chapter
The Relation Between the Dramaturgical Principle and Dramaturgical Awareness
Pages 8

Most social scientists who write of and about dramaturgy concede that behav­ ior has expressive consequences. Indeed, in most fundamental ways that is what interaction is all about. But when considering the question of dramaturgical awareness, it is altogether a different story. There are those who characterize dramaturgy in general, and particularly the work of Goffman, as a study of dramaturgical awareness run amok. The dramaturgical image of man is posited as being a person who is constantly employing his dramaturgical awareness in order to influence the impressions that others have of him. Usually cited is an excerpt from Goffman (1959): " . . . when an individual appears before others he will have many motives for trying to control the impression they receive of the

situation" (p. 15). This singularly innocuous statement of dramaturgical aware­ ness is then translated: the motives are seen as nefarious, control is seen as manipulation, and impression is seen as inauthenticity. Deegan (1978), for instance, characterizes Goffman's writings as a sociology of defense mecha­ nisms, Lyman and Scott (1975) dwell on the differences between appearances and actuality, while Wilshire (1982) insists that a dramaturgical view of life implies that people conceal and also conceal the motivation to conceal. In this rather conventional response, dramaturgical man is alleged to be a selfindulgent, scheming, deceitful conniver and con man who fashions an illusionary existence for himself by manipulating the thoughts and actions of others.