From the moment we open our eyes until the momentwe go to bed, we go through multiple thought processes; ” what should I wear today?”Why is this man looking at me”? Allthese thoughts can be attribute back to presentation of self. Humans seek the validityof others, and how we are viewed. In addition to seeking validity, andattempting to present our self in the best manner possible, we also assessother individuals on the way they present them selves. Presentation of selftakes a major part in our lives, as we can learn from Geoffmans readings. Wherebyhe discuss ways we mask our selves and enact various roles. In an attempt toset ourselves in a favorable view to our general audience, that being society.
Goffmandissects in his writing the way we project our selves in presentation to othersand why we express our selves, forming several classic concepts that are wellrenowned in sociology today.Goffman theorizes that a person identity canfall under description he calls impression management. In other words a personsidentity is not entirely stable but more dependent on that factor of the circumstance.
I whole-heartedly agree with this concept. As it is concept that can beobserved off of many situations. For instance this is a situation I have seenmany times. The attitude of many bus drivers towards customers change based offa situation, such as being more aggressive at times to riders that seem meek orharmless, while being apprehensive in their attitude to those with an authoritativeor threatening air to them. In essencethe bus driver evaluates the person judging them by appearance, gender, andtheir general stature. In the film catch me if you can we can see somewhatsimilar biases of people evaluating the main character Abangale based off ofhis appearance.
Abangale through out thefilm exhibits impression management, by his competent communication causes thepeople around him to do as he wants with out realizing. As we can see Goffmanreferring to in his work (p.25)”Influence this definition by expressing himselfin such a way as to give them the kind of impression that will lead them to actvoluntarily in accordance with his own plan”. Knowingly or not knowingly when we expressourselves we do so in two forms.
In a term coined by Goffman as expressivebehavior that can be broken down in to, expression given and expression givenoff. Which can be translated in simpler terms as what we relay to our audience,and the way we relay it through our body language, and facial expressions,usually unintentionally done. In the film catch me if you can the lead Abangaleoften we can see uses this methodology.
But in a perplexed planned way, with anaim of deception. Through his boyish good looks and warm friendly demeanorwhile requesting his falsified checks, teller after teller given in to hisrequest with out second guessing him. The confidence in his stance and way ofrequesting what he wants, causes his audience the tellers to have no doubts inthe authenticity. All in all most successful scammers run their scams by usingthis concept.