Interactions at the Old Orchard Mall are mostly organized according to Goffman’s principles. I note different ideas that Goffman suggests from my observation of the discussion at the mall. The most apparent idea is that, through contact with others, individuals establish distinct identities. In the course of their interaction, such individuals with distinct identities also exchange information that allows for clear identity determination. A fitting thesis for my paper from this point on would be, “The interactions at the Old Orchard Mall prove Goffman’s idea that life is a never-ending play in which individuals are the actors.” Goffman suggested that when people are born, they are introduced onto a podium called everyday life and that their socialization is made of attempts to learn how to play their assigned roles (Goffman 18). At the Mall, various groups of people interact to play their role and create an identity different from the rest. For instance, the first interaction scene I notice at the Mall is of three girls gossiping. In the act of gossip, these girls create an identity that differentiates them from others. The similar dressing code by the girls also implies their identity from the rest of the children.
Another Goffman’s concept evident in the people’s interaction at the Mall is that people live in a society of meaningful objects. From this concept, people interact to establish the meaning of objects to other people (Goffman 16). For instance, one would not know whether something is harmful or good unless someone else makes an effort of explaining it. For instance, at the Mall, in an interaction between two middle-aged women, one of them advises the other against being worked up about Tony getting kicked out of wrestling practice.
Goffman, Erving. Behavior in public places. Simon and Schuster, 2008.