For this essay, you will apply Erving Goffman’s Presentation of the Self to the sitcom The Office.
You will need to watch Season 1, Episode 1 “The Pilot” of the Office prior to writing this essay. You can purchase it on Amazon, itunes, YouTube or watch it on Netflix (if you have a Netflix subscription).
Part One: Applying the Concepts to The Office
As you watch the video, jot notes to address the following questions. Try to identify as many specific examples as you can.
Apply the concepts from the readings on Goffman to The Office (Season 1: Episode 1 Pilot). Provide a definition of each concept that is italicized below and use detailed examples from the show to demonstrate you understand the course material. Consider and address the following questions in your response:
1. How does Michael Scott engage in impression management with his employees and the audience? How does Michael use frontstage behavior?
2. What seems to be the working consensus in the Office between employees?
3. How are Public Restrooms and backstage behavior similar to the “private” recordings in The Office (i.e. when they are talking to us, the audience)?
4. How does Michael perform defensive practices and face-work?
5. What practices do other people engage in to preserve Michael’s desired impression of himself (i.e. protective practices)? What sign vehicles do they use? What do you think his employees really think of him? Base your response on your observations of the signs “given” by employee and the signs “given off” by employees.
Part Two: Applying the Concepts to Your Life
Answer the following questions based on your observations of your life and the people around you. Demonstrate that you understand what Goffman’s concepts mean by explaining each of the reading concepts within your answers. Strive for the same level of specificity in your descriptions as we practiced in class while watching the Office.
Describe two distinct “parts” that you enact regularly. When do you enact them and who makes up your audiences? How do aspects of your “front” (such as setting, manner, and appearance) change with your performances within these routines?
*You must use the exact terms listed in your response paper. If you allude to the concept but do not use the term, you do not get any points. If you use the term but do not accurately define it (based on the definitions given in the readings and the PowerPoints), points will be deducted.
Formatting Guidelines: The response papers should be 3 pages, double-spaced, 12 point font with one-inch margins. Responses should be written in essay form with complete sentences and paragraphs. Points will be deducted if papers do not follow these guidelines.
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