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Explain why life is like a stage according to dramaturgy. Explain role performance, sign vehicles, teamwork, and becoming roles that hold society together.

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According to Erving Goffman's theory of dramaturgy, life is like a stage in that people change their behavior according to whether and by whom they are being observed, just as actors play different parts before different audiences and alter their actions again when they are backstage.

Role performance refers to the particular roles people take on in different situations. A teacher performs the role of a teacher in front of his class and performs the related but different role of a father within his family. If he plays baseball with his friends on the weekends and goes drinking with them afterwards, he performs another role, which neither his students nor his children would recognize.

Sign vehicles convey to the audience what role the performer is playing. Some of the most common sign vehicles are appearance, setting, and manner. For instance, a judge will wear a robe, sit in a courtroom, and speak in a serious, weighty manner to perform her role.

Teamwork is the cooperation of individuals to reinforce the performance. In a courtroom, everyone treats the judge as a judge, addresses her respectfully, and so forth. The performance would not work without this cooperation.

The way in which people grow into their roles and adopt them as an essential part of their personae is an essential part of social cohesion. Society functions because teachers, judges, and most other people generally act as they are expected and needed to.

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