I visited a nearby church over the weekend to see how people act in social settings. I have chosen this venue because people from diverse backgrounds have come together, processes are followed according to the protocols and the code of conduct. I arrived in church earlier enough, so I did not want to miss some event that took place before that congregation arrived. The first people to come were members of the choir, and each person joined other who were already singing in the chair as soon as they entered the Church. The church soon became full; the assembly was calm and attentive. People spoke in low tones. In the church, some procedures were followed, for instance, during the songs session and prayer sessions the whole congregation was required to stand. At some points, the congregation had to comply with the instructions from the speakers, for instance, once they were asked to clap they would meet. The people were dressed decently and seemed to take care of themselves well.
Applying the Goffman’s dramaturgical perspective, we can analyze the way the people socialized. The front stage is one of the concepts that we can use to explain the social behavior (Gilmore & Marie, 2014). In front stage, people are expected to carry themselves in a way that best fits the social setting that they are in, in this case, the congregation presented itself in a godly manner. Throughout the church service, they were quiet, attentive, and they behaved well. The back stage is another concept that explains when people get back to their normal behavior. In this case, after the church service was over, the people felt relieved. People could be seen in groups and talking in high tones. The peace and tranquil that was in the church had gone. Importantly, it seemed like they were at the back stage and were done reading lines from a script and had their selves back.
Another concept is the actors in this social setting, the congregation was the actors. They are the people who behave differently at different stages, for instance, in the church, they behaved inversely and once the service was over, they put up a dissimilar behavior (Richter & Philip, 2015). Another concept is the setting, the scene where the actors perform. In this social setting, the setting is the church. The actors who are the congregation plays on the site, which is the church setting. Furthermore, impressions is another concept that can be used in the analysis of the way people socialize. The people once in the church create ideas of being holy and spiritual. They put their best behavior forward.
Moreover, this setting, which is religious, requires people to create a mental impression. Additionally, the audience is another concept that is used in the analysis. According to Goffman, the interactions of human beings are dependent on several things, which include place, time and audience. In this case, the audience is the people themselves, they have the sense of themselves and the place that they are in, and they have a sense of the time that particular events are taking place.
In conclusion, it is evident that people put up different behavior when in different settings. People live as actors, in this case, they put up a different behavior while they were in church. It looks like they are in atypical acting scene, there are different stages i.e. front stage and back stage. At the front stage, the people are in the stage acting from a scene. At the backstage people get back to their behaviors, for instance, after the church service is over the people get back to their behavior.
Gilmore, Dawn Marie. “Goffman’s front stage and backstage behaviors in online education.” Journal of Learning Analytics 1.3 (2014): 187-190.
Richter, Philip. “From Backstage to Front.” Seeing Religion: Toward a Visual Sociology of Religion 146 (2015): 103.
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