The Presentation of Self In Everyday Life by Erving Goffman

Goffman, E. 1990, The Presentation Of Self In Everyday Life, London: Penguin Books. ISBN: 978-0-14-013571-8.

First published in 1959, this book is a little dated in terms of reference to racial circumstances. However, on the whole this is a useful book to read, particularly for visual artists such as actors, and also playwrites, authors and arguably photographers in order to have a better understanding of social relationships when particularly but not exclusively working in the genre of documentary.

His book talks about how we create a ‘front’ for ourselves and this front will typically alter depending on who we are presenting ourselves too. Goffman refers to the public that we are presenting or performing to as the audience and he also looks at how we have a stage and backstage. The stage is the place we perform in intentionally to our audience, this could be to customers, friends, etc. On the front stage we project our image as we want others to think we are; so we may not swear, and act on our best behaviour. The backstage is where we relax and alter our performance to close family members and off duty colleagues, here we may talk more loosely and our behaviour becomes much less formal and here our behaviour can be perhaps more rude and uncouth than what would be acceptable in front of strangers and peers. Goffman also looks at how we put on fronts as a group as well as individuals. He also looks at how we may perform when the audience looks backstage both invited and when not. He also looks at our behaviour from the audience point-of-view and even the audience look a themselves or to other audiences.

Published by shauncn512659

Hi, I am an OCA student studying for an Art degree in Photography , my student number is 512659. My e-mail is:

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