Social Sciences

Start Free Trial

Use dramaturgy to analyze a situation with which you are familiar, such as an interaction with family or friends.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

You might use dramaturgy to analyze the dynamics of a situation in which two friends who are cooperative in everyday interactions become competitive, or even hostile, in class.

Erving Goffman developed the concept of dramaturgy as a sociological idea in works such as The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. Goffman's ideas are particularly suited to analyzing the different ways in which one person presents themselves in a variety of situations. Therefore, the situation you choose will be of particular interest if it shows someone acting in a particular way (in a public capacity, for instance) with people who also know that person in a different capacity.

A teacher or a student, according to Goffman, is "onstage" when speaking in class (with an audience) but "offstage" or "backstage" with friends and family, or when alone. You might, therefore, look at a situation in which two friends, who interact with each other every day on an informal basis, change their behavior towards one another in a classroom or another formal, public setting.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team