Goffman- Honest vs. Dishonest Performances

A Communication major writes, “In Erving Goffman’s book on “The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life,” he discusses the idea of honest and dishonest performances. According to him, when an audience is viewing an honest performance, they tend to think of it as something not purposefully put together, more of an unintentional product. On the other hand, when viewing a dishonest performance, the audience tends to think that everything was carefully pasted together in order to convey this type of behavior. I have never taken the time to think about this concept, but now, I completely agree with Goffman. The characteristics of honesty and sincerity come much more natural to a human than the opposite. When someone is being dishonest, it is like they are putting up a front. Goffman believe that studying dishonest performances are more beneficial because it makes us more aware of the difference between appearances and reality. He makes the statement that, “an honest, sincere, serious performance is less firmly connected with the solid world than one might first assume,” (pg. 71). Life itself is dramatic, therefore, a more dramatic and dishonest performance reenacts the world in which we live in. As for an example from my life, I find it much easier to put on dishonest performance because of the aggressive attitude I already encompass. While having a discussion with my father on the topic of me buying a new car, I get frustrated to the point where I put on a front, listen to what he has to say, and simply reply with what exactly he wants to hear instead of arguing my opinion.”

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