You are here

The Presentation of Self in Contemporary Social Life

The Presentation of Self in Contemporary Social Life

Other Titles in:
Sociology (General)

June 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.
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


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


Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 4

For instructors

Purchasing options

Please select a format:

ISBN: 9781483319438

SAGE Knowledge is the ultimate social sciences digital library for students, researchers, and faculty. Hosting more than 4,400 titles, it includes an expansive range of SAGE eBook and eReference content, including scholarly monographs, reference works, handbooks, series, professional development titles, and more.

The platform allows researchers to cross-search and seamlessly access a wide breadth of must-have SAGE book and reference content from one source.

SAGE Knowledge brings together high-quality content from across our imprints, including CQ Press and Corwin titles.