Support Networks in Cognitive Dissonance

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Support Networks in Cognitive Dissonance In “Then and Now: Creating a Self Through the Past,” author Susan Engel references a theory of “cognitive dissonance” by sociologist Irving Goffman. Engel writes, “Goffman described the ways in which we create different faces, or selves, in response to different social situations. [He] illustrates the ways in which people collude in helping [us] to maintain a given self, or self-presentation” (Engel p.198). This theory of people “colluding” to help with self-presentation is also demonstrated in Engel’s quote, “We draw upon memories as a source for the present […] this archeological work happens in the company of others, even when those others are representations in our mind” (Engel p.193). The autobiographical essay, “My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant,” authored by Jose Antonio Vargas will provide validity to this theory of colluding to help with self-presentation. The essay informs the audience about Vargas’s experiences as an undocumented immigrant from the Philippians. He explores the challenges he encounters to acquire a driver’s license, learn English, and make a better life. In addition, he explains how became a Noble Prize winning journalist/writer. He uses these experiences to establish that he knew the measures he used were morally wrong, but that if he made a better life he would be granted citizenship. Vargas states, “[He] decided then that [he] could never give anyone reason to doubt [he] was an American. [He] convinced [himself] that if [he] worked enough, if [he] achieved enough, [he] would be rewarded with citizenship. [He] felt [he] could earn it” (Vargas p.2). Vargas recounts a “support network” that helped him to present himself in social situations (Vargas p.6). This support network included his grandparents (Lola and Lolo), mother, administrators, colleagues, and mentors. These individuals colluded with
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