Sociologcical Analysis: Front and Back Stage

2 February 2017

Goffman describes that we give a “performance” every day to the people we interact with. He describes this performance as the presentation of self, a person’s efforts to create specific impressions in the minds of others. This process is sometimes called “impression management”. There is a distinction between the” front “and “back stage” behavior. As the term applies, “front stage” actions are visible to the audience and are part of the performance.

In other words, it’s what is presented to the individuals we interact with. “Back stage” behaviors are set off when no audience is present.It is usually in an area not visible to the audience and where the individual acts completely different from how they would act in front of the audience. Behaviors that wouldn’t be acceptable in front of the audience are carried out in the “back stage”. Before these interactions an individual typically prepares a role, or impression, that he or she wants to make on the other. These roles vary and depend on the term “breaking character”. This is basically when an unexpected intrusion occurs; a backstage performance is interrupted by someone who is not meant to see it.

Sociologcical Analysis: Front and Back Stage Essay Example

This makes a big problem, where the front stage and back stage behaviors are mixed up and the roles are confused. In addition to this, the way the audience for a personal performance plays a part in determining the course it takes. For example, we typically ignore many performance flaws, such as if someone trips or spits as they talk. Basically as Goffman states, we in everyday life engage in performances of the self in a way similar to an actor portraying a character. I have myself used the “front stage” and “back stage” concepts throughout several situations in my life.At my previous job, I used to work as a waiter at Wolfgang’s Steakhouse. It was a very demanding job and of course taking into the fact it was a popular restaurant; it was always busy.

Customers of all backgrounds would come to eat here all of them being elite, wealthy individuals. There would always be certain individuals that would be so demanding and always had some kind of problem. Since this job requires keeping the customer happy and of course “the customer is always right” makes any request by him/her undeniable. At times there will be nothing wrong with the food, but he/she will find a problem with it.This gets very frustrating and at times I wish I could curse them out. This is where the “front and back stage” behaviors come into play. I’ll get endless requests from a customer, “the steak is cold”, “the soda is flat”, “the food needs to be cooked more” etc.

My “front stage” behavior will not show any frustration or anger towards the customer. In fact, I’ll reply with an “I will fix that for you right away” and take his/her food back with a smile. I’ll continue this “front stage” behavior until I reach the kitchen, which is the area invisible to the customer.When I’m in the kitchen my “back stage” behavior kicks in, I’ll release my anger in there, shouting at the chefs, or even making a nasty comment about the customer. I’ll also talk with the other waiters telling them what an arrogant, demanding person the customer at the table I’m serving is. The other waiter will usually be in a similar situation and tell me about the demanding customers he/she is having too. As I leave the kitchen, my “front stage” behavior comes back in and I’ll greet the customer with a smile saying “here’s your new food, let me know if there are any other problems”.

Through the rest of the night, this cycle will usually continue, switching back and forth from “back stage” to “front stage” roles. One important thing I had to be careful of was to not be heard by the customer, since the bathroom was next to the kitchen. One of the waiters was overheard by the customer as he was walking to the bathroom. This resulted in him getting fired due to the complaints of the customer to the restaurant manager. Everything gets complicated if the “back stage” role mixes in with the “front stage” role. Front stage” and “back stage” concepts are really useful in these types of situations. If a waiter didn’t have the “back stage” to vent out his anger and frustration, this would affect his behavior towards the customer.

I think the waiter would eventually treat the customer with disrespect and poor service. With this kind of behavior it results in losing your job and no one wants that. It’s important that these roles stay separate because it is part of the waiter’s job to keep the customer happy, no matter what. In addition to this, there are certain things the audience shouldn’t be seeing or hearing.After all, you don’t want to reveal everything to your public. Every individual needs to have a “front stage” and a “back stage”. This provides a balance in the way we interact with individuals, with any situation it really does prevent problems.

These concepts aren’t here randomly they truly do help us in our everyday lives and the interactions that come with it. This analysis really made me think further about the concept of “front and back stage”. It was really interesting to see how much of an impact the two “stages” have in my everyday life, especially at my previous job as a waiter.On a smaller scale, we each perform “front stage” and “back stage” behaviors on daily basis. Our “front stage” is how we act in public, going to school, work, and just being outside in general. Our “back stage” is when we’re at home, in our rooms, typically alone, when no one is home. It’s really interesting to see that these concepts really do shape us as individuals and how we interact with one another.

Goffman had a point when he said we’re like actors performing, because we actually are, we play different roles depending on the situations we’re placed in.These concepts expose our lives from an interesting aspect and actually define us as individuals. I think if it wasn’t for the “front” and “back stage” life would be boring, there would be no secrets, and more importantly individuals wouldn’t have a chance to vent out and just act themselves. I think the “front stage” isn’t really who an individual is, it’s what is accepted and is just an example of how we adjust to society’s norms. The “back stage” is who we are as individuals, this is a big advantage because we can act ourselves and really not have to control our actions as much.

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