Erving Goffman Essay

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Erving Goffman SOC101: Introduction to Sociology Instructor: September 12, 2011 Erving Goffman The theorist that best aligns with my personal view of sociology is Erving Goffman. Erving Goffman’s theory elaborates on the dramaturgical approach which is based on human interaction, symbolic interaction, and adapting to an individual’s environment. This theory relies more on face to face contact and based on this contact, develops an outlook from a personal perspective on society. Human Interaction is the verbal/physical contact of one human to another. Goffman believed that understanding people and groups consisted of interaction. “His goal was a natural history of communication among humans” (Pettit 2011 pg. 138). This sort of interaction is helpful to an individual because it defines how they feel about someone. No matter how old a person is, human interaction is important because it develops a person’s human behavior. It is crucial for human interaction to begin at a young age since this is the beginning of how an individual portrays what is good behavior. With technology today, it is very difficult for some individuals to incorporate human interaction in their everyday life, but it is vital to a human being. Having one on one contact enables an individual to change or do something that involves what the individual creates. “Back-stage behavior is what you do behind the scenes to create the person you want them to see” (Vissing 2011 Ch. 1.3). With human interaction, symbolic interaction will follow. Symbolic Interaction primarily focuses on visual imprints people leave on one another. This imprint based on facial expression or actions from one individual to another enables someone to behave in a way that allows a person to show another what they want them to see. “Front-stage behavior is what you want others to see” (Vissing 2011 Ch. 1.3).

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