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How is Social Order maintained through Interaction?. Goffman and the Dramaturgical model We are ‘actors’ playing our part in social scenes Role and Person

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how is social order maintained through interaction
How is Social Order maintained through Interaction?
  • Goffman and the Dramaturgical model
  • We are ‘actors’ playing our part in social scenes
  • Role and Person
  • A role is a relatively standardised social location (e.g. teacher, parent) defined by specific rights and obligations. We are expected and often required to conform to the rules of the role
  • Thus our behaviour is typically determined by what is expected of that position rather than by our own ‘unique’ individual characteristics, (even though we can still ‘do it our way’ )
role playing and social order
Role Playing and Social Order
  • Role Performance:
  • The adequacy of our performance is judged by the ‘audience’
  • This involves reference to rules, sometimes referred to as norms (standards), to which our action is expected to conform
  • Therefore our action is not ours alone but a joint achievement by ourselves and the audience
  • Therefore, the audience participate in our ‘performance’ - interaction
  • The rules that define the roles we play are general, i.e. they apply to anyone playing the role.
  • The expectations of our action are, therefore, general.
  • The characteristics of the role player form a stereotype; a generalised set of expectations and attributes that are applied more or less uniformly to members of a particular group.
  • Stereotypes may benefit or harm members of the group
culture and social order
Culture and Social Order
  • Our interaction therefore depends on the existence of shared meanings.
  • The totality of shared meanings is culture; The symbolic and learned non-biological aspects of human society
  • This is our shared way of life; we express it through the five main elements of culture:


values and beliefs



material objects

  • Culture is learnt though the process of socialisation.
  • Through socialisation the social norms and rules that define the roles we play become part of our personality.
primary and secondary socialisation
Primary and Secondary Socialisation
  • Primary socialisation – family-based learning
  • Secondary socialisation – subsequent learning e.g. school
        • =
  • cultural reproduction.

Conflict is likely to occur where

primary socialisation and secondary

socialisation expose the pupil to

contradictory or incompatible rules,

expectations, language norms etc.

language and learning
Language and Learning
  • Basil BernsteinBritish, Bald, Dead
  • elaborated (formal) speech: typical of the middle class. Normal in the classroom
  • restricted (informal) speech: typical of the working class. Deviant in the classroom.
  • Working class students more likely to experience cultural alienation
self fulfilling prophecy
Self-fulfilling prophecy
  • An expectation that when acted upon helps create the expected outcome.
  • If a child is defined by a teacher as a low achiever that child is likely to perform as a low achiever.
socialisation and the life course
Socialisation and the Life Course
  • Socialisation is a continuous process
  • The life-course is the development of the person as a social identity through particular stages childhood, adolescence, mid-life, old age & death.
  • At each life course stage we are socialised into new roles and acquire new identities
  • Life course transition is the process through which the person moves from one socially constructed stage to the next
life course rituals
Life Course Rituals
  • Arnold Gennep (1873-1957)
  • French (or German or Dutch), Hair condition unknown; Dead
  • Rites de Passage Public ceremonies celebrating the transition of an individual or group to a new life course stage
    • Separation
        • Liminality
          • Reintegration
anticipatory socialisation
Anticipatory socialisation
  • Any process in which an individual endeavours to remodel his or her social behaviour in the expectation of gaining entry to and acceptability in a higher social status or class than that currently occupied
roles and social complexity
Roles and Social Complexity
  • Extensive division of labour typical of modern societies increases the range of available roles.
  • The set of roles performed by a person do not necessarily form a coherent whole (e.g. ‘mother’ and ‘employee’)
  • Role conflict occurs when a person finds he or she is playing two or more roles at one time that make incompatible demands (e.g. ‘pupil’ and ‘lad) or when a person (e.g. ‘teacher’) defines their role one way whilst those in related roles (e.g. ‘parent’) define it differently.
  • This implies that the content of roles is not fixed but negotiable