Writing Assignment 1: Erving Goffman’s Presentation of Self Assignment
You’ve just been introduced to Erving Goffman’s dramaturgical analysis of social interaction, and you’ll be drawing on this lecture material specifically to answer the questions in this assignment.
The purpose of this assignment is to get you to see how meaning is constructed through an intricate dance of social gestures and communication. By considering our dramaturgy lesson and applying the concepts we’ve discussed to your own personal experiences meeting fellow students, you’ll have an opportunity to engage in an original sociological analysis of the social world—more specifically, your world. To be clear, to answer the questions below, I want you to think back to when you were first meeting classmates and friends in school (high school and/or college, specifically).
Specifically, you are to write at least 700 words (but no more than 800) [note: heading and paper titles and the actual questions themselves do not count towards your 700 words; don’t write out the actual questions], answering the following questions:
NOTE: When answering these questions, you should incorporate specific concepts and terminology from the course lecture on dramaturgy. Use your lecture notes and any relevant assigned texts as a reference.
***Format the paper as follows: 1) paragraph answer, 2) paragraph answer, 3) paragraph answer, etc.***
1. What information did you generally gather about classmates as you formed impressions of them (e.g., physical appearance, social group membership, verbal or nonverbal expressions, etc.)? Why did you focus on these aspects?
2. How did you decide what to share and not to share? In other words, what influenced or shaped your sharing? Here, consider Goffman’s point about the power of the setting to shape social action and the meanings created within.
3. What statuses or roles did you take on? And what characteristics, gestures, and attitudes are important for playing them appropriately? In other words, how did you portray yourself (e.g., I’m the smart student or the student-athlete or the shy person, etc.) and how (e.g., through what verbal/non-verbal actions, words, etc.) did you try and convince others you were who you were (i.e., How did you play “yourself” successfully)?
4. In what ways was your presentation of self (i.e., how you present yourself to others) influenced by the impressions you were forming of others? In other words, to what extent was your performance (your presentation of self) dependent on the performance of others?
IMPORTANT Details (Ignore at your own risk):
-NO late papers will be accepted without my prior approval.
-Type your paper. Do not email me papers. Papers emailed to me will not be graded.
-You will not directly quote material from your text or my lectures in the paper when defining and describing course concepts and ideas. Rather, I’d like you to put things in your own words. The purpose of doing so is to demonstrate you understand the material (and to get you to better understand it). To be clear, avoid using direct quotations in a short assignment like this.
-Use complete sentences. I will not grade assignments written in ‘bullet-style’ or ‘outline’ format (e.g., relying on short phrases or sentence fragments). Papers written as such will receive a ‘0’.
-Write in 12pt. Times New Roman Font. Use single spacing.
-You DO NOT need to include a “References” or “Bibliography” page. I know you will be drawing on my lectures and course readings, and I will assume that your summaries of concepts come from those. There is no need to use sources outside those assigned in the syllabus in these brief writing assignments.
-Write your name, date, and course number (single spaced) at the top of the paper.
For example: Matt Ward
-Your paper should be free from grammatical and spelling errors. Papers with excessive errors in writing mechanics will be returned for corrections, and the grade will be lowered. This will be done at my discretion.