Last Updated 13 Jan 2021

Dramaturgical Perspective

Category Perspective
Essay type Research
Words 806 (3 pages)
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Dramaturgical Perspective The dramaturgical perspective was developed primarily by Sociologist, Erving Goffman who recast the theatrical metaphor dramaturgy into a sociological term, meaning that social life is like a drama or stage play where intricacies of social interaction could be observed and analyzed, and people can perform in a manner that communicates how they would like others to perceive of them. Goffman stated that, “All actions are social performances that aim to give off and maintain certain desired impressions of the self to others” (Crossman, 2012).

Central to dramaturgy are the front and back regions. The front region is in essence the stage where the performance occurs. Examples of the front region are the teacher’s classroom, the public speaker’s podium, and the waiter’s restaurant dining room. It’s what the audience sees and the setting for a carefully choreographed and ordered performance. The back region is where all the activity that audience does not see, that is crucial to the front region performance occurs (Monnier, 2010).

Symbolic interactions are more related to how people look at things and how their perception affects their behavior. In America it is considered rude to blatantly stare at another individual, in certain parts of Africa, for example, that is not the case. Curiosity is a norm and it is not considered rude to stare (Henslin, 2011). Americans also have a much larger personal space bubble than many other cultures. An American doesn’t stand close enough to a stranger to accidentally brush up against them if they can at all help it.

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Someone from South America, who is accustomed to standing in close proximity to an individual he/she is conversing with may take offense if the individual they’re speaking to continues to move away. On the other hand, an American will likely feel quite uncomfortable participating in conversation with an individual standing closer than approximately two feet (Henslin). Therefore, symbolic interactions happen without much thought, which is different from dramaturgy, which is a well thought out and prepared way of conducting oneself.

Ethnomethodology is the study of how people use their perceived commonsense to make sense out of life (Henslin, 2011). It’s the background assumptions individuals take for granted about the world that determine our behavior in our social life. They are culture driven, unstated rules that people tend to stand by and violate only with risk of offending or concerning others. For instance, a young man would probably not take a first date to a strip club.

There’s no written rule covering that issue, but commonsense would tell him that would not be an acceptable behavior. Although ethnomethodology does involve some thought, it still differs from dramaturgy as it is largely influenced by societal norms rather than just what image they’re desiring to portray to others. A recent interaction I had that involved dramaturgical concepts was an appointment with administration at my son, Vinnie’s school regarding his classroom placement for next year.

Vinnie tests on the lower end of the reading spectrum and all of his teachers, past and present have commented that he has trouble staying focused and is easily distracted, but never causes any trouble; therefore, he tends to fall through the cracks. Having trouble with his current teacher holding him accountable for work completion has been an issue; therefore, I’m quite concerned about Vinnie’s placement next year. I carefully utilized the back region and prepared a spread sheet of my concerns along with specific examples, and readied myself to express them in a confident, respectful, but determined manner.

I’d thought about questions and/or statements that would potentially be posed to me, and prepared as best I could on how to respond appropriately without wavering from the outcome I desired, which was a specific teacher. Along with myself, the Academic Director, Curriculum Specialist, and the Intervention Specialist were present at the ‘front region‘ meeting. Everyone was prepared with appropriate data. I stated my concerns, which were both acknowledged and validated, everyone was extremely courteous and showed appropriate concern for Vinnie and the issues I disclosed.

Each person in attendance discussed issues pertaining to their own expertise regarding Vinnie and a consensus was reached. Everyone left the meeting feeling something positive had been accomplished, and each individual’s social performance seemed to accomplish exactly what they’d desired. A deeper sociological significance that resulted is that administration now knows that I am a concerned and very involved parent, but not overtly demanding without reason and/or the willingness to discuss and negotiate.

I learned that administration is truly concerned about individual students and will accommodate to the best of their ability in order to ensure the success of each. References Crossman, A. (2012). About. com: Sociology: Dramaturgical perspective. Retrieved from http://sociology. about. com/od/D_Index/g/Dramaturgical-Perspective. htm Henslin, J. M. (2011). Essentials of sociology: A down to earth approach (9th ed. ). Pearson. Monnier, C. (2010). Global Sociology: Social interaction. Retrieved from https:// globalsociology. pbworks. com/w/page/14711252/Social%20Interaction

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Dramaturgical Perspective. (2017, Jan 01). Retrieved from

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