy

 
Regions, Actors, Performances: Some Service Examples

 
Thinking of Performances as Cumulative: Social Order, Norms and Roles

 
Ratcheting Up Sociological Analysis with Dramaturgy

 
 
Chapter 3 Sociological Influences on People’s Performances
Introduction: Learning How to Act in Everyday Life

 
Social Structural Forces that Impact Dramaturgical Actions

 
Think of Social Forces as Interweaving Clusters

 
Realizing the Analytic Potential of the Dramaturgical Perspective

 
Nine Contributions A Dramaturgical Approach Can Make to Enhance Sociological Thinking

 
 
Chapter 4 Modern Life as Show Business
Introduction: The Thicket of Unreality

 
Examples of Unreal Images: Illusions, Photos and Word

 
Can You Detect Unreality?

 
Causes of Unreality: Extravagant Expectations and Pseudo-Events

 
Image Life as Performance

 
The Economics of Unreal Performances and Consumerism

 
Las Vegas Casinos as “Cathedrals of Consumption”

 
Consuming Experiences, Theming and Enchanted Products

 
Dramaturgy: The New Means of Consumption

 
Marketing and the Dramaturgical Legibility of Themes

 
Dramaturgical Inequalities: Gender, Goffman and Advertising

 
Conclusion

 
 
Chapter 5 Dramaturgical Involvements in Popular Culture
Introduction: Dramaturgical Involvement in Popular Culture

 
LARPS: Live-Action Role Playing

 
Engrossment in Popular Culture Experiences

 
Dramaturgical Residency

 
Face-to-Face Interaction

 
Surpassing Performance Limits in Fantasy or “Killing S**t” in Made-Up Worlds

 
Role Distance and the Actualization Gap

 
Frames: A Social Phoropter

 
Am Extended Case of Frames and Dramaturgy: The World of Professional Wrestling

 
The Horror Genre, Stigma and Frame Traps

 
Conclusion: Conflating Reality and Fantasy

 
 
Chapter 6 The Internet: Society’s Newest Stage
Introduction: The Internet, Disembodiment and Networked Audiences

 
The Collapsing of Front and Back Stage Contexts

 
Exploring Online Deviance

 
User Generated Content: Everyone’s a Star, Everyone’s a Critic and I’m Into Documenting My Life Onstage

 
Internet Ranting and Impression Management

 
Stigma and Cyberbullying

 
New Capacities to Stigmatize

 
Moral Entrepreneurs

 
Stigma Specialists Online: Mocking and Trolls

 
Performance Online Versus Offline

 
Altering Performance Content

 
Deceiving Others Online and Strategic Interaction

 
Deception in Online Dating and Romance

 
Virtual Role Engulfment

 
Filter Bubbles

 
 
Chapter 7 Workplaces as Stages
Introduction: Dramaturgy in Organizations and Workplaces

 
Performance Teams: Dramaturgical Circumspection, Discipline and Loyalty

 
Organizations and Order

 
The Dramaturgy of Meetings

 
Contemporary Takes on Dramaturgy in Organizations

 
The Interaction Order and the Negotiated Order

 
Asylums and Secondary Adjustments

 
The Dramaturgical Infrastructure

 
Total Institutions

 
Emotional Labor

 
 
Conclusion
 
Glossary
 
References
Key features
KEY FEATURES:
  • The book provides an overview of Goffman’s dramaturgical approach and many of its fundamental concepts: frames, stigma, definition of the situation, front and back stages, role distance, communication out of character, interaction rituals, etc.
  • Chapters focus on the application and contemporary relevance of this theoretical perspective to different areas of modern life.
  • One entire chapter (Ch. 7) is devoted to the Internet, society’s “newest stage.”
  • Specific applications of dramaturgy include:
    • How businesses and marketers apply theatrical techniques to appeal to and persuade consumers to buy.
    • How digital technologies have produced new forms of interaction and communication, such as catfishing, texting, online dating, and trolling.
    • Fantasy and role-playing activities in everyday life.
    • Impression management in workplaces.
  • The author’s note identifies the chapters in which specific concepts associated with dramaturgical sociology are covered.
  • To facilitate further engagement with these ideas, the book includes a glossary of impression management terms and techniques.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 4


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