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The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life

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Erving Goffman

The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life Paperback – June 1, 1959

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  • Print length 259 pages
  • Language English
  • Publisher Anchor
  • Publication date June 1, 1959
  • Dimensions 5.14 x 0.58 x 7.96 inches
  • ISBN-10 9780385094023
  • ISBN-13 978-0385094023
  • See all details

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  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ 0385094027
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Anchor (June 1, 1959)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 259 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 9780385094023
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0385094023
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 2.31 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.14 x 0.58 x 7.96 inches
  • #26 in Sociology of Social Theory
  • #104 in Cultural Anthropology (Books)
  • #321 in Interpersonal Relations (Books)

About the author

Erving goffman.

Erving Goffman was Benjamin Franklin Professor of Anthropology and Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania until his death in 1982. He is recognized as one of the world's foremost social theorists and much of his work still remains in print. Among his classic books are The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life; Interaction Ritual; Stigma; Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity; and Frame Analysis. William B. Helmreich is a professor of sociology at the CUNY Graduate Center and City College. He has written Against All Odds, The Enduring Community, Saving Children, and The Things They Say Behind Your Back all available from Transaction.

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Customers find the book very informative, understandable, and relatable to everyday life. They also say the story is good. However, some find the complexity of the book a waste of time.

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Customers find the book very informative, saying it's one of the classics of modern social science. They also say the theory is excellent, and the book is revolutionary. Readers also say it explains a lot about behavior, and is relatable to everyday life. They mention the book accepts the necessary contradictions without overemphasizing them.

"...His own conclusion, in this volume, provides a dense summary of the work and provides hints towards further research." Read more

"...The book is perfect for that use. I feel that it is a valuable contribution to sociology , as well. There are brief reviews on the internet...." Read more

"...Despite these difficult sections, Goffman's style is breezy and interesting enough to make th is book worth reading for a layman...." Read more

"...That makes it a lot of work to read. The theory is excellent but the reading is very dry and slow." Read more

Customers find the book very understandable and relatable to everyday life. They also appreciate the selection of words, the assembly of sentences, and the incessant flow of ideas.

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the presentation of self goffman

The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life

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The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life is a book that was published in the U.S. in 1959, written by sociologist  Erving Goffman . In it, Goffman uses the imagery of theater in order to portray the nuances and significance of face-to-face social interaction. Goffman puts forth a theory of social interaction that he refers to as the dramaturgical model of social life.

According to Goffman, social interaction may be likened to a theater, and people in everyday life to actors on a stage, each playing a variety of roles. The audience consists of other individuals who observe the role-playing and react to the performances. In social interaction, like in theatrical performances, there is a 'front stage' region where the actors are on stage  before an audience, and their consciousness of that audience and the audience's expectations for the role they should play influence the actor's behavior. There is also a back region, or 'backstage,' where individuals can relax, be themselves, and the role or identity that they play when they are in front of others.

Central to the book and Goffman's theory is the idea that people, as they interact together in social settings, are constantly engaged in the process of "impression management," wherein each tries to present themselves and behave in a way that will prevent the embarrassment of themselves or others. This is primarily done by each person that is part of the interaction working to ensure that all parties have the same "definition of the situation," meaning that all understand what is meant to happen in that situation, what to expect from the others involved, and thus how they themselves should behave.

Though written over half a century ago,  The Presentation of Self in Everday Life  remains one of the most famous and widely taught sociology books, which was listed as the 10th most important sociology book of the twentieth century by the International Sociological Association in 1998.


Goffman uses the term ‘performance’ to refer to all the activity of an individual in front of a particular set of observers, or audience. Through this performance, the individual, or actor, gives meaning to themselves, to others, and to their situation. These performances deliver impressions to others, which communicates information that confirms the identity of the actor in that situation. The actor may or may not be aware of their performance or have an objective for their performance, however, the audience is constantly attributing meaning to it and to the actor.

The setting for the performance includes the scenery, props, and location in which the interaction takes place. Different settings will have different audiences and will thus require the actor to alter his performances for each setting.

Appearance functions to portray to the audience the performer’s social statuses. Appearance also tells us of the individual’s temporary social state or role, for example, whether he is engaging in work (by wearing a uniform), informal recreation, or a formal social activity. Here, dress and props serve to communicate things that have socially ascribed meaning, like gender , status, occupation, age, and personal commitments.

Manner refers to how the individual plays the role and functions to warn the audience of how the performer will act or seek to act in a role (for example, dominant, aggressive, receptive, etc.). Inconsistency and contradiction between appearance and manner may occur and will confuse and upset an audience. This can happen, for example, when one does not present himself or behave in accordance with his perceived social status or position.

The actor’s front, as labeled by Goffman, is the part of the individual’s performance which functions to define the situation for the audience. It is the image or impression he or she gives off to the audience. A social front can also be thought of like a script. Certain social scripts tend to become institutionalized in terms of the stereotyped expectations it contains. Certain situations or scenarios have social scripts that suggest how the actor should behave or interact in that situation. If the individual takes on a task or role that is new to him, he or she may find that there are already several well-established fronts among which he must choose. According to Goffman, when a task is given a new front or script, we rarely find that the script itself is completely new. Individuals commonly use pre-established scripts to follow for new situations, even if it is not completely appropriate or desired for that situation.

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The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life (1959)

Erving goffman (1959): the presentation of self in everyday life.

By Jason Taylor


Erving Goffman (1922-1982) was “arguably the most influential American sociologist of the twentieth century” (Fine & Manning, 2003, p. 34). This summary will outline one of his earliest works – The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life , originally published in 1956. The book was published more widely in 1959 with some minor changes and in 1969, won the American Sociological Association’s MacIver Award (Treviño, 2003). It has been listed by the International Sociological Association (1998) as the tenth most important book of the last century.

Goffman (1959, p.12) introduces his “report” as “a sort of handbook” which details “one sociological perspective from which social life can be studied”. In it, he describes “a set of features… which together form a framework that can be applied to any concrete social establishment, be it domestic, industrial, or commercial”.

Goffman (1959) intends on providing a unique sociological perspective from which to view the social world. He names this perspective dramaturgical analysis. Elegantly intuitive, this perspective directs us to view the social world as a stage. Goffman is using the language of the theatre to describe social interaction. Much like on the stage, ‘actors’ take on ‘roles’ – they engage in a performance . There is an audience who views and interprets this performance. There are props and scripts. And there is a ‘front stage’ and a ‘backstage’.

Following the introduction, the book is broken down into six main chapters. These are:

  • Performances
  • Regions and Region Behaviour
  • Discrepant Roles
  • Communication out of Character
  • The Arts of Impression Management

These six chapters outline the six ‘dramaturgical principles’ of Goffman’s theory (Fine & Manning, 2003; Manning, 1992). This section will outline some of the core aspects of each of these ‘dramaturgical principles’. The first principle (performances) will be the most detailed of the six, because it is the fundamental theoretical basis for Goffman’s (1959) overall concept. The additional five principles can be seen as supporting and building upon this underlying idea. Following from this fairly extensive summary of the book, a critical evaluation will discuss some of its main criticisms and consider why it remains an exceptionally influential piece of Sociology. Finally, we will end with some cautionary advice from Goffman on the scope and practicality of his theory.

1. Performances

A “performance” may be defined as all the activity of a given participant on a given occasion that serves to influence in any way any of the other participants. (Goffman, 1959, p.26)
I have been using the term “performance” to refer to all the activity of an individual which occurs during a period marked by his continuous presence before a particular set of observers and which has some influence on the observers . (Goffman, 1959, p. 32)

So, by ‘performance’, Goffman (1959) is referring to any activity by an individual in the presence of others which influences those others.

It is important to recognise that there are various situations, circumstances and settings within which a performance can take place. One of the most obvious, perhaps, is a job interview. In this case, the interviewee is likely presenting a version of themselves that they believe the interviewer values in their employees – well-mannered, confident (but not arrogant), respectful, hard-working, trustworthy, and so on. They may attempt to present these characteristics through the way they dress, their posture, their manner and tone of speaking, their body language, etc. Indeed, the interviewer will also be putting on a performance – perhaps restraining themselves so as not to reveal too much about how the interview is going or presenting an authoritative demeanour, for example. However, performances occur in more subtle settings and situations, too. When a couple go out to dinner, they present themselves in a certain way – both towards each other as well as the person serving them and to other diners. The way we dress, the way we speak, the facial expressions we make, our body language, all amount to a kind of performance.

Goffman (1959) suggests that performances are an essential aspect of how we “define the situation”:

When an individual enters the presence of others, they commonly seek to acquire information about him or to bring into play information about him already possessed. They will be interested in his general socio-economic status, his conception of self, his attitude toward them, his competence, his trustworthiness, etc. Although some of this information seems to be sought almost as an end in itself, there are usually quite practical reasons for acquiring it. Information about the individual helps to define the situation, enabling others to know in advance what he will expect of them and what they may expect of him. Informed in these ways, the others will know how best to act in order to call forth a desired response from him. (Goffman, 1959, p.1)

Essentially, the argument here is that social interaction requires performances from all actors involved in any social interaction in order to define and negotiate the situation we find ourselves in. Through our performances, we make claims about what the situation is, who we are, and what to expect from one another.

A word of caution here. Goffman (1959) is not necessarily implying that individuals are consciously deceiving one another or ‘faking it’… at least, not all of the time:

At one extreme, one finds that the performer can be fully taken in by his own act; he can be sincerely convinced that the impression of reality which he stages is the real reality. When his audience is also convinced in this way about the show he puts on—and this seems to be the typical case—then for the moment at least, only the sociologist or the socially disgruntled will have any doubts about the “realness” of what is presented. At the other extreme, we find that the performer may not be taken in at all by his own routine. This possibility is understandable, since no one is in quite as good an observational position to see through the act as the person who puts it on. Coupled with this, the performer may be moved to guide the conviction of his audience only as a means to other ends, having no ultimate concern in the conception that they have of him or of the situation. When the individual has no belief in his own act and no ultimate concern with the beliefs of his audience, we may call him cynical, reserving the term “sincere” for individuals who believe in the impression fostered by their own performance. (Goffman, 1959, pp.17-18)

Certainly then, an individual may intentionally and consciously put on a performance in order to gain in some way from a given situation. However, performances occur in any and all social interactions. The performer may well be convinced that the performance they are giving is not really a performance at all and instead may view it as an authentic reflection of him- or herself.

Nonetheless, there has been criticism that Goffman presents a cynical view of the ‘self’. Manning (1992), for example, argues that Goffman’s theory is based on what he calls the ‘two selves thesis’. One aspect of the self is considered to be a careful performer, while the other is the “cynical manipulator behind the public performance” (Fine & Manning, 2003, p. 46). We will return to this and other criticism later in the discussion.

An essential aspect of performance, one we have considered in examples already, is what Goffman (1959) calls ‘front’:

It will be convenient to label as “front” that part of the individuals performance which regularly functions in a general and fixed fashion to define the situation for those who observe the performance. Front, then, is the expressive equipment of a standard kind intentionally or unwittingly employed by the individual during his performance. (Goffman, 1959, p. 22)

Front can be broken down into two broad components:

Setting: the manipulation of the environment to support a particular performance…

… involving furniture, décor, physical layout, and other background items which supply the scenery and stage props for the spate of human action played out before, within, or upon it.  (Goffman, 1959, p.22)

Personal Front:

refers to the other items of expressive equipment, the items that we most intimately identify with the performer himself and that we naturally expect will follow the performer wherever he goes. As part of personal front we may include: insignia of office or rank; clothing; sex, age, and racial characteristics; size and looks; posture; speech patterns; facial expressions; bodily gestures; and the like. (Goffman, 1959, p. 24)

Personal Front is broken down into two further categories – ‘Appearance’ and ‘Manner’. Appearance refers to the performers social status – how they are dressed, for example, or any status symbols they may have on show; while manner may be taken as “those stimuli which function at the time to warn us of the interaction role the performer will expect to play in the oncoming situation” (Goffman, 1959, p. 24). For example:

a haughty, aggressive manner may give the impression that the performer expects to be the one who will initiate the verbal interaction and direct its course. A meek, apologetic manner may give the impression that the performer expects to follow the lead of others, or at least that he can be led to do so. (Goffman, 1959, p.24)

Performances are often a collaborative effort. Individuals will often find themselves in situations whereby they must perform as part of a ‘team’. Examples of this include colleagues at work, students in a classroom, and family outings. ‘Teams’ work together to maintain a common impression and cooperate to contribute to defining the situation. They are required to trust one another to play their role convincingly.

Individuals who perform together as a team are therefore mutually dependent on one another. Each may have a specialised role to play, and there may be a ‘director’ who has “the right to direct and control the progress of the dramatic action” (Goffman, 1959, p. 97).  Members of a team are also generally aware that each individual within the team is performing while they are ‘frontstage’.

Members of a team also have access to a ‘backstage’ where they are able to relax and cease performing – to an extent. However, it should be recognised that each individual will still maintain their own personal performance, intended to be observed by other members of the team.

3. Regions and Region Behaviour

Continuing with the metaphor of the stage, Goffman (1959) considers there to be various regions, variably observable to different audiences, where performers will have more or less need to perform. He distinguishes between three different ‘regions’. These are front region , back region and outside region .

Front Region: Also referred to as ‘frontstage’. An audience is present and a performance is given. Essentially, an individual is ‘frontstage’, at least to a degree, any time they are in the presence of others.

Back Region: Also referred to as ‘backstage’. When ‘backstage’, individuals and teams can rehearse, relax and behave ‘out of character’.

[Backstage], the performer can relax; he can drop his front, forgo speaking his lines, and step out of character. (Goffman, 1959, p. 122)

An individual ‘backstage’ no longer has to be concerned with their appearance or manner, or with with manipulating the setting to accommodate or please an audience. Under normal circumstances the audience has little or no access to the backstage region.

Outside Region: A region occupied by ‘outsiders’ who are not intended to be present by a performer. These outsiders are neither performers or actors and are often considered to be ‘intruders’. Performances vary based on who is in the audience. Outsiders may cause confusion or embarrassment because they may not be the ‘intended audience’ for a specific performance. Goffman (1959) gives an example of a couple who regularly bicker unexpectedly receiving a guest who they do not wish to be aware of their marital troubles. Essentially, the current performance must be adapted to accommodate the outsider, although “rarely can this be done smoothly enough to preserve the newcomer’s illusion that the show suddenly put on is the performer’s natural show” (Goffman, 1959, p. 139), In other words, the ‘adapted’ performance may not be a convincing one.

4. Discrepant Roles

For far, we have considered most individuals to be categorised in one of three ways – a performer, an audience member, or an outsider. But Goffman (1959) notes that ‘discrepant roles’ also exist, where an individual may not appear what they seem or may not completely fit into any of these three predefined categories. Some examples of discrepant roles include:

The Informer:

… someone who pretends to the performers to be a member of their team, is allowed to come backstage and to acquire destructive information, and then openly or secretly sells out the show to the audience. The political, military, industrial, and criminal variants of this role are famous. If it appears that the individual first joined the team in a sincere way and not with the premeditated plan of disclosing its secrets, we sometimes call him a traitor, turncoat, or quitter, especially if he is the sort of person who ought to have made a decent teammate. The individual who all along has meant to inform on the team, and originally joins only for this purpose, is sometimes called a spy. It has frequently been noted, of course, that informers, whether traitors or spies, are often in an excellent position to play a double game, selling out the secrets of those who buy secrets from them. Informers can, of course, be classified in other ways: as Hans Speier suggests, some are professionally trained for their work, others are amateurs; some are of high estate and some of low; some work for money and others work from conviction. (Goffman, 1959, pp. 145-146)
A shill is someone who acts as though he were an ordinary member of the audience but is in fact in league with the performers. Typically, the shill either provides a visible model for the audience of the kind of response the performers are seeking or provides the kind of audience response that is necessary at the moment for the development of the performance.  (Goffman, 1959, p. 146)
We must not take the view that shills are found only in non-respectable performances… For example, at informal conversational gatherings, it is common for a wife to look interested when her husband tells an anecdote and to feed him appropriate leads and cues, although in fact she has heard the anecdote many times and knows that the show her husband is making of telling something for the first time is only a show. A shill, then, is someone who appears to be just another unsophisticated member of the audience and who uses his unapparent sophistication in the interests of the performing team. (Goffman, 1957, pp. 146-147)


… are present during the interaction but in some respects do not take the role either of performer or of audience, nor do they (as do informers, shills, and spotters) pretend to be what they are not. (Goffman, 1959, p. 151)

Goffman suggests examples of ‘non-persons’ such as servants, children, the elderly and the sick. The term ‘non-person’ may come across as insensitive or prejudiced, but to be clear, Goffman is trying to outline how people are seen, thought about and treated within this framework. Such examples highlight members of society who are seen as neither performer, audience or outsider and do not make substantial impact on the way people behave in their presence. ‘Non-persons’ can often move between frontstage and backstage without causing the same sort of disruption that an ‘outsider’ might. Goffman’s (1963) work on Stigma adds a great deal of theory building on comparable concepts.

The Spotter: Undercover government or company ‘agents’ who act as a member or the public or team in order to check up on the conduct of employees or officials.

The Shopper:

… is the one who takes an unremarked, modest place in the audience… but when he leaves he goes to his employer, a competitor of the team whose performance he has witnessed, to report what he has seen. He is the professional shopper—the Gimbel’s man in Macy’s and the Macy’s man in Gimbel’s; he is the fashion spy and the foreigner at National Air Meets. [He] has a technical right to see the show but ought to have the decency, it is sometimes felt, to stay in his own back region, for his interest in the show is from the wrong perspective… (Goffman, 1959, pp. 148-149)

The Mediator: An individual who has access to both sides of a dispute but gives each side the impression that they are more loyal to them than to the other. Examples Goffman (1959) suggests are arbiters of labour disputes (negotiating between each side of the dispute), factory foremen (advancing the directives of upper management whilst maintaining the respect and willingness of workers) and chairmen or formal meetings (who are to moderate the meeting and ensure everyone is treated fairly). Goffman is amusingly cynical of ‘mediators’, concluding that they are essentially a ‘double-shill’:

When a go-between operates in the actual presence of the two teams of which he is a member, we obtain a wonderful display, not unlike a man desperately trying to play tennis with himself. Again we are forced to see that the individual is not the natural unit for our consideration but rather the team and its members. As an individual, the go-between’s activity is bizarre, untenable, and undignified, vacillating as it does from one set of appearances and loyalties to another. As a constituent part of two teams, the go-between’s vacillation is quite understandable. The go-between can be thought of simply as a double-shill. (Goffman, 1959, p. 149)

5. Communication out of Character

The discussion so far has outlined many of the ways in which a performer maintains their performance. There are, however, times when an actor may step ‘out of character’, revealing aspects of themselves that are not part of, and may be incompatible with, a given performance. For example, an actor who is unexpectedly startled or frightened while giving a performance may shout out “Good Lord” or “My God!” (Goffman, 1959, p. 169). Goffman outlines four forms this communication out of character may take:

  • Treatment of the Absent: While backstage, performers may derogate and talk negatively about the audience, toward whom they speak about favourably whilst frontstage. Goffman gives an example of salespeople:
… customers who are treated respectfully during the performance are often ridiculed, gossiped about, caricatured, cursed, and criticized when the performers are backstage; here, too, plans may be worked out for “selling” them, or employing “angles” against them, or pacifying them. (Goffman, 1959, p. 170)

While it is asserted that derogative speech is most the common treatment of the absent, backstage performers may also talk positively about their audience in ways they would not whilst frontstage.

  • Staging Talk: Backstage discussion between teams about various aspects of the performance, possible adjustments are considered, potential disruptions are explored, “wounds are licked, and morale is strengthened for the next performance” (Goffman, 1959, p. 176).
  • Team Collusion: Communication between fellow performers and those backstage who are involved in maintaining the performance. One example of team collusion is instructions given through the in-ear piece of a television news anchor. However, team collusion can also be more subtle, such as through “unconsciously learned vocabulary of gestures and looks by which collusive staging cues can be conveyed” (Goffman, 1959, p. 181).
  • Realigning Actions: Unofficial communication directed at the audience, often in an attempt to redefine the situation. Realigning actions may include “innuendo, mimicked accents, well-placed jokes, significant pauses, veiled hints, purposeful kidding, expressive overtones, and many other sign practices” (Goffman, 1959, p. 190). In the event that a performer is accused of unacceptable or improper communication out of character, through realigning actions they may attempt to claim that they did not ‘mean anything’ by their out of character communication and the audience is given a chance to disregard the outburst or mistake.

6. The Arts of Impression Management

It is a reality that performances have the potential to be disrupted. Audience members or outsiders may find their way backstage, for example, or communication out of character may result in a particular performance becoming irreconcilably contradictory with what the audience has witnessed.  ‘Impression management’ is a term used to describe the ways in which performers may plan and prepare ‘corrective practices’ for such disruptions (Goffman, 1959). These ‘dramaturgical disciplines’ may include techniques for covering up for teammates, suppressing emotions and spontaneous feelings, and maintaining self-control during performances.

Performers often rely on the “tactful tendency of the audience and outsiders to act in a protective way in order to help the performers save their own show (Goffman, 1959, p. 229). However, the tactfulness of the audience may not be enough to recover the situation, which may result in embarrassing and socially awkward consequences. As Goffman explains in his wonderfully Goffman way:

Whenever the audience exercises tact, the possibility will arise that the performers will learn that they are being tactfully protected. When this occurs, the further possibility arises that the audience will learn that the performers know they are being tactfully protected. And then, in turn, it becomes possible for the performers to learn that the audience knows that the performers know they are being protected. Now when such states of information exist, a moment in the performance may come when the separateness of the teams will break down and be momentarily replaced by a communion of glances through which each team openly admits to the other its state of information. At such moments, the whole dramaturgical structure of social interaction is suddenly and poignantly laid bare, and the line separating the teams momentarily disappears. Whether this close view of things brings shame or laughter, the teams are likely to draw rapidly back into their appointed character. (Goffman, 1959, 233)

Summary Conclusion

Here we will conclude this summary of Presentation of Self . It is a fairly extensive summary in comparison to many currently available and is focused principally on helping students to engage in the core ideas found throughout the book. As has become usual on this website, I have used extensive quotations with the aim of encouraging readers to explore this key text more directly. While I consider this summary to be fairly extensive, it does not nearly cover everything. My hope is that there is enough here to provide a relatively clear outline of what Goffman (1959) is trying to say. That said, it should be noted that Goffman’s theories are notoriously considered to be tricky to understand structurally. His work can be difficult to neatly condense and summarise. At the same time, something about his work changes the way we view the world. As Lemert (1997) puts it:

The experience Goffman effects is that of colonizing a new social place into which the reader enters, from which to exit never quite the same. To have once, even if only once, seen the social world from within such a place is never after to see it otherwise, ever after to read the world anew. In thus seeing differently, we are other than we were. (Lemert, 1997 – cited in Scheff, 2003, p.52)

Scheff (2003) adds:

Our vision of the world, and even of ourselves, is transformed by reading Goffman. (Scheff, 2003, p.52)

We will now move on to some critical analysis of the book.

Critical Analysis

Goffman provides us with an interesting and useful framework within which to think about social interaction through the framework of dramaturgical analysis. As we shall see, this is not a theory which claims to explain all of society or all aspects of social interaction. What it does provide is a framework that we can apply in studying social groups and their interaction between and among one another. It is a method of analysis.

The various principles he outlines offer a range of complexities that may apply in any particular social situation. One very obvious type of social space with which the dramaturgical perspective may be useful is in the workplace – (probably) any workplace. Some questions we might want to consider in studying social interaction within such an environment include:

  • What are individual performers hoping to achieve through their performances?
  • How do team dynamics apply in various situations?
  • Where do front and back regions exist and how clear are the lines between each?
  • How do performers respond to informers, or feel about spotters and how well do they work with mediators? Are there any strategies in place to guard against such discrepant intruders?
  • What contexts or situations may inspire communication out of character?
  • What methods of impression management are utilised in the event a performance is disrupted or exposed?

This is just one, very brief example, but hopefully it makes the point. Other settings I personally would be interested to explore through dramaturgical analysis include homeless hostels, educational establishments, prisons (which has been done, to an extent – start with Goffman’s (1961) Asylums if you find this interesting) and hospitals.

Goffman (1959) gives us a language to explore social interaction through dramaturgical analysis. The book, like much of Goffman’s work, is filled with specific examples from autobiographies and first-hand accounts of individuals experiences. Goffman is considered by many as a “brilliant maverick” (Manning, 1992, p. 1). However, he does not follow any of the clearly defined, systematic approaches used by other notable social theorists, and this has left many Sociologists in a position where they do not know how to replicate his approach:

Part of these limits of Goffman’s impact can be attributed to the daunting perception of his idiosyncratic brilliance. Few wish to place themselves in comparison with this master sociologist, particularly since his approach lacks an easily acquired method. How can one learn to do what Goffman did? Methodological guidelines do not exist. This has the effect of leaving the work both sui generis and incapable of imitation. The belief (and perhaps the reality) is that Goffman created a personalistic sociology that was virtually mimic-proof. (Fine & Manning, 2003, p. 56)

On the other hand, while few (if any) have been able to replicate Goffman’s work, some of the most influential and successful Sociologists are indebted to his writing (Fine & Manning, 2003). Goffman’s mark on Sociology is enormous. This is both the case for his theories, as well as his writing style – as Fine & Manning (2003, p. 57) put it,“Goffman’s sardonic, satiric, jokey style has served to indicate that other genres and tropes can be legitimate forms of academic writing”. Goffman’s style is interesting, humorous and natural. Presentation of Self in Everyday Life is, at the very least, an incredibly readable and engaging book.

Giddens (2009) summary of his rereading of Presentation of Self outlines and reflects on some of the main criticisms of the book. One of these is that Goffman (1959) ignores power structures throughout his discussion. Giddens (2009) correctly recognises that Goffman does explore how we ‘do’ power, but notes that he neglects any sort of systematic discussion around how power is institutionally structured. His discussion of ‘non-persons’, for example, would have benefited greatly from a focus on institutional differentials of power. Furthermore, Goffman avoids providing any historical context to his ideas. While many of the examples and citations Goffman presents are historically diverse, his analysis is intrinsically grounded in the here and now. Social interaction is very much a product of historical development, and Goffman makes no attempt to investigate this. Treviño (2003) agrees,  arguing that grounding his ideas in a more ‘recognisable theoretical tradition’ would have resulted in ‘greater coherence’ in Goffman’s work.

These criticisms are valid. However, this should not be understood to undermine the value of Goffman’s ideas. While Giddens (2009) views it as ultimately inadequate, he offers Goffman a defence – Goffman’s work is concerend with analysis of interpersonal interaction within social situations rather than macro-structural theory. He takes a micro-sociological approach and this comes with limitations. While issues of power differentiation and historical context certainly would add extra value to Goffman’s work here, it is just that – added value. Indeed, Giddens (2009) makes reference to work such as Elias (1969) and Scheff (1999), who have incorporated and connected some of Goffman’s ideas with issues of power and sociohistorical development. Whilst recognising that there will always be areas that can be (and maybe should have been) explored further, be wary of allowing such criticism to detract from the usefulness of any valuable body of work. After all, there is no reason these issues cannot be explored later and/or by other scholars.

Furthermore, according to Scheff (2006, p. viii), Goffman’s work is ‘fully original’. He deliberately evades traditional social scientific methodology and practice, seeking to get…

… outside the box, beyond the conventions of our society and of social science… Goffman’s main focus was what might be called the microworld of emotions and relationships (ERW). We all live in it every day of our lives, yet we have been trained not to notice. Since Goffman noticed it, he was the discoverer of a hidden world. His work, if properly construed, provides a window into that otherwise invisible place… it is important in its own right, since it constitutes the moment-by-moment texture of our lives. Second, it is intimately connected to the larger world; it both causes and is caused by that world. If we are to have more than a passing understanding of ourselves and our society, we need to become better acquainted with the emotional/relational world… Conventional social science mostly ignores emotions and relationships in favour of behaviour and cognition. Goffman’s recognition of the existence of an ERW is the foundation of his whole approach. He realized, at some level, that conventional social and behavioural science was blind to the ERW, and might as well be blind in many other arenas as well… Following Goffman’s lead, if we are going to advance in our understanding of the human condition, we need to build a new approach. This approach would not only include the ERW, but other hitherto unrecognized structures and processes as well, such as the filigree of emotions and relationships that underlies large-scale behaviour, as in the case of collective cooperation and conflict. (Scheff, 2006, p. vii – ix)

Following Scheff (2006) then, we can turn the criticism that Goffman ignores other aspects of traditional Sociology on its head. Indeed, we can argue that Goffman is exploring aspects of social life that have remained largely hidden to the rest of the field. To quote Treviño (2003, p. 36), Presentation of Self was “the first sociological effort to truly treat face-to face interaction as a subject of study, as an order, in its own right, at its own level”. Those issues of macro social structure, those of institutional power differentials and of sociohistorical development were not revealed and communicated even nearly in full by any one body of work or by one sole theorist. As ‘discoverer’ of this aspect of the social world, it would be unreasonable to expect Goffman to combine his ideas with all available aspects of social science into one unifying theory of all social life and social structure. All science is collaborative, and Goffman provides us with one more addition to a dizzying array of diverse social science. Nonetheless, it is worth taking these criticisms seriously, if only as a recognition that Goffman, like any other social theorist, provides us with just one perspective with which to view the world. His theories should be used alongside, rather than in isolation from, other perspectives in Sociology.

Another reasonable criticism briefly mentioned earlier in this discussion is that Goffman’s view of the ‘self’ is grounded in what Manning (1992) calls the ‘two selves thesis’. It is argued here that Goffman takes a cynical view of the ‘self’, which he inherently suggests has two sides – one, the careful performer, the other the ‘cynical manipulator’ guiding the performance. It is fair to claim that human beings and their interactions are far more complex, far more multifaceted, than Goffman seems to suggest. Manning (1992) points out that Goffman recognised and attempted to distance himself from this thesis with small additions to the second 1959 edition of the book as well as in subsequent work. It seems that Goffman does not want us to view the dramaturgical analogy as a complete and full description of the self or as a tool to accurately understand all aspects of social interaction. Indeed, he uses the final few paragraphs of Presentation of Self in Everyday Life to reinforce this. We shall therefore conclude this summary as Goffman (1959) choses to end his book :

And now a final comment. In developing the conceptual framework employed in this report, some language of the stage was used. I spoke of performers and audiences; of routines and parts; of performances coming off or falling flat; of cues, stage settings and backstage; of dramaturgical needs, dramaturgical skills, and dramaturgical strategies. Now it should be admitted that this attempt to press a mere analogy so far was in part a rhetoric and a maneuver. The claim that all the world’s a stage is sufficiently commonplace for readers to be familiar with its limitations and tolerant of its presentation, knowing that at any time they will easily be able to demonstrate to themselves that it is not to be taken too seriously . An action staged in a theater is a relatively contrived illusion and an admitted one; unlike ordinary life, nothing real or actual can happen to the performed characters—although at another level of course something real and actual can happen to the reputation of performers qua professionals whose everyday job is to put on theatrical performances. And so here the language and mask of the stage will be dropped . Scaffolds, after all, are to build other things with, and should be erected with an eye to taking them down . This report is not concerned with aspects of theater that creep into everyday life. It is concerned with the structure of social encounters—the structure of those entities in social life that come into being whenever persons enter one another’s immediate physical presence. The key factor in this structure is the maintenance of a single definition of the situation , this definition having to be expressed, and this expression sustained in the face of a multitude of potential disruptions. A character staged in a theatre is not in some ways real, nor does it have the same kind of real consequences as does the thoroughly contrived character performed by a confidence man; but the successful staging of either of these types of false figures involves use of real techniques—the same techniques by which everyday persons sustain their real social situations. Those who conduct face to face interaction on a theatre’s stage must meet the key requirement of real situations; they must expressively sustain a definition of the situation: but this they do in circumstances that have facilitated their developing an apt terminology for the interactional tasks that all of us share. (Goffman, 1959, pp. 254-255, emphasis added )

Goffman (1959) intends his dramaturgical methaphor to be used as a scaffold. It is not all-emcompassing and is not adequate as an approach used in isolation. Rather, it is a means to an end. It is a method of highlighting and teasing out aspects of social interaction which, once identified, must be analysed further through the use of other Sociological methologies and perspectives. Nonetheless, the analogy of the theatre to describe everyday life is fascinating and has had substantial impact on the field.

Elias, N., 1969. The Civilizing Process: Sociogenetic and Psychogenetic Investigations. Oxford: Blackwell.

Fine, G. A. & Manning, P., 2003. Erving Goffman. In: The Blackwell Companion to Major Contemporary Social Theorists. Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 34-62.

Giddens, A., 2009. On Rereading The Presentation of Self: Some Reflections. Social Psychology Quarterly, 72(4), pp. 290-295.

Goffman, E., 1959. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. New York: Anchor.

Goffman, E., 1961. Asylums: Essays on the Social Situation of Mental Patients and other Inmates. New York: Anchor.

Goffman, E., 1963. Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity. London: Penguin.

International Sociological Association, 1998. Books of the Century. [Online] Available at:

Manning, P., 1992. Erving Goffman and Modern Sociology. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Scheff, T. J., 1999. Being Mentally Ill: A Sociological Theory. New York: Aldine De Gruyter.

Scheff, T. J., 2003. The Goffman Legacy: Deconstructing/Reconstructimg Social Science. In: Goffman’s Legacy. Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., pp. 50-70.

Scheff, T. J., 2006. Goffman Unbound! A New Paradigm for Social Science. Routledge: Oxon.

Treviño, A. J., 2003. Introduction: Erving Goffman and the Interaction Order. In: Goffman’s Legacy. Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., pp. 1-49.

Impression Management: Erving Goffman Theory

Charlotte Nickerson

Research Assistant at Harvard University

Undergraduate at Harvard University

Charlotte Nickerson is a student at Harvard University obsessed with the intersection of mental health, productivity, and design.

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Saul Mcleod, PhD

Editor-in-Chief for Simply Psychology

BSc (Hons) Psychology, MRes, PhD, University of Manchester

Saul Mcleod, PhD., is a qualified psychology teacher with over 18 years of experience in further and higher education. He has been published in peer-reviewed journals, including the Journal of Clinical Psychology.

Olivia Guy-Evans, MSc

Associate Editor for Simply Psychology

BSc (Hons) Psychology, MSc Psychology of Education

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On This Page:

  • Impression management refers to the goal-directed conscious or unconscious attempt to influence the perceptions of other people about a person, object, or event by regulating and controlling information in social interaction.
  • Generally, people undertake impression management to achieve goals that require they have a desired public image. This activity is called self-presentation.
  • In sociology and social psychology, self-presentation is the conscious or unconscious process through which people try to control the impressions other people form of them.
  • The goal is for one to present themselves the way in which they would like to be thought of by the individual or group they are interacting with. This form of management generally applies to the first impression.
  • Erving Goffman popularized the concept of perception management in his book, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life , where he argues that impression management not only influences how one is treated by other people but is an essential part of social interaction.

Impression Management

Impression Management in Sociology

Impression management, also known as self-presentation, refers to the ways that people attempt to control how they are perceived by others (Goffman, 1959).

By conveying particular impressions about their abilities, attitudes, motives, status, emotional reactions, and other characteristics, people can influence others to respond to them in desirable ways.

Impression management is a common way for people to influence one another in order to obtain various goals.

While earlier theorists (e.g., Burke, 1950; Hart & Burk, 1972) offered perspectives on the person as a performer, Goffman (1959) was the first to develop a specific theory concerning self-presentation.

In his well-known work, Goffman created the foundation and the defining principles of what is commonly referred to as impression management.

In explicitly laying out a purpose for his work, Goffman (1959) proposes to “consider the ways in which the individual in ordinary work situations presents himself and his activity to others, the ways in which he guides and controls the impression they form of him, and the kind of things he may or may not do while sustaining his performance before them.” (p. xi)

Social Interaction

Goffman viewed impression management not only as a means of influencing how one is treated by other people but also as an essential part of social interaction.

He communicates this view through the conceit of theatre. Actors give different performances in front of different audiences, and the actors and the audience cooperate in negotiating and maintaining the definition of a situation.

To Goffman, the self was not a fixed thing that resides within individuals but a social process. For social interactions to go smoothly, every interactant needs to project a public identity that guides others’ behaviors (Goffman, 1959, 1963; Leary, 2001; Tseelon, 1992).

Goffman defines that when people enter the presence of others, they communicate information by verbal intentional methods and by non-verbal unintentional methods.

According to Goffman, individuals participate in social interactions through performing a “line” or “a pattern of verbal and nonverbal acts by which he expresses his view of the situation and through this his evaluation of the participants, especially himself” (1967, p. 5).

Such lines are created and maintained by both the performer and the audience. By enacting a line effectively, a person gains positive social value or “face.”

The verbal intentional methods allow us to establish who we are and what we wish to communicate directly. We must use these methods for the majority of the actual communication of data.

Goffman is mostly interested in the non-verbal clues given off which are less easily manipulated. When these clues are manipulated the receiver generally still has the upper hand in determining how realistic the clues that are given off are.

People use these clues to determine how to treat a person and if the intentional verbal responses given off are actually honest. It is also known that most people give off clues that help to represent them in a positive light, which tends to be compensated for by the receiver.

Impression Management Techniques

  • Suppressing emotions : Maintaining self-control (which we will identify with such practices as speaking briefly and modestly).
  • Conforming to Situational Norms : The performer follows agreed-upon rules for behavior in the organization.
  • Flattering Others : The performer compliments the perceiver. This tactic works best when flattery is not extreme and when it involves a dimension important to the perceiver.
  • Being Consistent : The performer’s beliefs and behaviors are consistent. There is agreement between the performer’s verbal and nonverbal behaviors.

Self-Presentation Examples

Self-presentation can affect the emotional experience . For example, people can become socially anxious when they are motivated to make a desired impression on others but doubt that they can do so successfully (Leary, 2001).

In one paper on self-presentation and emotional experience, Schlenker and Leary (1982) argue that, in contrast to the drive models of anxiety, the cognitive state of the individual mediates both arousal and behavior.

The researchers examine the traditional inverted-U anxiety-performance curve (popularly known as the Yerkes-Dodson law) in this light.

The researchers propose that people are interpersonally secure when they do not have the goal of creating a particular impression on others.

They are not immediately concerned about others’ evaluative reactions in a social setting where they are attempting to create a particular impression and believe that they will be successful in doing so.

Meanwhile, people are anxious when they are uncertain about how to go about creating a certain impression (such as when they do not know what sort of attributes the other person is likely to be impressed with), think that they will not be able to project the types of images that will produce preferred reactions from others.

Such people think that they will not be able to project the desired image strongly enough or believe that some event will happen that will repudiate their self-presentations, causing reputational damage (Schlenker and Leary, 1982).

Psychologists have also studied impression management in the context of mental and physical health .

In one such study, Braginsky et al. (1969) showed that those hospitalized with schizophrenia modify the severity of their “disordered” behavior depending on whether making a more or less “disordered” impression would be most beneficial to them (Leary, 2001).

Additional research on university students shows that people may exaggerate or even fabricate reports of psychological distress when doing so for their social goals.

Hypochondria appears to have self-presentational features where people convey impressions of illness and injury, when doing so helps to drive desired outcomes such as eliciting support or avoiding responsibilities (Leary, 2001).

People can also engage in dangerous behaviors for self-presentation reasons such as suntanning, unsafe sex, and fast driving. People may also refuse needed medical treatment if seeking this medical treatment compromises public image (Leary et al., 1994).

Key Components

There are several determinants of impression management, and people have many reasons to monitor and regulate how others perceive them.

For example, social relationships such as friendship, group membership, romantic relationships, desirable jobs, status, and influence rely partly on other people perceiving the individual as being a particular kind of person or having certain traits.

Because people’s goals depend on them making desired impressions over undesired impressions, people are concerned with the impressions other people form of them.

Although people appear to monitor how they come across ongoingly, the degree to which they are motivated to impression manage and the types of impressions they try to foster varies by situation and individuals (Leary, 2001).

Leary and Kowalski (1990) say that there are two processes that constitute impression management, each of which operate according to different principles and are affected by different situations and dispositional aspects. The first of these processes is impression motivation, and the second is impression construction.
Impression Motivation Impression Construction
Goal-relevance of impressions Self-concept
Value of desired goals Desired and undesired identity images
Discrepancy between the desired and current image Role constraints

Impression Motivation

There are three main factors that affect how much people are motivated to impression-manage in a situation (Leary and Kowalski, 1990):

(1) How much people believe their public images are relevant to them attaining their desired goals.

When people believe that their public image is relevant to them achieving their goals, they are generally more motivated to control how others perceive them (Leary, 2001).

Conversely, when the impressions of other people have few implications on one’s outcomes, that person’s motivation to impression-manage will be lower.

This is why people are more likely to impression manage in their interactions with powerful, high-status people than those who are less powerful and have lower status (Leary, 2001).

(2) How valuable the goals are: people are also more likely to impress and manage the more valuable the goals for which their public impressions are relevant (Leary, 2001).

(3) how much of a discrepancy there is between how they want to be perceived and how they believe others perceive them..

People are more highly motivated to impression-manage when there is a difference between how they want to be perceived and how they believe others perceive them.

For example, public scandals and embarrassing events that convey undesirable impressions can cause people to make self-presentational efforts to repair what they see as their damaged reputations (Leary, 2001).

Impression Construction

Features of the social situations that people find themselves in, as well as their own personalities, determine the nature of the impressions that they try to convey.

In particular, Leary and Kowalski (1990) name five sets of factors that are especially important in impression construction (Leary, 2001).

Two of these factors include how people’s relationships with themselves (self-concept and desired identity), and three involve how people relate to others (role constraints, target value, and current or potential social image) (Leary and Kowalski, 1990).


The impressions that people try to create are influenced not only by social context but also by one’s own self-concept .

People usually want others to see them as “how they really are” (Leary, 2001), but this is in tension with the fact that people must deliberately manage their impressions in order to be viewed accurately by others (Goffman, 1959).

People’s self-concepts can also constrain the images they try to convey.

People often believe that it is unethical to present impressions of themselves different from how they really are and generally doubt that they would successfully be able to sustain a public image inconsistent with their actual characteristics (Leary, 2001).

This risk of failure in portraying a deceptive image and the accompanying social sanctions deter people from presenting impressions discrepant from how they see themselves (Gergen, 1968; Jones and Pittman, 1982; Schlenker, 1980).

People can differ in how congruent their self-presentations are with their self-perceptions.

People who are high in public self-consciousness have less congruency between their private and public selves than those lower in public self-consciousness (Tunnell, 1984; Leary and Kowalski, 1990).

Desired identity

People’s desired and undesired selves – how they wish to be and not be on an internal level – also influence the images that they try to project.

Schlenker (1985) defines a desirable identity image as what a person “would like to be and thinks he or she really can be, at least at his or her best.”

People have a tendency to manage their impressions so that their images coincide with their desired selves and stay away from images that coincide with their undesired selves (Ogilivie, 1987; Schlenker, 1985; Leary, 2001).

This happens when people publicly claim attributes consistent with their desired identity and openly reject identities that they do not want to be associated with.

For example, someone who abhors bigots may take every step possible to not appear bigoted, and Gergen and Taylor (1969) showed that high-status navel cadets did not conform to low-status navel cadets because they did not want to see themselves as conformists (Leary and Kowalski, 1990).

Target value

people tailor their self-presentations to the values of the individuals whose perceptions they are concerned with.

This may lead to people sometimes fabricating identities that they think others will value.

However, more commonly, people selectively present truthful aspects of themselves that they believe coincide with the values of the person they are targeting the impression to and withhold information that they think others will value negatively (Leary, 2001).

Role constraints

the content of people’s self-presentations is affected by the roles that they take on and the norms of their social context.

In general, people want to convey impressions consistent with their roles and norms .

Many roles even carry self-presentational requirements around the kinds of impressions that the people who hold the roles should and should not convey (Leary, 2001).

Current or potential social image

People’s public image choices are also influenced by how they think they are perceived by others. As in impression motivation, self-presentational behaviors can often be aimed at dispelling undesired impressions that others hold about an individual.

When people believe that others have or are likely to develop an undesirable impression of them, they will typically try to refute that negative impression by showing that they are different from how others believe them to be.

When they are not able to refute this negative impression, they may project desirable impressions in other aspects of their identity (Leary, 2001).


In the presence of others, few of the behaviors that people make are unaffected by their desire to maintain certain impressions. Even when not explicitly trying to create a particular impression of themselves, people are constrained by concerns about their public image.

Generally, this manifests with people trying not to create undesired impressions in virtually all areas of social life (Leary, 2001).

Tedeschi et al. (1971) argued that phenomena that psychologists previously attributed to peoples’ need to have cognitive consistency actually reflected efforts to maintain an impression of consistency in others’ eyes.

Studies have supported Tedeschi and their colleagues’ suggestion that phenomena previously attributed to cognitive dissonance were actually affected by self-presentational processes (Schlenker, 1980).

Psychologists have applied self-presentation to their study of phenomena as far-ranging as conformity, aggression, prosocial behavior, leadership, negotiation, social influence, gender, stigmatization, and close relationships (Baumeister, 1982; Leary, 1995; Schlenker, 1980; Tedeschi, 1981).

Each of these studies shows that people’s efforts to make impressions on others affect these phenomena, and, ultimately, that concerns self-presentation in private social life.

For example, research shows that people are more likely to be pro-socially helpful when their helpfulness is publicized and behave more prosocially when they desire to repair a damaged social image by being helpful (Leary, 2001).

In a similar vein, many instances of aggressive behavior can be explained as self-presentational efforts to show that someone is willing to hurt others in order to get their way.

This can go as far as gender roles, for which evidence shows that men and women behave differently due to the kind of impressions that are socially expected of men and women.

Baumeister, R. F. (1982). A self-presentational view of social phenomena. Psychological Bulletin, 91, 3-26.

Braginsky, B. M., Braginsky, D. D., & Ring, K. (1969). Methods of madness: The mental hospital as a last resort. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.

Buss, A. H., & Briggs, S. (1984). Drama and the self in social interaction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 47, 1310-1324. Gergen, K. J. (1968). Personal consistency and the presentation of self. In C. Gordon & K. J. Gergen (Eds.), The self in social interaction (Vol. 1, pp. 299-308). New York: Wiley.

Gergen, K. J., & Taylor, M. G. (1969). Social expectancy and self-presentation in a status hierarchy. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 5, 79-92.

Goffman, E. (1959). The moral career of the mental patient. Psychiatry, 22(2), 123-142.

  • Goffman, E. (1963). Embarrassment and social organization.

Goffman, E. (1978). The presentation of self in everyday life (Vol. 21). London: Harmondsworth.

Goffman, E. (2002). The presentation of self in everyday life. 1959. Garden City, NY, 259.

Martey, R. M., & Consalvo, M. (2011). Performing the looking-glass self: Avatar appearance and group identity in Second Life. Popular Communication, 9 (3), 165-180.

Jones E E (1964) Ingratiation. Appleton-Century-Crofts, New York.

Jones, E. E., & Pittman, T. S. (1982). Toward a general theory of strategic self-presentation. Psychological perspectives on the self, 1(1), 231-262.

Leary M R (1995) Self-presentation: Impression Management and Interpersonal Behaior. Westview Press, Boulder, CO.

Leary, M. R.. Impression Management, Psychology of, in Smelser, N. J., & Baltes, P. B. (Eds.). (2001). International encyclopedia of the social & behavioral sciences (Vol. 11). Amsterdam: Elsevier.

Leary, M. R., & Kowalski, R. M. (1990). Impression management: A literature review and two-component model. Psychological bulletin, 107(1), 34.

Leary M R, Tchvidjian L R, Kraxberger B E 1994 Self-presentation may be hazardous to your health. Health Psychology 13: 461–70.

Ogilvie, D. M. (1987). The undesired self: A neglected variable in personality research. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52, 379-385.

  • Schlenker, B. R. (1980). Impression management (Vol. 222). Monterey, CA: Brooks/Cole.

Schlenker, B. R. (1985). Identity and self-identification. In B. R. Schlenker (Ed.), The self and social life (pp. 65-99). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Schlenker, B. R., & Leary, M. R. (1982). Social anxiety and self-presentation: A conceptualization model. Psychological bulletin, 92(3), 641.

Tedeschi, J. T, Smith, R. B., Ill, & Brown, R. C., Jr. (1974). A reinterpretation of research on aggression. Psychological Bulletin, 81, 540- 563.

Tseëlon, E. (1992). Is the presented self sincere? Goffman, impression management and the postmodern self. Theory, culture & society, 9(2), 115-128.

Tunnell, G. (1984). The discrepancy between private and public selves: Public self-consciousness and its correlates. Journal of Personality Assessment, 48, 549-555.

Further Information

  • Solomon, J. F., Solomon, A., Joseph, N. L., & Norton, S. D. (2013). Impression management, myth creation and fabrication in private social and environmental reporting: Insights from Erving Goffman. Accounting, organizations and society, 38(3), 195-213.
  • Gardner, W. L., & Martinko, M. J. (1988). Impression management in organizations. Journal of management, 14(2), 321-338.
  • Scheff, T. J. (2005). Looking‐Glass self: Goffman as symbolic interactionist. Symbolic interaction, 28(2), 147-166.

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The Presentation of the Self in Everyday Life – A Summary

A summary of The Presentation of the Self in Everyday Life by Erving Goffman, and a brief discussion of its relevance to A level Sociology. 

Executive Summary

The best way to understand human action is by seeing people as actors on a ‘social stage’ who actively create an impression of themselves for the benefit of an audience (and, ultimately themselves).

When we act in the social world, we put on a ‘front’ in order to project a certain image of ourselves (call this part of our ‘social identity’ if you like) – we create a front by manipulating the setting in which we perform (e.g. our living room), our appearance (e.g. our clothes) and our manner (our emotional demeanour).

In the social world we are called upon to put on various fronts depending on the social stage on which we find ourselves and the teams of actors with whom we are performing – the work-place or the school are typical examples of social stages which require us to put on a front. On these social stages we take on roles, in relation to other team-members and carefully manage the impressions we give-off in order to ‘fit in’ to society and/ or achieve our own personal goals

Impression management involves projecting an ‘idealised image’ of ourselves, which involves concealing a number of aspects of a performance – such as the effort which goes into putting on a front, and typically hiding any personal profit we will gain from a performance/ interaction.

Unfortunately because audiences are constantly on the look-out for the signs we give off (so that they can know who we are) ‘performers can stop giving expressions, but they cannot stop giving them off’. This means that we must be constantly on our guard to practice ‘expressive control’ when on the social stage. There are plenty of things that can go wrong with our performance which might betray the fact that we are not really the person who our act suggests that we are – we might lose bodily control (slouch), or make mistakes with our clothing (a scruffy appearance) for example.

We generally tend to think of performances as being of one or two types – the sincere and the contrived. Some people sincerely believe in the parts they are playing, they invest their true selves in the impression they give off, this is the typical case. However, other people act out their roles more cynically – they do not believe the parts they are playing are a reflection of their ‘true selves’ but instead only play their part in order to achieve another end.

Thankfully most audience members are tactful and voluntarily stay away from back-stage areas where we prepare for our social roles, and if we ever ‘fall out of character’ they tend to engage in ‘tactful inattention’ in order to save the situation.

From a theoretical point of view Goffman criticises structuralist (Functionalist and Marxist) theories of socialisation – Marxism for example argues that school socialises children to passively accept authority and hierarchy thus preparing them for exploitation in later life. What Goffman’s theory suggests is that many children might just be acting out this acceptance of hierarchy in order to get through school with as little hassle as possible, while backstage they may think school is not particularly important, and they may not accept authority.

From a research methods point of view the significance of Goffman lies in the fact that f we really want to understand people, we would need to engage in participant-observation in order to get back-stage with them, because we only get to see peoples true feelings when they stop performing.

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This paper is a write-up on Goffman's 'Presentation of Self' theory.

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We live in the age of narrative philosophy. This is especially important pertaining to the notion of the self, since it is a result of our personal narratives, in which the combination of self-esteem and self-identity plays a decisive role. After a general survey of these topics, I will show Rorty's particular application of the narrative identity theory both on the individual and the social level. In the second main part I will summarize Shusterman's criticism on Rorty's notion of the self and his own description of that which is rather an internarrative identity theory.

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Erving Goffman\u27s reputation as a cynic stems from his text, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, which portrays the self as a manipulative confidence trickster. However, matters are more complicated than they first appear. There are two versions of the text, one published in 1956, the other in 1959, and Goffman\u27s revisions to the latter quietly challenge the cynicism of the former. Focussing on these revisions makes the text look rather different. Goffman has two voices in The Presentation of Self and the aim of this paper is to allow each to be heard

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erving goffman calls our presentation of self in ways that will lead others to view us in a favorable light

Erving Goffman calls our presentation of self Impression Management will lead others to view us in a favorable light .

Central to Goffman's book and  theory is the idea that people are constantly engaged in "impression management" when interacting with each other in social settings , where everyone tries to present themselves and behave in a way that doesn't confuse people. myself or others .

Introducing the Self in Everyday Life is a sociological book published by Erving Goffman in 1956, in which the author describes the images of theater about the importance of human social interaction; this approach was known as Goffman's dramaturgical analysis.

Dramaturgy is a sociological concept developed by Erving Goffman that uses the metaphor of theater to explain human behavior . Dramaturgy is a sociological perspective that is part of symbolic interaction and is used in the sociological analysis of everyday life .

To know more about Erving Goffman visit :

The correct question is :

Erving Goffman calls our presentation of self in ways that will lead others to view us in a favorable light

Related Questions

what term is used to describe the belief in innate and unique qualities or personality traits existing in each sex that goes beyond cultural conditioning?

Biological essentialism is used to describe the belief in innate and unique qualities or personality traits existing in each sex that goes beyond cultural conditioning.

Essentialism is a less explicit term, a term that includes an understanding that examines the essence , that is, what constitutes something, as opposed to contingency, which is mere chance, that non-existence is what it is. This is not to deny.

Essentialism in biology is the concept that animal and plant species differ from each other because of their 'essence', which means recognizing discontinuities in nature. This understanding contrasts with nominalism, in which only individuals and single collectives exist and categories are viewed only as human -determined abstractions in the broad continuum of forms in nature.

Learn more about essentialism at

What does tread softly because you tread on my dreams meaning?

"Tread softly because you tread on my dreams " means to be cautious and considerate as one's actions or words can affect another person's aspirations or emotions.

The phrase Tread softly because you tread on my dreams is a powerful reminder to be thoughtful and considerate of the way we act and speak towards one another.

Our words and actions can have a lasting effect on someone's emotions and aspirations, so it's important to take into account how our actions might impact someone else. Taking the time to think through our actions and speak with care can help us to create an environment of kindness and understanding that supports everyone's dreams.

To know more about dreams , click here.

which theory of government says the wealthy feels secure when it comes to important political positions?

The elite theory of government says the wealthy feels secure when it comes to important political positions

Elite theory is a theory of the State used in philosophy, political science, and sociology to define and explain power structures in modern society. According to the thesis, a tiny minority—made up of members of the financial elite and networks that shape public policy—holds the majority of the power, and this influence is unaffected by democratic elections.

Members of the "elite" have significant influence over corporate and governmental decisions through their positions in corporations or on corporate boards, influence over networks for policy-planning through financial support from foundations, or affiliations with think tanks or policy-discussion groups.

Learn more about The elite theory

Full Question :which theory of government says the wealthy feels secure when it comes to important political positions?

during his lunch break, rajesh takes a minute to think about his soccer practice schedule for the next few weeks. thinking about his schedule demonstrates use of which type of neurons?

Rajesh is using his executive neurons while thinking about his soccer practice schedule. Executive neurons are a type of neurons located in the prefrontal cortex of the brain.

These neurons are important for higher-level thinking such as decision-making, planning, and problem-solving . They also play a role in controlling emotions, memories, and behaviors.

Specifically, executive neurons are responsible for controlling the flow of information from short-term to long-term memory, as well as the ability to respond to new situations. By thinking about his soccer practice schedule , Rajesh is using his executive neurons to plan and problem-solve.

He is using his prefrontal cortex to store and recall information , while simultaneously using his executive neurons to analyze data, make decisions , and plan his schedule.

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What did Hades promise Persephone

zach comes home past his curfew and is yelled at by his parents. if, as a result of being yelled at, zach never comes home late again it would be an example of .

If, as a result of being yelled at by his parents , Zach never comes home late again, it would be an example of operant conditioning .

Operant conditioning is a type of learning where behavior is modified by the consequences that follow it. In this case, Zach's behavior of coming home past curfew has been modified by the consequence (being yelled at) that followed it.

In operant conditioning, consequences such as reinforcement (positive consequences that increase the likelihood of a behavior being repeated) or punishment (negative consequences that decrease the likelihood of a behavior being repeated) are used to modify behavior . In Zach's case, being yelled at is an example of punishment, as it has decreased the likelihood of him coming home late again.

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True or False? kelia, the owner of a lebanese factory that produces electrical converters, recently learned that the eu will begin taxing all electrical components imported into eu member nations. in this example, a tariff is being implemented to protect european electrical component manufacturers.

It is TRUE that a tariff has been enacted to safeguard the producers of electrical components in Europe.

Natural resources and the capacity to generate particular goods and services are a major constraint for most nations. They engage in trade with other nations to meet the demands and needs of their populace. Trade between trading partners isn't always carried out amicably, though. Trading partners may become dissatisfied for a variety of reasons, including policies, geopolitics , competition, and others.

Tariffs are one method that governments use to deal with trading partners that they don't agree with. A tariff is a charge placed by one nation on imports of goods and services from another nation in an effort to sway that nation, generate income, or preserve competitive advantages.

To know more about Tariffs

why is being a conservative a better way to run our country than a liberal??

because can protect people from certain things


Who once said to love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance?

Oscar Wilde was the one who once said to love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.

It has been said that one of the best things you can do for yourself is to accept yourself for who you are. Stretching and reaching for your dreams is said to be one of the bravest things you can do.

So what is self-acceptance or self-improvement? The truth is both. If you want to improve psychologically while remaining happy and at peace, you must learn to navigate the fine line between self-acceptance and self-improvement.

Everything we do (including "improving" our loving selves) must come from a place of self-acceptance and love if it is to truly be of lasting benefit. Nothing good ever came from beating myself up to get better.

In fact, imposing, criticizing, and punishing are practices that make us feel empty, inferior, and ultimately unmotivated , accomplished or not! If you intend to create lasting positive change while maintaining your perspective, that change must come from a place of unconditional love and positive appreciation for yourself. will be fun and adventurous.  

To learn more about Oscar Wilde, here:

what is an example of rationalization and a reason it might occur?

The morning journey was hampered by poor traffic , which may be used as an excuse for a bad mood or generally nasty behavior. - is an example of rationalization.

Insane, abnormal, or generally unacceptable behavior is rationalized in an effort to make it seem acceptable. Rationalization, according to Freud's traditional psychoanalytic theory , is a defense mechanism, an unconscious effort to avoid confronting the fundamental causes of a behavior. People who rationalize a situation may be able to keep their dignity or get away with wrongdoing and not feel guilty. Although rationalization is frequently harmless , it can become dangerous when someone employs it as a form of self-deception on a regular basis to justify bad behavior.

In that it shields people from untrustworthy feelings and motivations, rationalization can be adaptive, but it can also lead to unhelpful behavior and psychological issues. Pathological rationalization involves failing to meet demands or by stating the spouse was otherwise uncooperative .

To know more about Freud's traditional psychoanalytic theory

during which conflict were homing pigeons used extensively to carry photographically reduced text to officials?

The Paris Commune and the Franco-Prussian War. Although there are images from previous battles, American Civil War was regarded as the first significant conflict to have received a significant amount of photography.

The conclusion of the Bruno War had a significant geopolitical impact. With Berlin taking over for Paris as the center of world politics, it immediately contributed to the establishment of the German Imperial, which became the most powerful state in Continental Europe.

A alliance of German nations led by Prussia conquered France in the Franco-Prussian War (1870–71), eliminating French rule in mainland Europe and bringing about the unification of Germany. Beginning on August 19, 1870, and ending on January 28, 1871, was the Franco-Prussian War.

To know more about Franco-Prussian visit:

why do modern researchers often find that young children are able to overcome some aspects of egocentrism at younger ages than piaget had thought?

Ages during which skills first appear Modern academics frequently discover that young infants are more adept at overcoming some characteristics of egocentrism than piaget had anticipated.

Because to egocentrism, the youngster is more focused on the result of an event than the intentions of others. For instance, if someone smashes a child's toy, the youngster may not be able to forgive the offender or comprehend that the offender had no intention of breaking the toy.

The young child's natural predisposition to see everything as it pertains to them is known as egocentric thinking. It's not being egotistical. Young children cannot accomplish this.

To know more about egocentrism visit:

lyndsey and alexis are out on their first date. during dinner, alexis reaches across the table to hold lyndsey's hand, thus expressing her affection. which function of nonverbal communication is alexis fulfilling?

Alexis is fulfilling the function of expressing affection through nonverbal communication by reaching across the table to hold Lyndsey's hand.  

Nonverbal communication encompasses gestures, facial expressions, eye contact, and touch .It conveys meaning and emotions beyond what is said through verbal communication. Touch is a particularly powerful form of nonverbal communication Touch can express affection, comfort, and support .Alexis is fulfilling the function of expressing affection through nonverbal communication by holding Lyndsey's hand.By reaching out to hold Lyndsey's hand, Alexis is communicating her feelings of affection. This physical connection can deepen their emotional connection and strengthen their relationship. Nonverbal communication plays an important role in social interactions and relationships. It can complement, reinforce, or even contradict verbal messages .Understanding and effectively using nonverbal communication is important in building and maintaining positive relationships.

learn more about nonverbal communication here:

How did the Métis express their national identity? Please answer in your own words.

The Métis expressed their national identity through their language, music, dance, arts, and storytelling. They used their language, Michif, to communicate with other Métis and set themselves apart from other Indigenous groups in Canada. They also developed their own distinct music, dance, and art forms that represented their culture and values. Storytelling was also an important part of their identity, with stories passed down from generation to generation. Finally, the Métis also wore distinctive clothing styles, including the traditional sash, to demonstrate their identity.

true or false: according to most developmentalists, development is characterized only by the influences of nature and nurture.

The statement is False. According to most developmentalism, development is characterized only by the influences of nature and nurture.

Commercial enterprise improvement includes responsibilities and tactics to increase and enforce growth possibilities within and between corporations. it's miles a subset of the fields of commercial enterprise, commerce, and organizational idea. business improvement is the introduction of lengthy-term fees for an employer from customers, markets, and relationships.

Commercial enterprise improvement can be taken to intend any pastime by way of either a small or massive organization, a non-profit or for-income agency that serves the reason of ‘growing’ the enterprise in some way. similarly, enterprise improvement sports can be executed internally or externally by means of a business improvement consultant. outside commercial enterprise development may be facilitated through making plans structures, which might be put in the region by using governments to assist small businesses. in addition, popularity building has also proven to assist facilitate commercial enterprise development.

To learn more about Development visit here:

i was born as the seventh prince, what should i do?

The first step as the seventh prince would be to understand the responsibilities and expectations that come with being a prince.

This may include understanding the political,  profitable, and social functions of the position. also, it would be important to develop a good working relationship with the other members of the royal family. Communication and  collective respect between family members is essential for any successful monarchy.  

A monarchy is the form of government in which the person, the monarch, is head of the state for life or until the abdication.

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What is a contribution from Greek sports

Answer: A contribution from it is it was built public gymnasiums where people would train and compete.

How does the butter pagoda represent the clash between cultures in the story?

The butter pagoda represents a culture clash . The butter pagoda is a work of art, but Jean's mom sees it as unsanitary.

'What is culture clash?'

People use culture to address urgent issues in business , government, law enforcement, entertainment, education, and other areas as well as to wrestle with issues of power and inequality in these domains' institutions and customs (e.g., racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, imperialism).

News of cultural conflicts or differences that occur both within companies and throughout society is constantly present in headlines and social media feeds. Race conflicts between the police and communities of color in American suburbs and cities, gender conflicts between men and women in the workplace , and more

know more about culture here

Up to half a million teachers, civil servants, and train drivers went on strike in which country?

Up to half a million teachers, civil servants , and train drivers went on strike in France.

Up to 500,000 e mployees in France went on strike in April 2021 in opposition to the government's proposed pension reform s. Teachers, government employees, and train drivers all participated in the walkout.

A state or community is managed and run by a system of government. It entails the creation and application of laws, the defense of citizens against dangers from without, the delivery of necessary services, and the advancement of the common good.

Government is frequently made up of elected individuals, who are in charge of deciding on laws and policies. Government also consists of non-elected people who carry out laws and programs, such as civil employees or bureaucrats. Government is necessary to maintain order.

To learn more about government

when going to the beach, instead of seeing a crowd of random individuals, we see groups of people who are likely to be together. which principle of gestalt psychology does this demonstrate?

This phenomenon demonstrates the principle of " grouping " in gestalt psychology. Grouping refers to the tendency for the human mind to organize stimuli into meaningful groups or patterns based on their proximity, similarity , and continuity.

When we see a crowd of people at the beach, our mind groups them together based on the idea that people who are close to each other are likely to be together. This grouping process helps us to simplify and make sense of the complex information that we encounter in our environment.

The principle of grouping is one of the key concepts in gestalt psychology, which is a school of thought that emphasizes the importance of holistic and integrated perceptions. Gestalt psychologists argued that the mind organizes information in a way that is meaningful and coherent, rather than as a collection of individual elements. By understanding how the mind organizes information, gestalt psychologists aimed to shed light on the process of perception and how we make sense of the world around us.

For such more question on grouping

arrests that occur because of concerted efforts by law enforcement agencies to respond to a particular type of criminal behavior are .

Targeted enforcement arrests involve law enforcement agencies taking proactive steps to identify and apprehend individuals engaging in specific types of criminal behavior.

These arrests often occur after an agency has identified an increase in a particular type of criminal activity and targets individuals who may be involved.

By focusing their efforts on addressing a specific type of crime, law enforcement agencies can proactively reduce the amount of crime in their communities. These arrests are an essential part of a comprehensive law enforcement strategy that seeks to protect public safety.

Learn more about targeted enforcement arrests :

in recalling what he calls the seven sins of memory, daniel schacter suggests that encoding failure results from the sin of

The seven sins of memory are transience, absent-mindedness, blocking, misattribution, suggestibility, bias, and persistence.

The central idea of the book is that "the seven sins of memory" are analogous to the Seven Deadly Sins , and that by trying to avoid committing these sins, one might improve their memory. According to Schacter , these aspects of human memory are not inherently negative and have a purpose in memory. One memory sin, like persistence, might result in conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder. Persistence is vital since long-term memory also requires it. According to Schacter, " memory errors can be broken down into seven basic transgressions or'sins'."

Learn more about seven sins of memory here:

the system of psychology that grew out of darwinian thinking and focuses attention on the utility and purpose of behavior is known as

The utility and purpose of behavior is known as functionalism .

Functionalism is concerned with how behavior helps an individual adapt to a particular environment.

It focuses on the adaptive value of behavior and how it helps an individual survive and thrive. It stresses the importance of the environment in shaping behavior and emphasizes the importance of evolutionary adaptation.

Functionalism is important because it provides an understanding of how behavior is shaped by the environment and how the environment can influence an individual's ability to survive and thrive.

It also provides insight into how behavior can be used to solve problems and promote health . Furthermore, functionalism has helped to inform our understanding of both normal and abnormal behavior, enhancing our ability to treat mental health issues.

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PLEASE HELPPPPPP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I just used process of elimination so do that too

What compromise guaranteed that slave trade could exist for 20 years?

The Missouri Compromise was a law created by Henry Clay to settle disputes between pro-slavery and anti-slavery parties in Congress.

This Act mandated that a line be drawn at latitude 36°30' (the southern border of Missouri) and that all newly added states would be slave states south of that line and free states all north of that line. requested. Missouri is an exception and will soon be added as a slave state.

The compromise was made in response to a growing rift between the free peoples of the North and their representation in parliament . It ultimately gave the southern states greater power in Congress . The compromise yielded strange results:

Missouri was added as a slave state, Maine was added as a free state, and no other states were added until 1836 (Arkansas, slave state). For the most part, it stopped the trend of emancipation southward by drawing legal boundaries that protected slavery .

This law lasted until after 1850 when it was replaced by the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which started the Civil War.

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what is the tendency of people to be concerned primarily with their own values, beliefs, and well-being?

Ethnocentrism is the tendency to look at the world primarily from the perspective of one's own culture.

In social science and anthropology, as well as in everyday English discourse, the term "ethnocentrism" refers to the practice of evaluating other cultures, practices, behaviors, beliefs, and individuals using one's own culture or ethnicity as a frame of reference rather than the norms of the specific culture in question.

Some people also use the term to refer to the idea that one's culture is superior to, or more correct or normal than, all others—especially when it comes to the distinctions that define each ethnicity's cultural identity, such as language, behavior, customs, and religion.

This judgment is frequently negative because it implies that one's culture is superior to, or more correct or normal than, all others. [1] It can also be used to refer to any judgment that is influenced by a particular culture. [2] The common depictions of the Global South a nd the Global North, for instance, are examples of ethnocentrism.

The relationship between ethnocentrism and

To know more about ethnocentrism here

In organizations, _ strive to produce order and stability, whereas _ embrace and manage change.

In organizations, managers strive to produce order and stability , whereas leaders embrace and manage change.

A " manager " is someone who directs the work of others, whereas a "leader" motivates others to perform their best work via their words and deeds without giving orders. Those depictions of leadership vs management responsibilities are only loosely correct, and most people prefer the title of leader over that of manager. But make no mistake, management and leadership are both essential to a company's success.

While management may be in charge of developing and implementing the strategies that bring a company toward its objectives, leadership is ultimately in charge of setting those objectives. Managers take care of the details of plotting the road to get there, while leaders set a company's overarching vision , goals, and direction.

To know more about leadership vs management

social psychology's major contributions to the field of organizational behavior have been primarily at what level of analysis?

The correct option is B. Social psychology's major contributions to the field of organizational behavior have been primarily at the level of the individual.

A psychologist is a professional who practices psychology and studies intellectual states, perceptual, cognitive, emotional, and social strategies, and behavior. Their work frequently includes the experimentation, observation, and interpretation of how people relate to each different and to their environments.

Psychologists normally acquire a bachelor's diploma in psychology, followed by a master's diploma or doctorate in psychology. in contrast to psychiatric physicians and psychiatric nurse practitioners, psychologists generally can not prescribe medication, but depending on the jurisdiction, a few psychologists with extra education can be certified to prescribe medicines; qualification necessities may be different from a bachelor's diploma and a grasp's degree.

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Complete Question:

A) the level of the group

B) the level of the individual

C) the level of the organization

D) the level of the culture

E) the level of interacting groups

supporters of nafta and free trade would contend that such agreements

The correct option is D) stimulate democratic reform and open markets in areas in need of improvement. Supporters of NAFTA and free trade agreements argue that such pacts have the potential to open up markets

And stimulate economic growth by increasing trade between nations. This increased trade can lead to greater competition, which can in turn drive down prices, create jobs, and increase innovation . Furthermore, proponents of free trade often argue that such agreements can lead to increased economic and political stability in developing nations, which can, in turn, foster democratic reforms and increase human rights protections. However, it is important to note that free trade agreements are not without their challenges and controversies . Critics argue that free trade agreements can lead to the loss of jobs in certain industries and can exacerbate income inequality. It is also important to consider the impact of free trade agreements on the environment and labor rights, as well as ensuring that the benefits of free trade are distributed equitably.

The complete question is:

Supporters of NAFTA and free trade would contend that such agreements

A) increase government control of a nation's economy.

B) limit the growth of an economy and prevents inflation.

C) hamper democratic reforms and open markets in areas that are already strong.

D) stimulate democratic reform and open markets in areas in need of improvement.

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republic of texas please give a short summary of events that lead to the founding of the republic of texas. why did the republic of texas remain an independent country for nine years?

The Republic of Texas was established in 1836 following a long struggle for independence from Mexico.

This struggle began after the Mexican government overturned the Constitution of 1824 and began to oppress the settlers in Texas. In response, the settlers organized a rebellion and declared their independence from Mexico, forming the Republic of Texas. This newly formed country lasted for nine years as an independent nation, during which time it was recognized by the United States, France, and the United Kingdom.

The Republic of Texas was only able to maintain its independence by relying on trade and the support of the United States, who refused to recognize Mexican sovereignty over Texas. In 1845, the United States annexed Texas, finally ending the Republic of Texas' nine-year independence.

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  1. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life

    ISBN. 978--14-013571-8. OCLC. 59624504. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life is a 1956 sociological book by Erving Goffman, in which the author uses the imagery of theatre to portray the importance of human social interaction. This approach became known as Goffman's dramaturgical analysis. Originally published in Scotland in 1956 and in ...

  2. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life: Goffman, Erving

    From the Publisher. A study of human behavior in social situations and the way we appear to others. Dr. Goffman has employed as a framework the metaphor of theatrical performance. Discussions of social techniques are based upon detailed research and observation of social customs in many regions.


    THE PRESENTATION OF SELF 1 IN EVERYDAY LIFE ERVING GOFFMAN University of Edinburgh ... Price : Ten Shillings. THE PRESENTATION OF SELF IN EVERYDAY LIFE ERVING GOFFMAN University of Edinburgh Social Sciences Research Centre $9 George Square, Edinburgh S Monograph No. 2 1956. o. Masks are arrested expressions and admirable echoes of

  4. The presentation of self in everyday life : Goffman, Erving : Free

    The presentation of self in everyday life by Goffman, Erving. Publication date 1959 Topics Self-presentation, Social role, Role, Self Concept, Social Behavior Publisher Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday Collection internetarchivebooks; americana; printdisabled Contributor Internet Archive

  5. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life

    The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life is a book that was published in the U.S. in 1959, written by sociologist Erving Goffman. In it, Goffman uses the imagery of theater in order to portray the nuances and significance of face-to-face social interaction. Goffman puts forth a theory of social interaction that he refers to as the ...

  6. The presentation of self in everyday life : Goffman, Erving : Free

    The presentation of self in everyday life by Goffman, Erving. Publication date 1959 Topics Self-presentation, Social role Publisher New York : Anchor Books Collection internetarchivebooks; printdisabled Contributor Internet Archive Language English.

  7. The presentation of self in everyday life : Goffman, Erving : Free

    The presentation of self in everyday life by Goffman, Erving. Publication date 1959 Topics Self-presentation, Social role, Role, Self Concept, Social Behavior, Rollen (sociale wetenschappen), Zelf, Rôle social, Vie quotidienne, Moi (Psychologie) Publisher Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday

  8. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life

    The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. Erving Goffman. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Sep 29, 2021 - Social Science - 272 pages. A notable contribution to our understanding of ourselves. This book explores the realm of human behavior in social situations and the way that we appear to others. Dr.

  9. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life

    The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. Erving Goffman. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, May 20, 1959 - Social Science - 272 pages. Based upon detailed research and observation of social customs in many regions, here is a notable contribution to our understanding of ourselves, using theatrical performance as a framework.

  10. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life

    The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. Erving Goffman. Penguin Books, Limited, May 5, 2022 - Psychology - 272 pages. One of the defining works of twentieth-century sociology: a revelatory analysis of how we present ourselves to others. 'The self, then, as a performed character, is not an organic thing ... it is a dramatic effect'.


    THE PRESENTATION OF SELF. 1. IN. EVERYDAY LIFE. ERVING GOFFMAN. University of Edinburgh Social Sciences Research Centre. Price : Ten Shillings. INTRODUCTION. When an individual enters the presence of others, they commonly seek to acquire information about him or to bring into play information about him already possessed.

  12. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life by Erving Goffman

    About The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. Based upon detailed research and observation of social customs in many regions, here is a notable contribution to our understanding of ourselves, using theatrical performance as a framework. ... Erving Goffman was born in Canada in 1922. He received his B.A. from the University of Toronto in 1945 ...

  13. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life

    Erving Goffman. One of the defining works of twentieth-century sociology: a revelatory analysis of how we present ourselves to others 'The self, then, as a performed character, is not an organic thing ... it is a dramatic effect' How do we communicate who we are to other people? This landmark work by one of the twentieth century's most ...

  14. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life (1959)

    Erving Goffman. Erving Goffman (1922-1982) was "arguably the most influential American sociologist of the twentieth century" (Fine & Manning, 2003, p. 34). This summary will outline one of his earliest works - The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, originally published in 1956. The book was published more widely in 1959 with some ...

  15. The presentation of self in everyday life.

    Citation. Goffman, E. (1959). The presentation of self in everyday life. Doubleday. Abstract. A classic analysis of the processes by which persons manage their appearance and demanor so as to project an appropriate impression of themselves into social interactions.

  16. Impression Management: Erving Goffman Theory

    Impression Management in Sociology. Impression management, also known as self-presentation, refers to the ways that people attempt to control how they are perceived by others (Goffman, 1959). By conveying particular impressions about their abilities, attitudes, motives, status, emotional reactions, and other characteristics, people can ...

  17. The Presentation of the Self in Everyday Life

    A summary of The Presentation of the Self in Everyday Life by Erving Goffman, and a brief discussion of its relevance to A level Sociology. Executive Summary The best way to understand human action is by seeing people as actors on a 'social stage' who actively create an impression of themselves for the benefit of

  18. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life

    First published by the University of Edinburgh in 1956 and reprinted in the United States in 1959, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life offers a comprehensive sociological framework for understanding day-to-day interactions. Erving Goffman posits what is now called a "dramaturgical" view of society, framing social behavior as a series of theatrical performances by individuals and groups.

  19. Erving Goffman

    Erving Goffman's The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, published in 1959, provides a detailed description and analysis of process and meaning in mundane interaction.Goffman, as a product of the Chicago School, writes from a symbolic interactionist perspective, emphasizing a qualitative analysis of the component parts of the interactive process.

  20. Erving Goffman and the Performed Self

    From the BBC Radio 4 series about life's big questions - you have a fixed character? Or do you play many roles dependin...


    This paper will look at how Goffman's self presentation theory came about, the assumptions and concepts surrounding the theory, the critiques that may have arised from the theory as well as the usage of this theory in research work. 2.0 The Presentational Self Theory 2.1 Background of the Founder Erving Goffman was born in Canada in the year ...

  22. PDF The Presentation of Self

    The Presentation of Self ERVING GOFFMAN The name Erving Goffman is virtually synonymous with microsociology. Throughout his life, Goffman argued that social interaction should be studied as a topic in its own right. He maintained that social interaction has its own logic and structure, regard-

  23. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life Quotes

    The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life | Quotes. 1. The individual will have to act so that he ... expresses himself, and the others will ... be impressed ... by him. Communication, as Goffman acknowledges from the beginning, is an active undertaking for both the person talking and the person listening.

  24. Erving Goffman Calls Our Presentation Of Self In Ways That Will Lead

    Erving Goffman calls our presentation of self Impression Management will lead others to view us in a favorable light .. Central to Goffman's book and theory is the idea that people are constantly engaged in "impression management" when interacting with each other in social settings, where everyone tries to present themselves and behave in a way that doesn't confuse people. myself or others .