Data Workshop: Impression Management in Action
Step 1: Observation
Choose two different situations that you will encounter this week in your everyday life and commit to observing yourself for thirty minutes as you participate in each.
Step 2: Field Notes
In an autoethnography, your own actions, thoughts, and feelings are the focus of the study. Write some informal notes so you can refer to them when you discuss your findings. Your notes can be casual in tone and lose in format, but as always, it’s a good idea to write them as soon as possible after your time in the field. That way, you capture more of the details you want to remember. Aim for at least one (or more)
Step 3: Analysis
After observing yourself in two situations, read through your fieldnotes and consider the following questions.
What type of “front” do you encounter when you enter each situation?
What role do you play and who is your “audience?”
How does the “region” or setting affect your presentation of self there?
Can you identify “backstage” and “frontstage” regions for each situation? Which of your activities are preparation and which are performance?
What type of “personal front” (appearance, manner, dress) do you bring to each situation?
How are your facial expressions, body language, and so forth (“expressions given off”) different in each situation?
How convincing are you at managing the impression you want to make on others in each of the two situations?
Who are you in each situation? Do you present a slightly different version of yourself in each? Why?
Do-It-Yourself
Use your field notes to write a three page essay applying Erving Goffman’s dramaturgical analysis to your observations. Use your notes created after your observation periods. Be as detailed as possible.