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Dramaturgy refers to the dramatic representation of the main elements of drama on stage. Goffman’s uses dramaturgy in explaining the human life in a conceptual analysis for better understanding of human life. Just like in the drama where there is front stage and back stage, Goffman views people’s life in the society as alive actors on stage. The audience of these actors on stage is the people perception of others, and the parts are the people’s roles in society. The dialogues are the people’s exchanged talks of everyday life, while the costumes are people’s clothing styles.
Impression management is the way the back stage prepares for the front stage. Their costumes and appearance is vital entity to their audience. For example, although in a place of work which is under pressure, a waiter tries to act in a controlled way towards customers. This also applies in the society where people must act according to the expectations of others; their actions are reactions in life that depend on how people expect them to in a given situation. There are several strategies of impression management. They include; deception/concealment which is when the actor manipulates his/her character in front of the audience. The aspect is managed as at a certain time the audience becomes suspicious and tries to investigate the actors shaded part in the action.
Flattery is an aspect of falsely praising individuals in order to gain from them something in return. The actors may conceal a part of their own behavior in exchange for their courtesy. This can be achieved by the actor remaining silent on vital matters to others but which are not important to him or her. Consistency is when the audience perceives the actor from their previous behaviors. For example, if a person is known for good deeds people will perceive that individual as a good person. Mystification is when actors act in a way to confuse their audience which is unable to understand their actions.
Front stage can also be referred to as the audience. The back stage is the actors and they use it to prepare themselves for the audience. Social stigmatization is the way people believe or perceive a given situation. According to Goffman, society is organized on the principle that because a person has certain characteristics he/she expects to be treated in an appropriate manner. Social stigmatization induces individuals to be modest in their claims and sensible in their projected expectations. Individuals may have it by having unattainable dreams, families make justifications when they get emergencies, journalists may justify a misprint in a paper, and public servants may say that their clients misunderstood instructions. Individuals may have many motives in managing impressions of a situation as they appear to others.
In conclusion, Goffman’s analysis provides a framework from which we can better understand human interaction. The dramaturgy helps people in managing their impressions this is essential as it allows smooth running of the society as people can accommodate others.