Social Dramaturgy: The World Is A Stage

There is a subconscious control going on almost all the time in our behaviour, on how others perceive us, something which is called social dramaturgy.

This behaviour would not be acceptable or palpable for others, if they didn’t participate in this in social environments, resulting in a set of protocols that is agreed upon by all.

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We All Wear Masks
  • According to Sociologist Erving Goffman, life consists of a series of acts, where we put on various masks, as we believe it is beneficial to hide parts of ourselves or to project a certain image.
  • Every social interaction that we participate in, we are trying to project a concrete, stable image of ourselves.
  • Ancient Greek philosophers such as Plato have observed that drama or comedy does not resemble reality as much as tragedy does.

In a theatrical play, if someone is not knowing how to act, and behaves in the same way on the stage and on the backstage, there is a good chance of that person being discarded from the play, as it can be a danger to the remaining cast.

Life in that sense becomes a stage where we skillfully apply makeup, the appropriate costume and right expressions (surprise, approval or disgust) that are required for social success.

  1. We don’t let others know how we do what we do. There is no rehearsal footage of us learning the skills that we show to others, and they only get to see the final result.
  2. We cultivate an ‘image’ by hiding the dirty work and projecting only the positive stuff.
  3. We don’t react to insults or show our negative side in public, preferring to deal with the problem behind the scenes.

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The social biome

Much like our gut microbiome - the diverse ecosystem of bacteria and other microbes in our gastrointestinal system that keeps us healthy when balance - so our social biome is the unique ecosystem of relationships and interactions that keep us emotionally, psychologically and physically healthy.

The term contains the pattern of social interactions throughout your life, the who, what you talk about, and how you communicate.



Clothing as part of our identity

Behavioral psychologist Dr. Carolyn Mair states that clothing is so close to us that it becomes part of our identity.

The clothes we wear shows how we want to be perceived, but how we are seen depends on the viewer.

Thinking like an actor

We can use performance techniques off stage to create a reality of our choosing.

Using acting techniques isn’t the same thing as manipulating people, or being phony or fake. Instead, it’s about communicating in a way that moves others to see your point of view and, at times, act in your favor. Essentially, this comes down to being intentional — with yourself and with others — about what you’re trying to achieve.

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