SOC124-Life is but a Stage: Goffman and Dramaturgy


“Life is a performance!” Have you ever heard that phrase? Well it’s super dramaturgical! Today we explore the work of Erving Goffman, a micro-sociologists who pioneered the notion that we have front stage and back stage performances (aka dramaturgy). Join us as we discuss what a performance is, the many roles we play, and what happens when your performance is perceived as fraudulent.


You can find the transcript for this episode here. BIG UPS to Elena Milusheva for helping us transcribe this episode!


dramaturgy, goffman, micro sociology


  1. Erving Goffman biography
  2. “The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life” by Erving Goffman
  3. Cool video intro into Goffman and Dramaturgy from BBC

Other books by Goffman

  1. Asylums
  2. Stigma
  3. Interaction Ritual
  4. Forms of Talk
  5. Erving Goffman’s daughter Alice Goffman’s book “On the Run”
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