21 Eylül 2011 Çarşamba

“Truman Show”: Goffman and Self

Everyday action is not substance; rather it is a process in which our performing comes to seen with many other components of “play”. We use backstage to prepare ourselves for the “play”, and we shore our actions up with the help of “settings”; refers to everything besides actors in the play. Then we have the front stage; the spheres where we perform, see many audiences watching us, and where we have to impress them, understand this impression from the immediate respond from them. But unlike many plays, the audience is not passively involved in these plays; they can also change their roles with the actors during the play. So, there is a certain agreement between them on how to act and re-act in the given conditions of play which requires them to have similar “kind”. Otherwise, the whole play will be failed in the ‘problematic’ conditions due to the damage of this agreement.

Every sentence of Goffman screams the artificiality of the social actions, from another consideration; what he means by this artificiality is, in my opinion, re-manifestation of the reason of living in a society. The limitless interest of humans can only be satisfied with co-operation and companies that they form. Here he might agree with Adam Smith’s ideas on how society is formed; the people perform great effort to maintain their self-satisfaction. In this process they watch –a.k.a. create mutual interests– often unintentionally other’s performs.

The metaphor that Goffman uses is a significant “structure” of our interactions, but there are problems with this significant structure as well. Tis, I believe, really idealist way of explaining the interaction because of three reasons: firstly, his metaphor refers to a theatre located in Manhattan, not a street theatre. The way how he portrays the stage and the settings are designed in super fashion. (I really felt the sound of air-conditioning while I was reading the text) Secondly, I think not all the social inter-actions can be explained exactly with this metaphor; think about the family inter-actions you don’t need to impress the other members, because of having primitive ties with them. Last but not least, if we always interact with our kind of people in everyday life; “then how do we see the ‘other ways’?”, there he missed to mention about “the stranger” as a person who can adopt himself to different “kinds”. Even though, there are these problems with Goffman, what he says is still valid for our contemporary society.

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