Presentation of Self
“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? towards them, his competence, his trustworthiness, etc. Although some of this information is? sought 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? ill 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. ”-Erving Goffman In “The Presentation of Self In Everyday Life,” by Erving Goffman he seeks to show the reader how everyone sets out to present themselves to the world around them, always trying to maintain the role they have selected for themselves, since those whom they meet not only try to decide what role it is you are playing, but also whether or not you are competent to play that role.
Erving Goffman portrays everyday interactions as strategic encounters in which one is attempting to sell a particular self-image and, accordingly, a particular definition of the situation. I agree with Erving Goffman, in everyday life I believe we all play different roles to different people to portray ourselves in the way we want to be seen. The impression we have on people and society depends on the character and role we play.In my life today I try to please people the best way I can while still making myself happy I can relate to Goffman’s writings because I also believe myself that we are all actors playing a role in society that we choose to play. The ways we portray ourselves to the people around us can differ from friends to parents because we want a sense of acceptance from all. I agree with this very much. Growing up I know that I occasionally would lie to my parents to play the role that they wanted to see.
The image my parents may have thought me to be, at times, actually was not me.I wanted to be my parent’s princess and the golden child, so I acted in a way to seek their approval which in some ways was not the “real” me. These conditions occur because of the existence of self presentational rules according to Goffman. “When one individual enters the presence of others, he will want to discover the facts of the situation. Were he to possess this information. ”Also when meeting an individual we try to get information about them so we can act accordingly to their approval. How we act with one friend may not be the way we act with another.
We determine the person’s status and attitude and decide for ourselves if we want to be a part of that. When we gather the information when first meeting someone, it determines the way we think and act towards them. Erving Goffman revolves his view of the human life around the belief that we are all actors who have both a front stage behavior and a back stage behavior. From an early age we have become skilled actors and move in and out of roles with precision such as with our family and friends. We follow the formal societal rules when we are on the front stage reciting a script, playing a role.This would include going to work, presenting ourselves as the person we should uphold to take part in society. On the other side, Goffman says our back stage behavior is informal, as we’d act when we are amongst friends.
When I myself am in the public eye instead of in the social scene amongst my friends I find myself acting in a different way to please the group of people I am around. Erving Goffman had a good perception on society and natural human behavior that I myself can relate to and agree with.