Andy Oram's Reviews > The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life

The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life by Erving Goffman
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's review
Oct 24, 2009

really liked it
Read in January, 2009

I read this classic sociological text at the recommendation of a
friend, because I was researching identity online. The book was quite
useful to provide some frameworks for understanding the presentation
of self online. But it's a rather distasteful work: personally, I
don't see my entire life as a performance and everyone around me as an
audience as he wants me to do (he calls this attitude his
"dramaturgical perspective"). Furthermore, the book was published in
1959, just before the social revolution of the 1960s exploded the
expectations of formality it documents--all the aspects of proper
behavior, social distinctions, making a good impression, and so
forth. And Goffman is more chronicler than analyst, I've found. But
his categorizations and conclusions can still be helpful.
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