Sociology Index


Dramaturgical model interprets individual behavior as the dramatic projection of a chosen self. Dramaturgy is sociological perspective stemming from symbolic interactionism. As used by Erving Goffman and symbolic interactionists since, dramaturgical model is a metaphor for understanding human interaction and how humans present their self in society.

In dramaturgical model, all the world is conceived as a stage and individuals are seen as actors who present a show of their self by putting their best foot forward. The dramaturgical model metaphor is extended by Erving Goffman through concepts such as front stage, back stage and presentation of self. Goffman sees social interaction as involving impression management.

Erving Goffman in his dramaturgical model of social relations, sees social life literally in terms of actors acting, that is, all of us are like actors on a stage, presenting a play. A social actor wants to feel that he or she is performing the role that he or she is playing well.

In a dramaturgical model, social interaction is analyzed as part of a theatrical performance. People are actors who must convey their personal characteristics and their intentions to others through performances.

Dramaturgy or dramaturgical model emphasizes expressiveness as the main component of interactions. It is termed a "fully two-sided view of human interaction".

Dramaturgical perspective is a sociological paradigm separated from other sociological theories because it does not examine the cause of human behavior but the context.

The Dramaturgical Model of Behavior: Its Strengths and Weaknesses
Bruce Wilshire, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - Symbolic Interaction, Fall 1982, Vol. 5, No. 2
Abstract: By means of the dramaturgical model we freshly illuminate social behavior as role-like “performances” in which persons manage the impressions that others get of them. The chief limitations of the dramaturgical model are that it excites the invalid inferences that offstage “roles” are more like stage actors' roles than they really are, and that the person is nothing but these “roles.” The differences between onstage and offstage behavior are kept in view when the metaphorical concept of role playing is re-connected to its source in role playing onstage.

The Psycho-Social Bases of Scatological Humor: The Unmasking of the Self - William G. Plank
Using Erving Goffman's model of dramaturgical sociology, we can see that scatological humor removes the props like clothing, composition of the face, and self-control used to create and control image. This situation can be expressed in Sartrean existentialism vocabulary. Scatological humor is more evident in a society where strong individualism is a cultural value.