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  Compare and Contrast the concept of discipline provided by Foucault and the concept of front stage and backstage performances provided by Goffman 

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THE PRESENTATION OF SELF
1

IN

EVERYDAY LIFE

ERVING GOFFMAN

University of Edinburgh
Social Sciences Research Centre

Price : Ten Shillings

THE PRESENTATION OF SELF
IN

EVERYDAY LIFE

ERVING GOFFMAN

University o f Edinburgh
Social Sciences Research Centre
$9 George Square, Edinburgh S

Monograph No. 2

1956

o

M asks are a r re s te d e x p r e s s io n s and adm irable e c h o e s of
fee l ing , a t o n ce fa i th fu l , d i s c re e t , and s u p e r la t iv e . L iv in g
th in g s in c o n ta c t with the a ir must a c q u ir e a cu t ic le , and it i s
not u rged a g a in s t c u t i c l e s tha t they are not h e a r t s ; yet some
p h i lo s o p h e r s seem to be angry with im a g es for not being th ings ,
and with words for not being f ee l in g s . Words and im ages are
l ik e s h e l l s , no l e s s in teg ra l p a r t s o f na tu re than are the sub
s t a n c e s they cover , but be t te r a d d re s se d to the eye and more
open to o b se rv a t io n . I would not say th a t s u b s ta n c e e x i s t s for
the s a k e of a p p e a ran c e , or f a c e s for the s a k e of m asks, or the
p a s s io n s for the s a k e of poetry and vir tue . Nothing a r i s e s in
n a tu re for the s a k e o f any th ing e l s e ; a l l th e s e p h a s e s and
p ro d u c ts are involved eq u a l ly in the round of e x i s t e n c e ………….

George S an tayana 1

1 S o lilo q u ie s in E n g land and L a te r S o lilo q u ie s (N ew Y o rk : S c r ib n e rs ,
1922), pp. 131-132.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

T h e repor t p re se n te d here w a s deve loped in connect ion with
a study of in te rac t io n un d er ta k en for the Department of Social
A nthropology and th e Socia l S c ie n c e s R e sea rch Committee of
the U n ivers i ty of Edinburgh and a s tudy of so c ia l s t ra t i f ica t io n
su p p o r ted by a F ord F o u n d a tio n grant d irec ted by P ro f e s s o r
E. A. S h i ls a t the U n ivers i ty o f C h icago . I am grateful to th e s e
s o u r c e s of g u id a n c e and support. I would l ik e to e x p re s s
th a n k s to my t e a c h e r s C. W. M .H art , W. L. Warner, and E. C.
H ughes . [ want, too, to thank E l iz a b e th Bott, J a m e s L i t t le jo h n ,
and Edward B anfie ld , who he lped me at the beginning of the
study, and fe l lo w -s tu d e n ts o f o c c u p a t io n s a t the U niversi ty o f
C hicago who he lped me la te r . Without the co l lab o ra t io n of my
wife, A ngelica S. Goffman, th i s report would not have been
written.

PREFA CE

1 mean th i s report to s e rv e a s a sort of handbook de ta i l in g
one so c io lo g ic a l p e r s p e c t iv e from which soc ia l l i fe can be
s tu d ied , e s p e c ia l l y th e kind of s o c ia l l i fe tha r i s o rgan ised
w ith in th e p h y s ic a l co n f ines of a build ing or p lant. A se t of
f e a tu re s will be d esc r ib ed which toge ther form a framework th a t
can be ap p l ied to any conc re te soc ia l e s tab l ish m e n t , be it
dom estic , in d u s t r ia l , or commercial.

T h e p e r s p e c t iv e employed in th i s report i s tha t of the th e a t
rical perform ance ; the p r in c ip le s derived are dramaturgical
ones . I sh a l l co n s id e r the way in which the individual in ordin
ary work s i t u a t io n s p r e s e n ts h im self and h is ac t iv i ty to o thers ,
the w ays in which he gu ides and co n tro ls the im press ion they
form of him, and the k in d s of th in g s he may and may not do
while su s ta in in g h is perform ance before them. In using th i s
model I will a t tem pt not to make l ight of i t s obv ious inadequa
c ies . T h e s ta g e p r e s e n t s th in g s tha t are m ake-believe ; presum
ably life p r e s e n t s th in g s th a t are rea l and som e tim es not well
rehearsed . More important, pe rhaps , on the s ta g e one p layer
» re s e n ts h im self in the gu ise of a c h a ^ .c te r to c h a ra c te r s pro
je c te d by o ther p la y e r s ; the a u d ien c e c o n s t i tu t e s a th ird party
to th e in te ra c t io n —one that i s e s s e n t i a l and yet, if th e s ta g e
perform ance were rea l, one tha t would not be there . In rea l life ,
the th ree p a r t i e s are com pressed into tw o ; the part o n e indi
v idual p la y s i s ta i lo red to the p ar ts p layed by the o th e rs pre
s e n t , and yet th e se o the rs a l so c o n s t i tu te th e au d ien c e . Still
o ther in a d e q u a c ie s in th i s model will be co n s id e red la ter.

T h e i l lu s t r a t iv e m ater ia ls used in th is s tudy are of mixed
s t a tu s : some are taken from re sp e c ta b le r e s e a r c h e s where qual
if ied g e n e ra l i s a t io n s are given concern ing re l iab ly recorded
r e g u la r i t ie s ; some are taken from informal memoirs written by
colourful p e o p le ; many fall in between. The ju s t i f ica t io n for
th i s approach ( a s I ta k e to be the ju s t i f ica t io n for Simmei’ s
also) i s tha t the i l lu s t r a t io n s together fit into a coherent frame
work that t i e s toge ther b i ts of exper ience the reader h a s a lready
had and p rov ides the s tuden t with a guide worth te s t in g in c a s e –
s tu d i e s ’of in s t i tu t iona l so c ia l life.

The framework i s p resen ted in log ical s te p s . T he intro
duction i s n e c e s s a r i lv a b s t ra c t and may be skipped.

T A B L E OF C O N T EK T S

PA G E

A c k n o w le d g e m e n ts

P r e f a c e

‘N T R O D U C T IO N ……………………………………………………………………. 1

C H A P .

i P E R F O R M A N C E S …………………………………………………… 10

II TEAM S ……………………………………………………………………. 47

i l l R E G IO N S AND R EG IO N BEH A V IO U R . . . 66

iV D I S C R E P A N T R O L E S ………………………………….. 87

V COMMUNICATION OUT O F C H A R A C T E R . . . 107

VI T H E A R TS O F IM PRESSION M A N A G EM EN T . . . 132

VII CO N C LU SIO N …………………………………………………… 152

INTRODUCTION

When an ind iv idual e n te r s th e p r e s e n c e of o th e rs , they
commonly s e e k to a c q u i re information abou t him or to bring in to
p la y information abou t him a l re a d y p o s s e s s e d . T hey w ill be
in te r e s te d in h is gene ra l so c io -e co n o m ic s t a tu s , h is con c ep t io n
of s e l f , h i s a t t i tu d e toward them, h is com petence , h i s tru s t
w o rth in ess , e tc . Although som e of th is inform ation s e e m s to be
sough t a lm ost a s an end in i t s e l f , there a re u su a l ly qu ite p rac
t i c a l r e a s o n s for acq u ir in g it. Information abou t the ind iv idual
h e lp s to def ine the s i tu a t io n , en a b l in g o the rs to know in ad
v an c e what he w ill ex p e c t of them and w hat they may ex p e c t of
him. Informed in th e s e w ays , the o th e rs will know how b es t to
a c t in o rder to c a l l forth a d es ire d r e s p o n s e from him.

F o r t h o s e p re se n t , many s o u rc e s of inform ation become
a c c e s s ib l e and many c a r r ie r s (or ‘ s i g n – v e h i c l e s ’) become a v a i l
a b le for convey ing th i s information. If u n ac q u a in ted with the
ind iv idual , o b s e rv e rs can g le an c lu e s from h is conduc t and
a p p e a ran c e which a l low them to apply the ir p rev io u s ex p e r ie n c e
with in d iv id u a ls roughly s im ila r to the one before them or, more
important, to app ly u n te s te d s te re o ty p e s to him. T h ey can a l so
a s su m e from p a s t ex p e r ien c e tha t only in d iv id u a ls o f a p a r t ic
u lar kind a re l ik e ly to be found in a g iven so c ia l se t t ing . They
c a n re ly on w hat the ind iv idual s a y s about h im se lf or on doc
um entary e v id e n c e he p rov ides a s to who and what he i s . If
ttiey know, or know of, the ind iv idual by v ir tue of e x p e r ien c e
prior to th e in te rac t io n , they c a n re ly on a s su m p t io n s a s to the
p e r s i s t e n c e and g en e ra l i ty o f p sy ch o lo g ica l t r a i t s a s a m eans
of p red ic t in g h is p r e s e n t and future behaviour.

How ever, during the per iod in which the ind iv idual i s in the
im m ed ia te p r e s e n c e of th e o the rs , few e v e n ts may o ccu r which
d i re c t ly prov ide the o th e rs with the c o n c lu s iv e in fonnat ion they
will need if th e y are to d i r e c t w ise ly the ir own ac t iv i ty . Many
c ru c ia l f a c ts l i e beyond the time and p la c e of in te rac t io n or l i e
c o n c e a le d within it. For- exam ple , the ‘ t r u e ’ o r ’ r e a l ’ a t t i
tu d e s , be l ie fs , and em otions of the ind iv idual can be a s c e r t
a ined on ly in d ire c t ly , through h is av o w a ls or through what

1

a p p e a r s to be involuntary e x p re s s iv e behaviour. Similarly,
i f the ind iv idual o f fe rs th e o th e rs a p roduct or se rv ic e , they will
o f ten find th a t during the in te rac t io n the re will be no time and
p la c e im m edia te ly a v a i la b le for e a t in g the pudding th a t the
proof can be found in. T h ey will b e forced to a c c e p t som e
e v e n ts a s conven tiona l or natura l s ig n s of som eth ing not d i re c t
ly a v a i la b le to the s e n s e s . In Ic h h e ise r ’ s t e r m s 1, th e indi
vidual will have to ac t so th a t he in ten t io n a l ly or un in ten tion
a l ly expresses h im self , and the o th e rs will in turn h a v e to be
impressed in som e way by him.

We find, then , tha t when the individual i s in th e im m edia te
p re se n c e o f o thers , h is a c t iv i ty will have a p rom issory ch a r
ac te r . T h e o th e rs a re l ik e ly to find tha t they m ust a c c e p t the
ind iv idual on fa i th , offering him a just return w hile he i s pre
s e n t before them in exc h an g e for som eth ing w hose true va lue
will not be e s ta b l i s h e d until af ter he h a s left the ir p re se n c e .
(Of co u rse , the o th e rs a l so l ive by in fe ren c e in the ir d e a l in g s
with the p h y s ic a l world, but it i s only in the world of so c ia l
in te rac t ion tha t the o b je c t s about which they make in fe re n c e s
will pu rp o se ly f a c i l i t a t e and hinder th is in fe ren t ia l p ro c e s s .)
T h e s e c u r i ty th a t they ju s t i f ia b ly feel in making in fe re n c e s
about the ind iv idua l will vary, of co u rse , depend ing on such
f a c to rs a s the amount of p rev ious information they p o s s e s s
abou t him, but no amount of su c h p a s t ev id en c e c a n en t ire ly
o b v ia te the n e c e s s i t y of ac ting on the b a s i s o f in fe ren c es .

L e t u s now turn from th e o th e rs to the po in t of v iew of the
ind iv idual who p re s e n ts h im se lf before them. He may w ish them
to th ink highly of him, or to think tha t he th in k s h ighly of them,
or to p e rc e iv e how in fac t he fee ls toward them, or to o b ta in no
c lea r-cu t im p re s s io n ; he may wish to ensu re su f f ic ie n t harmony
so tha t the in te rac t io n c a n be su s ta in e d , or to defraud, get rid
of, co n fu se , m is lead , an tag o n iz e , or insu l t them. R e g a rd le s s o f
the pa r t icu la r o b je c t iv e which the individual h a s in mind and of
h i s motive for hav ing th i s o b je c t iv e , it will be in h is in te r e s t s
to contro l the conduc t of the o the rs , e s p e c ia l ly their r e s p o n s iv e
t rea tm en t of him. 2 T h is control is ach ieved la rge ly by influ
enc ing th e def in i t ion of the s i tu a t io n which the o the rs come to
formulate , and he can in f luence th is def in i t ion by ex p re s s in g
h im self in such a way a s to g ive them the kind of im press ion

‘ G u s t a v Ic h e ise r , ‘ M isunders tand ings in Human R e la t i o n s ‘ , Supplement
to T h e A m erica n Journa l o f S o c io lo g y , LV, (September, 1949) pp . 6-7.

a i ! e re 1 owe much to an unpubl ished paper by Tom Burns of th e U nivers i ty of
Edinburgh, where the argument i s p re s e n te d rhat in a l l in te rac t ion a b a s ic
under ly ing theme i s the d e s i re of e a c h p a r t i c ip a n t to gu ide and contro l the
r e sp o n s e made by the o th e r s p re s e n t .

2

th a t will le a d them to a c t vo lun ta r i ly in ac co rd an c e with h i s
own plan . T hus , when an in d iv idua l a p p e a r s in the p re se n c e of
o th e rs , the re will u su a l ly be som e re a so n for him to m obil ize
h i s a c t iv i ty s o tha t i t will co n v e y a n im p re ss io n to o th e rs which
i t i s in h is in te r e s t s to convey.

I h ave s a id tha t when an ind iv idual a p p e a rs before o th e rs
h is a c t io n s will in f luence the de f in i t ion of the s i tu a t io n which
they com e to have . Som etim es the ind iv idual will a c t in a
thoroughly c a lc u la t in g manner, e x p re s s in g h im se lf in a given
way so le ly in order to give the kind of im press ion to o th e rs th a t
i s l ike ly to evoke from them a s p e c i f ic re sp o n se he is co n cern
ed to ob ta in . Sometimes the ind iv idual w ill be c a lc u la t in g in
h i s a c t iv i ty but be re la t iv e ly unaw are th a t th is is the c a s e .
Sometimes he will in te n t io n a l ly and c o n s c io u s ly e x p r e s s him
se l f in a pa r t icu la r way, but ch ie f ly b e c a u s e the trad i t ion of h is
group or so c ia l s t a tu s requ ire th is kind of e x p re ss io n and not
b e c a u s e o f any p a r t icu la r r e s p o n s e (o ther than vague a c c e p t
an c e or approval) tha t i s l ik e ly to be evoked from those im
p r e s s e d by th e ex p re ss io n . Sometimes the t rad i t io n s of an
ind iv idua l’s ro le will le a d him to g ive a w e ll-des igned im press
ion of a p a r t ic u la r kind and yet he may be ne i the r c o n s c io u s ly
nor u n co n sc io u s ly d isp o s e d to c r e a te such an im pression. T he
o th e rs , in th e ir turn, may be su i tab ly im pressed by the ind iv id
u a l ’s effo rts to convey som eth ing , or may s c e p t i c a l ly examine
a s p e c t s of h i s a c t iv i ty of whose s ig n i f ic a n c e he i s not aware ,
o r may m isunders tand the s i tu a t io n and come to c o n c lu s io n s
th a t are w arranted ne i ther by the in d iv id u a l’s in ten t nor by the
fac ts . In any c a s e , in s o far a s the o th e rs ac t as i f the ind iv id
ual had conveyed a p a r t ic u la r im press ion , we may take a funct
ional or p ragm atic view and sa y th a t the ind iv idual has ’ e f fe c t
i v e l y ’ p ro jec ted a g iven def in i t ion of the s i tu a t io n and ‘ e f f e c t
i v e l y ’ fo s te red the un d ers ta n d in g tha t a g iven s t a te o f a f fa irs
o b ta in s .

When we a llow tha t th e ind iv idual p r o je c ts a def in i t ion of
the s i tu a t io n when he a p p e a r s before o thers , we must a l so se e
chat the o th e rs , however p a s s iv e their ro le may seem to be, will
th e m se lv e s e f fec t iv e ly p ro jec t a def in i t ion of the s i tu a t io n by
v ir tue of the ir r e sp o n se to th e ind iv idual and by vir tue of any
l in e s of ac t ion they in i t ia t e to him. Ordinarily we find th a t the
d e f in i t io n s of the s i tu a t io n p ro jec ted by the severa l d ifferent
p a r t i c ip a n ts are su f f ic ie n t ly a t tuned to one ano ther so th a t open
c o n t ra d ic t io n will not occur. I do not mean th a t there will be
the kind of c o n s e n s u s th a t a r i s e s when ea c h ind iv idual p re se n t
cand id ly e x p r e s s e s what he re a l ly fe e ls and h ones t ly a g re e s

3

with the e x p re s se d f e e l in g s of the o th e rs p re se n t . T h is kind of
harmony i s an o p t im is t ic id e a l and in any c a s e not n e c e s s a r y
for the smooth working of so c ie ty . Rather, ea ch p a r t ic ip a n t i s
e x p e c ted to su p p re s s h i s im m edia te h e a r t fe l t f e e l in g s , convey
ing a view of the s i tu a t io n which he f e e ls the o th e rs will be
ab le to find a t l e a s t tem porarily a c c e p ta b le . T he m a in te n an c e
o f th i s su r face of agreem ent, th is veneer of c o n s e n s u s , i s
f a c i l i t a te d by ea ch p a r t ic ip a n t co n c e a l in g h is own w an ts behind
s ta te m e n ts which a s s e r t v a lu e s to which everyone p r e s e n t is
l ik e ly to g ive l ip – se rv ic e . Further, th e re i s usua lly a k ind of
d iv is ion of def in i t iona l labour. Each p a r t ic ip a n t i s a l lo w ed to
e s ta b l i s h the te n ta t iv e o f f ic ia l ru ling rega rd ing m a tte rs which
are v ita l to him bat not im m edia te ly important to o thers , e .g . ,
the r a t io n a l iz a t io n s and ju s t i f i c a t io n s by which he a c c o u n ts for
h i s p a s t a c t iv i ty ; in exc h an g e for th i s co u r te sy h e rem a ins
s i l e n t or non-committal on m a tte rs important to o th e rs but not
im m edia te ly important to him. We have then a kind of in te r
ac t io n a l modus vivendi. T oge ther th e p a r t ic ip a n ts co n tr ib u te to
a s in g le overa ll de f in i t ion of the s i tu a t io n which in v o lv e s not
s o much a rea l agreem ent a s to what e x i s t s but ra th e r a rea l
agreem ent a s to whose c la im s concern ing what i s s u e s will be
temporarily honoured. R eal agreem ent will a l so e x i s t c o n c e m –
the d e s i ra b i l i ty o f avoid ing an open co n f l ic t o f d e f in i t io n s of
the s i tu a t io n . 1 L e t us refer to th is le v e l of agreem ent a s a
‘w o rk in g c o n s e n s u s ’. It i s to be unders tood th a t th e working
c o n s e n s u s e s ta b l i s h e d in o n e in te rac t io n s e t t in g will be q u i te
d if fe ren t in c o n ten t from the working c o n s e n s u s e s t a b l i s h e d in a
d ifferent type of se t t in g . T h u s , between two fr iends a t lunch , a
rec ip roca l show of a ffec tion , r e s p e c t , and concern for th e o ther
i s m ain ta ined . In s e rv ic e o c c u p a t io n s , on th e o ther hand, the
s p e c ia l i s t o f ten m a in ta in s an im age of d i s in te r e s te d invo lve –
ment in the problem of th e c l ie n t , while th e c l ie n t re sp o n d s with
a show of r e sp e c t for the co m p e te n ce and in teg r ity of th e s p e c
i a l i s t . R e g a rd le s s of such d i f fe re n c e s in con ten t , however, th e
general form of t h e s e working a r rangem ents i s the same.

In noting the tendency for a p a r t ic ip a n t to a c c e p t the d e f in
i t io n a l c la im s m ade by th e o th e rs p re se n t , we c a n a p p re c ia te
the c ruc ia l im portance of th e -information th a t the ind iv idual
initially p o s s e s s e s or a c q u i r e s concern ing h is fellow p a r t i c i

1 An in te rac t ion can be pu rpose ly s e t up a s a t ime and p l a c e for vo ic in g
d i f f e r e n c e s in op in ion , but in su c h c a s e s p a r t i c ip a n t s must be c a re fu l to
agree not to d i s a g re e on the proper tone o f v o icc , vocabulary , and d e g re e of
s e r i o u s n e s s in w hich a l l a rgum en ts a re to be p h rased , and upon the mutual
r e s p e c t w hich d i s a g re e in g p a r t i c ip a n t s m ust ca re fu l ly con t in u e to e x p r e s s
tow ard one ano ther . T h is d e b a t e r s ‘ or a c a d e m ic def in i t ion of the s i tu a t io n
may a l s o be sudde n ly and jud ic io u s ly invoked a s a way of t r a n s la t in g a
s e r io u s co n f l ic t of v ie w s into one that can be h a n d led w ith in a framework
a c c e p ta b le to a l l p re s e n t .

4

p a n t s , for i t i s on the b a s i s o f th i s in i t ia l information tha t th e
in d iv id u a l s t a r t s to def ine th e s i tu a t io n and s t a r t s to build up
l i n e s o f r e s p o n s iv e a c t io n . T h e in d iv id u a l ’s in it ia l p ro jec tion
com m its him to w hat he i s p ro p o s in g to be an d r e q u i r e s him to
drop a l l p r e te n c e s of be ing o the r th in g s . ■ As th e in te rac t io n
among the p a r t i c ip a n t s p r o g re s s e s , a d d i t io n s and m o d if ic a t io n s
in t h i s in i t ia l in form ational s t a t e will of c o u r s e occur, -but i t i s
e s s e n t i a l tha t t h e s e la te r d ev e lo p m e n ts be r e la te d withouc co n
t ra d ic t io n to, and even built up from, th e in i t ia l p o s i t io n s ta k e n
by th e se v e ra l p a r t i c ip a n ts . It would seem tha t an ind iv idual
can more e a s i l y m ake a c h o ic e a s to what l in e of trea tm en t to
demand from and ex tend to the o th e rs p re se n t a t the beg inning
o f an enc o u n te r than h e can a l te r th e l in e of t rea tm en t th a t i s
being p u rsued o n ce th e in te ra c t io n i s underway.

In everyday life , of c o u rse , th e re i s a c l e a r u n d ers tand ing
th a t f irs t im p re s s io n s a re important. T h u s , th e work a d ju s tm e n t
o f th o s e in s e rv ic e o c c u p a t io n s will o ften h inge upon a c a p a c i ty
to s e i z e and hold th e in i t i a t iv e in th e s e rv ic e re la t ion , a ca p
a c i ty th a t will requ ire s u b t l e a g g r e s s iv e n e s s on the part of th e
s e rv e r when he i s of low er so c io -e co n o m ic s t a t u s than h is
c l ien t . W. F. Whyte s u g g e s t s the w a i t r e s s a s an ex a m p le :

T h e f irsc p o in t th a t s t a n d s o u t i s tha t the w a i t r e s s who b e a r s up
under p r e s s u re d o e s n o t s im ply re spond ro her c u s to m e rs . She a c t s with
som e s k i l l to contro l th e i r behav iou r . ] The f i rs t q u e s t io n to ask when
we look a t th e c u s to m e r r e l a t i o n s h ip i s , “ D o es th e w a i t r e s s g e t the jump
on th e c u s to m e r , or d o e s the cu s to m e r g e t th e jump on th e w a i t r e s s ? ‘ 1
T h e s k i l l e d w a i t r e s s r e a l i z e s the c ru c ia l n a tu re o f t h i s q u e s t io n . . . .

T h e s k i l l e d w a i t r e s s t a c k l e s the cu s to m e r with c o n f id en ce and
w ithou t h e s i t a t i o n . For ex am p le , sh e may find tha t a new c u s to m e r h a s
s e a t e d h im se l f before s h e c o u ld c l e a r off the dirty d i s h e s and chan g e rhe
c lo th . He i s now le a n in g on th e t a b l e s tudy ing th e menu. She g re e t s
him, s a y s , “ May I c h a n g e the cover , p l e a s e and, w ithou t w ait ing for
an a n s w e r , t a k e s h is m enu aw ay from him so tha t he m oves back from the
ta b l e , and s h e goes a b o u t her work. T h e r e l a t i o n s h ip , i s han d led po li te ly
but firmly, an d th e re i s n ev e r any q u e s t io n a s to who i s in ch a rg e . 1

When th e in te ra c t io n tha t i s in i t i a t e d by ” f i r s t im p r e s s io n s ”
i s i t s e l f m ere ly t h e in i t ia l in te ra c t io n in an ex tended s e r i e s o f
in t e r a c t io n s involv ing th e sa m e p a r t i c ip a n ts , we speak of

‘ ‘g e t t in g off on th e right f o o t” and feel tha t it i s cruc ia l tha t we
do so . T h u s , one l e a r n s th a t som e t e a c h e r s ta k e th e following
v i e w :

You c a n ‘ t e v e r ler them get th e upper hand on you or y o u ‘r e through.
So I s t a r t ou t tough. T h e f i r s t day I ge t a new c l a s s in, I l e t them
know w h o ’s b o s s . . . . You’ve got to s t a r t oil tough, th e n y o u can e a s e
up a s you go a lo n g . If you s t a r t out eas y -g o in g , w hen you t ry to ge t
tough, th e y ’ll ju s t look a t you and l a u g h . 2

1 W. F . Whyte, 11 When Workers and C u s to m e rs M e e t ,” Chap . VII, In d u stry
am i S o c ie ty , e d . W . F . Whyte (New Y o rk : McGraw-Hill, 1946), pp. 132-133-

? T e a c h e r in te rv iew quoted by Howard S. Becker, ” S o c i a l C l a s s V a r ia t io n s
in rhe T e a c h e r -P u p i l R e la t i o n s h i p , ” Journal o f E d u c a tio n a l S o c io lo g y ,
XXV, 459.

5

Similarly, a t te n d a n ts ih mental in s t i tu t io n s may feel th a t i f th e
new p a t ie n t i s sharp ly put in h is p la c e the f irs t day on the ward
and made to s e e who i s b o s s , much future d ifficu lty will be
preven ted . 1

Given th e fac t th a t the individual e ffec tive ly p r o je c ts a
defin ition o f th e s i tua t ion when he e n te r s the p r e s e n c e of
o th e rs , we can a s su m e tha t ev e n ts may o ccu r within the in ter
a c t io n which con tra d ic t , d isc red it , o r o th e rw ise throw doubt
upon th i s p ro jec tion . When th e s e d is rup t ive e v e n ts occur, the
in te rac t io n i t s e l f may come to a confused and em barrassed halt .
Some of th e as su m p tio n s upon which the re sp o n se s of the par
t i c ip a n t s had been p red ic a te d become un tenable , and the par
t i c ip a n t s find th e m se lv e s lodged in a n in te rac t io n for which the
s i tu a t io n h a s been wrongly defined and i s now no longer de
f ined. At such moments the ind iv idual w hose p re se n ta t io n h a s
been d isc re d i te d may feel asham ed while the o th e rs p re se n t may
fee l h o s t i le , and all the p a r t ic ip a n ts may com e to feel ill a t
e a s e , n o np lussed , our of coun tenance , em barrassed , exper ienc
ing the kind of anom ie th a t i s generated when the minute social
sy s tem o f face – to -face in te rac t ion b rea k s down.

In s t r e s s in g th e fact tha t the in i t ia l defin ition of the s i t
u a t ion p ro jec ted by an individual te n d s to provide a p lan for the
co -opera tive a c t iv i ty tha t fo l low s—in s t r e s s in g th is a c t io n point
o f v ie w —we must not overlook the c ruc ia l fac t tha t any pro
j e c te d def in i t ion of the s i tu a t io n a l so h a s a d is t in c t iv e moral
c h a rac te r . It i s th is moral ch a rac te r of p ro jec t io n s th a t will
ch ie f ly concern u s in th i s report. Socie ty is o rganized on the
p r inc ip le tha t any ind iv idual who p o s s e s s e s ce r ta in so c ia l
c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s has a moral right to ex p e c t tha t o th e rs will
va lue and trea t him in a correspondingly appropria te way.
C onnected with th i s p r inc ip le i s a second , namely th a t an indi
v idual who im plic i t ly .o r e x p l ic i t ly s ig n i f ie s tha t he has ce r ta in
s o c ia l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s ought to have th is claim honoured by
o th e rs and ought in fac t to be what h e c la im s he is . In con
se q u e n c e , when an individual p r o je c ts a def in i t ion of the s i t
uat ion and thereby m akes an implicit or exp l ic i t claim to be a
p e rso n of a p a r t icu la r kind, he au tom atica lly e x e r ts a moral
demand upon the o thers , ob lig ing them to va lue and t rea t him in
th e manner tha t p e rso n s of h i s kind h ave a right to expect . He
a lso im p lic i t ly forgoes all c la im s to be th in g s he d o es not
appear to b e 2 and hence forgoes the treatment tha t would be

1 Harold T a x e l , ‘A uthor i ty S tructure in a Mental H osp ita l Ward’, Unpublished
M aste r ’s t h e s i s , D epartment o f Sociology, U niversi ty of C h icago , 1953-

2 T h ia ro le o f the w i tn e s s in l im iting what i t i s the ind iv idua l can be h a s
be e n s t r e s s e d by E x is t e n t i a l i s t s , who s e e ic a s a bas ic th rea t ro indiv idual
freedom. See Je a n -P a u l Sartre ; L ’e tre e t le nean t ( P a r i s : Gallimard, 1948),
p. 319 ff.

6

appropr ia te for such in d iv id u a ls TKv. o th e rs find, then , ch i t the
ind iv idua l h a s informed them a s to whac i s and a s to what ^hey
ought to s e e a s th e ‘ i s ’.

We ca n n o t judge the im portance of def in i t iona l d is ru p t io n s
by the fre<|'iency with which they occur, for apparen tly they n-rmld occur more frequently were noc c o n s ta n t p re c a u t io n s taken. We find th a t p reven tive p r a c t i c e s a re c o n s ta n t ly em ployed to u.void t h e s e em b ar ra ssm e n ts and tha t co r rec t iv e p rac t i c e s are c o n s ta n t ly em ployed to c o m p e n sa te for d is c re d i t in g o c c u r re n c e s tha t h ave not been s u c c e s s fu l ly avoided. When the ind iv idual em ploys th e s e s t r a t e g i e s and t a c t i c s to p ro tec t h i s own p ro jec t io n s , we may refer to them a s 'd e f e n s i v e p rac t i c e s ’ ; when a p a r t i c ip a n t em ploys them to s a v e the de f in i t ion of the s i tu a t io n p ro je c te d by another , we s p e a k of 'p r o te c t iv e p r a c t i c e s ’ o r ' t a c t ’. T o g e th e r , ’d e fe n s iv e and p ro tec t iv e p rac t i c e s com prise the te c h n iq u e s employed to sa feguard the im p re s s io n fo s te re d by an ind iv idual during h is p r e s e n c e before o thers . It shou ld be added th a t while we are p e rh a p s ready to s e e tha t no fo s te re d im p re ss io n would su rv iv e if d e fe n s iv e p ra c t ic e s were not em ployed, we are p e rh a p s l e s s ready to s e e tha t few im p re s s io n s could su rv ive i f th o se who rece ived the im p re ss io n did no t exer t t a c t in th e ir recep tion of it. In addi t ion to the fac t tha t p rec au t io n s are ta k e n to prevent d isrup tion of p ro jec ted def in i t io n s , we may a l s o no te tha t an in te n s e in te re s t in th e s e d is ru p t io n s com es to p la y a s ig n i f i c a n t role in th e so c ia l l i fe of the group. P ra c t i c a l jo k e s and s o c ia l gam es are p la y ed in which em b arra ssm e n ts which are to be taken u n se r io u s ly a re purpose ly eng inee red . 1 P h a n ta s i e s a re c re a te d in which d e v a s ta t in g e x p o su re s occur . A nec d o te s from the p a s t —real, em broidered, or f ic t i t io u s —are to ld and re to ld , de ta i l in g d is ru p t io n s which occurred , a lm ost occurred , o r occurred and were adm irably reso lved . T here s e e m s to be no grouping which d o es not have a ready supply of th e s e games, rev e r ie s , and cau t iona ry ta le s , to be u sed a s a so u rc e of hum our, a c a th a r s i s for a n x ie t i e s , and a s a n c t io n for induc ing in d i v idua ls to be m odest in the ir c la im s and r e a so n a b le in the ir p ro jec ted e x p e c ta t io n s . T h e individual m a y te ll h im self through dream s of ge t t ing in to im p o ss ib le p o s i t io n s . F a m il ie s te ll of the tim e a g u e s t got h i s d a t e s mixed and arr ived when n e i th e r the house nor anyone in it w as ready for him. J o u r n a l i s t s te ll of t im es when an a l l- too-m eaningful misprin t occurred , and the p a p e r ’s as sum ption of o b je c t iv i ty or decorum w as humorously d isc re d i te d . P u b l ic S ervan ts te l l of tim es a c l ie n t r id icu lous ly 1 E rving Goffmin, 'C om m unica tion C onduc t in an I s l a n d C om m unity ’ (Un p u b l ish e d P h .D . d i s s e r ta t io n , Department of Socio logy , U niversi ty of C h ica g o , 1953), pp. 319-327. 7 m is-understood form in s t ru c t io n s , g iving an sw e rs which implied ;m unan t ic ip a te d and b iza r re def in i t ion of th e s i tu a t io n . 1 Sea men, whose home away from home i s r igorously he-man, te l l s to r ie s of coming back home and inadvertently ask in g mother to " p a s s the f-cking b u t t e r ” . 2 Diplom ats te ll of the time a nea r s ig h ted Queen a s k e d a repub lican am b assad o r about the hea lth of h i s King. 3 To sum m arize , then , I a s su m e that when an individual a p p e a r s before o th e rs he will have many m otives for trying to control th e im press ion they rece ive of the s i tua tion . T h is report i s co n cerned with some of the common te ch n iq u e s tha t in te r a c t a n ts employ to s u s ta in such im press ions and with som e of the common c o n t in g e n c ie s a s s o c ia te d with the employment of th e s e tech n iq u e s . T he sp e c if ic con ten t of any ac t iv i ty p re s e n t ed by th e ind iv idual p a r t ic ip a n t , o r the role it p l. \ys in the in te rdependen t a c t iv i t i e s of an on-going soc ia l sy s tem , will not be at i s s u e ; I sh a l l be concerned only with the p a r t i c ip a n t ’s dramaturgical p rob lem s of p re se n t in g the ac tiv i ty before o thers . T h e i s s u e s dea l t with by s ta g e -c ra f t and s tage-m anagem ent are som etim es tr iv ia l but they a re quite g en e ra l ; they seem to occur everywhere in soc ia l life , providing a c lea r-cu t d imension for formal so c io lo g ic a l a n a ly s i s . I t will be conven ien t to end th i s in troduction with some d e f in i t io n s th a t a re implied in whac has gone before an.) re quired for what i s to follow. For th e purpose of th is report, in te rac t io n ( tha t .is , f ace - to -face in te ract ion) may be roughly •Jctined a s the rec ip roca l in f luence of in d iv id u a ls upon one an o th e r ’s a c t io n s when in one an o th e r’s imm ediate ph y s ic a l p re se n ce . An in te rac t ion may be defined a s all the in te rac t ion which o cc u rs throughout any one o c c as io n when a given se t of in d iv id u a ls are in one an o th e r’s con t inuous p r e s e n c e ; the term ' a n e n c o u n te r ’ would do a s well. A ‘ p e r fo rm ance’ may be defined a s all the ac t iv i ty of a given part ic ipan t on a given oc c a s io n which s e rv e s to in f luence in any way any of the o ther p a r t ic ip a n ts . T aking a p a r t ic u la r pa r t ic ipan t and h is perform an c e a s a b a s ic point of re ference , we may refer ro th o se who con tr ibu te th e o ther perfo rm ances a s the aud ience , o b se rv e rs , or co -pa r t ic ipan ts . The p re -e s tab l ish ed pat tern of ac tion which i s unfolded during a perform ance and which may be p re se n ted or 1 P e te r li lau , ' D ynam ics of Bureaucracy ' (Ph .D . d i s s e r t a t io n . Department of Sociology, Colum bia U niversi ty , forthcoming, Universi ty of Ch icago P t c s s ) , pp. 127-129. 2 ^’n l te r M. b e a t t i e , J r . , ' T h e Merchant S e a m a n ' (Unpubl ished M.A. Report , Department of Sociology, Universi ty of Cliic.iRo, 1950), |>. 35.

3 Sir l- ‘redcrick Ponsonby , R e c o lle c tio n s o f Three R e ie n s (New York:
Dutton, 1952), p. 46.

8

p layed through on o ther o c c a s io n s may be c a l le d a ‘ p a r t ’ or
‘ r o u t in e ’. 1 T h e s e s i tua t iona l term s can e a s i ly be r e la te d to
conven tiona l s truc tu ra l o n e s . When an individual or performer
p la y s the sam e part to th e s a m e au d ien c e on diffe rent o c c a s
ions , -a so c ia l r e la t io n sh ip i s l ik e ly to a r ise . Defining so c ia l
ro le a s th e enac tm en t o f r ig h ts and d u t ie s a t tached to a given
s ta tu s , ‘We can say tha t a so c ia l role will involve one or more
p a r ts and tha t each of th e s e different p a r ts may be p re se n ted by
the performer on a s e r i e s o f o c c a s io n s to the sam e k in d s of
au d ien c e or to an au d ien c e of the sam e p erso n s .

1 For comments on the im portance of d i s t in g u ish in g be tw een a routine o f
in te rac t io n and any pa r t icu la r in s ta n c e when th is rou tine i s p layed through,
s e e John von Neumann and O skar Morgenstern, The Theory o f G am es ana
E conom ic B eh a v io u r (2nd e d . ; P .- in c e to n : P r in c e to n U nivers i ty P re s s ,
1947), p. 49.

C H A P T E R I

PERFORMANCES

Belief in the Part One is Playing

When an individual p la y s a part he im plic i t ly re q u e s ts h is
o b s e rv e rs to ta k e se r io u s ly the im press ion that i s foste red
before them. T hey a re a sk ed to be l ieve tha t the ch a rac te r they
s e e a c tu a l ly p o s s e s s e s the a t t r ib u te s he a p p e a rs to p o s s e s s ,
tha t the ta sk he performs will have the co n s e q u e n c e s tha t are
im plic itly c la im ed for i t , and that, in genera l , m a tte rs are what
they ap p e ar to be. In l in e with th is , there i s the popular view
that the individual o ffe rs h is perform ance and p u ts on h is show
‘ for the benefit of o ther people. ‘ It will be con v e n ie n t to begin
a cons idera t ion of perform ances by turning th e q ues t ion around
and looking a t the ind iv idual’s own bel ief in the im pression of
rea l i ty tha t he a t tem p ts to engender in those among whom he
f inds h imself.

At one extreme, ■ we find tha t the performer can be fully
taken in by h is own a c t ; he ca n be s in c e re ly conv inced tha t the
im pression o f rea l i ty which h e s ta g e s i s the real rea li ty . When
h is au d ien c e i s a l s o convinced in th is way about the show he
p u ts o n —and th i s se em s to be the typ ical c a s e —then for the
moment, anyway, only the so c io lo g is t o r th e so c ia l ly d is
grun tled will have any doub ts about the ‘ r e a l n e s s ’ of what i s
p resen ted .

At the other extrem e, we find tha t the performer may not be
taken in a t all by h is own routine. T h is p o ss ib i l i ty i s under
s t a n d a b l e , s in c e no one i s in qu ite a s good an observa tiona l
pos it ion to s e e through the ac t a s the person who p u ts it on.
Coupled with th is , the performer may be moved to .guide the
conviction of h is au d ien c e only a s a m eans to o ther ends ,
hav ing no ultim ate concern in the concep t ion th a t they have of
him or of the s i tua t ion . When the individual h a s no belief in
h i s own a c t and no u l t im ate concern with the b e l ie fs o f h i s
au d ien c e , we may call him cyn ica l , re se rv in g the term s in c e re
for in d iv idua ls who be l ieve in the im press ion fo s tered by th e ir
own performance. It should be understood tha t the cyn ic , with
a l l h is p ro fe ss iona l d is invo lvem ent, may obta in unprofess iona l
p le a s u re s from his m asquerade , expe r ienc ing a kind of gleeful
sp ir i tua l ag g re ss io n from the fac t that he can toy a t will with
something h is au d ien c e must take s e r i o u s l y . 1

’ P e r h a p s the real cr ime of the con f idence man i s no t that he t a k e s money
from h i s v ic t im s buc chat he robs all of us of the be lief chat m id d le -c la ss
m anners and appea rance can be su s ta in e d only by m id d le -c la s s peop le . A

10

It i s not assum ed , of co u rse , th a t al l cy n ica l performers are
in te r e s te d in delud ing the ir a u d ie n c e s for p u rp o ses of what i s
c a l le d ‘ s e l f – i n t e r e s t ‘ o r p r iva te gain. A c y n ic a l individual may
delude h i s aud ience for what he c o n s id e r s to be their own good,
or for the good of the community, e tc . For i l lu s t r a t io n s of th is
we need not appeal to sad ly en l igh tened showmen su c h a s
Marcus A ure liu s or Hsun T zu . We know that in se rv ic e occu
p a t io n s p ra c t i t io n e r s who may o the rw ise be s incere are som e
tim es forced to delude the ir cu s to m e rs b e c a u s e the ir cu s tom ers
show su c h a hea r tfe l t demand for it. D octo rs who are led into
giving p la ce b o s , f i l l ing -s ta t ion a t te n d a n ts who res igned ly
check and recheck tire p re s s u re s for an x io u s women m o to r is ts ,
shoe c le rk s who se ll a shoe tha t fits but te l l the cus tom er it i s
the s iz e sh e w an ts to h e a r—th e s e are cyn ica l performers whose
a u d ie n c e s will not a llow them to be s in c e re . Similarly, we find
tha t sym pa the tic p a t ie n t s in mental wards will som etim es feign
b izarre symptoms so tha t s tuden t nu rses will not be sub jec ted
to a d isappo in ting ly sa n e performance. 1 So a lso , when infer
io r s extend the ir most lav ish recep t ion for v is i t in g superio rs ,
the s e l f i s h d e s i re to win favour may not be the ch ie f motive;
the inferior may be tac tfu lly at tem pting to put the superior at
e a s e by s im ula t ing the kind of world the su p e r io r i s thought to
take for granted.

I have su g g e s ted two ex t re m e s : an ind iv idual may be taken
in by h is own ac t or be cy n ica l about i t . T h e s e ex trem es are
som eth ing a l i t t le more than ju s t the e n d s of a continuum. Each
prov ides the ind iv idual with a pos it ion which h a s i t s own par
t ic u la r s e c u r i t i e s and d e fe n ces , so there will be a tendency for
th o se who have trave lled c lo se to one of th e s e p o le s to com
p le te the voyage. Starting with lack of inward be l ie f in one’s
role, the ind iv idual may follow the natural movement descr ibed
by P a r k :

It i s probably no mere h i s to r ic a l a c c id e n t tha t the word person , in i t s
f i rs t m eaning, ts a m ask . It i s ra the r a recogni t ion of the f a c t th a t

d isa b u se d p ro fe s s io n a l can be cyn ical ly hos t i le 10 the s e rv ic e re la t io n h is
c l i e n t s e x p e c t him to ex tend to them ; the conf idence man is in a posit ion
to hold the whole 1 leg i t * world in th is contempt.

‘ S e e L’dxel, op. c i t . , p. 4. Marry S tack Sullivan h a s su g g e s te d th a t the t a c t
of in s t i tu t io n a l iz e d performers can opera te in the ocher d irec t ion , r e su l t in g
in a kind of n o b le ssc ^o b lig e s a n i ty . bee h i s ‘ S o c io -P s y ch ia t r ic
R esearch A m erican Journal o f P sy c h ia try , X, pp. 987*988.
M A study of ’ .social r eco v e r ie s 1 in one of our large mental h o sp i t a l s some
y e a r s ago caught me that p a t i e n t s were often r e l e a s e d from ca re becau se
they had learned noc to m anifes t symptoms to the env iron ing p e r s o n s ; in
other words, had in teg ra ted enough of the persona l environment to r e a l i z e
the pre jud ice opposed to the ir d e lu s io n s . It se em ed a lm ost a s i f they grew
w ise enough to be to le ran t of the tmbeciliry surrounding them, having
f inally d isc o v e re d that it was s tup id i ty and not malice . T h ey cou ld then
se cu re sa t i s f a c t io n from c o n ta c t with o th e r s , while d isc h a rg in g a par t of
the ir c rav ings by p sy c h o t ic means .

11

everyone i s a lw ay s and everyw here , more or l e s s c o n s c io u s ly , p la y in g a
r o le . . . I t i s in th e s e r o l e s tha t w e know each o th e r ; it i s in th e s e
r o l e s tha t we know o u r s e lv e s . 1

In a se n s e , and in so Jar a s t h i s m ask r e p re s e n t s the c o n cep t io n we
have formed of o u r s e lv e s —the ro l e we are s t r iv in g to l ive up t o —tli is
m ask i s our truer s e l f , the s e l f we would l ike to be. In t h e end, our
concep t ion of our ro le b eco m es s e co n d nature and an in tegra l pa r t of our
p e r so n a l i ty . come in to the world a s ind iv idua ls , ach ieve ch a rac te r ,
and becom e p e r s o n s .2

T h i s may be il lu scra ted from th e writer’ s s tudy of an is lan d
community of c ro f te r s , th a t i s , sm a ll-ho ld ing farmers. 3 F o r th e
l a s t four or five y e a r s the i s l a n d ‘ s tou r is t hote l h a s been owned
and o pera ted by a married coup le of cro f te r o r ig in s . From the
beginning, the ow ners were forced to se t a s id e th e ir own con
ce p t io n s a s to how life ought to be led, d isp lay in g in the hotel
a full round of m id d le -c la s s s e rv ic e s and a m e n i t ie s . L a te ly ,
however, i t a p p e a rs th a t the m anagers have becom e l e s s cyn
ica l about the performance tha t they s t a g e ; they th e m se lv e s a re
becoming middle c l a s s and more and more enamoured of the
s e lv e s the ir c l i e n t s impuce to them. Another i l lu s t ra t io n may
be found in the raw rec ru it who in i t ia l ly fo llow s army e t iq u e t te
in order to avoid p h y s ic a l punishm ent and who even tua lly com es
to follow the ru le s so tha t h is o rgan iza tion will not be sham ed
and h is o f f ic e r s and fe l lo w -so ld ie r s will r e sp e c t him.

As s u g g e s te d , the c y c le of d isb e l ie f – to -b e l ie f can be fo ll
owed in the o ther d irec tion , s ta r t in g with conv ic tion or in se c u re
a s p ira t io n and ending in cyn ic ism . P ro fe s s io n s which the
p ub lic h o ld s in r e l ig io u s awe often allow the ir re c ru i t s to
follow the c y c le in th i s d irec t ion , anti o f ten r e c ru i t s follow it in
th i s d irec tion not b e c a u s e of a s low r e a l iz a t io n that they are
de luding the ir a u d ie n c e —for by ordinary s o c ia l s ta n d a rd s the
c la im s they make may be qu ite v a l id —but b e c a u s e they can use
th is cy n ic ism a s a m eans of in su la t in g the ir inner s e l v e s from
co n ta c t with the au d ience . ■ And we may even ex p e c t to find
ty p ic a l c a r e e r s o f faith , with the ind iv idual s ta r t in g out with
o n e kind of involvem ent in the perform ance he i s requ ired to
give , then moving back and forth se v e ra l t im es betw een s in c e r
i ty and cyn ic ism before com ple t ing al l the p h a s e s and turning-
po in ts of s e l f -b e l ie f for a person of h is s ta t ion .

While we can ex p e c t to find natura l movement back and
forth be tw een cy n ic ism and s in c e r i ty , s t i l l we must not ru le out
th e k ind of t r a n s i t io n a l po in ts tha t can be su s ta in e d , on the

l R ober t Ezra P a rk , R a c e and C ulture (G le n c o e . | l l l . : T h e F re e P r e s s , 1950),
p . 249.

3 H id . , p . 250.
3 T he s tudy w a s f inanced by the Depar tm ent of S o c ia l Anthropology And th e

S o c ia l S c i e n c e s R e se a rc h Committee of the U niversi ty of Kdinburgh and
reported io pa r t in Goffman, op . c it .

12

streng th o f a l i t t l e s e lf – i l lu s io n . We find tha t the ind iv idual
may attem pt to induce the aud ience to judge him and the s i t
uat ion in a pa r t icu la r way, and he may s e e k th i s judgement a s
an u ltim ate end in i t s e l f , and yet he may not com ple te ly b e l iev e
tha t he d e s e rv e s the valua tion of se lf which he a s k s for or that
the im press ion of rea l i ty which he fo s te r s i s va l id . Another
mixture of c y n ic ism and be l ie f is su g g e s te d in K roeber’s d i s
cu s s io n of sh a m an ism :

N ext , the re i s the old question of deception« Probab ly m os t sham ans
or m ed ic ine men, the world over , he lp a long with s le igh t-o f -hand in curing
and e s p e c ia l ly in exh ib i t io n s of power. T h is s le igh t-o f-hand is som e
t im es d e l i b e r a t e ; in many c a s e s a w a re n e s s i s p e rh a p s not deeper chan
the fo rec o n sc io u s . T he a t t i tude , whether there h a s been rep re ss io n or
not , s e e m s to be a s toward a p io u s fraud. F ie ld e thnographers seem
q u i te genera l ly c o n v in c e d that even sh a m a n s who know tha t they add
fraud n e v e r th e l e s s a l s o be l ieve in their pow ers , and e s p e c ia l ly in th o se
of o th e r s h a m a n s : they co n s u l t them whet! they th e m se lv e s or theLr
ch i ld ren a re i l l . 1

Front

We have been u s in g the term ‘p e r fo rm a n c e ‘ to refer to all
th e ac t iv i ty of an ind iv idua l which o cc u rs during a period
marked by h is co n t in u o u s p re se n c e before a pa r t icu la r se t of
o b s e rv e rs and which h a s som e influence on the o b se rv e rs . It
will be conven ien t to label a s ‘ f r o n t ’ tha t part of the ind iv id
u a l ’s perform ance which regularly func t ions in a general and
fixed fashion to define the s i tu a t io n for th o se who ob se rv e the
performance. Front, then , i s the e x p r e s s iv e equipment of a
s tandard kind in te n t io n a l ly or unwittingly em ployed by the
individual during h is performance. For preliminary pu rp o ses , it
v.ill be conven ien t to d is t in g u ish and label what seem to be the
stand aril p a r ts of front.

F i rs t , there is the ‘ s e t t i n g ’, involving furniture, decor,
physical lay-out, and o ther background i te m s which supply the
sc en e ry and s ta g e p rops for the s p a te of human ac tion p layed
out before, within, or upon it. A se t t in g te n d s to s ta y put,
geographica lly sp e ak in g , so th a t those who would u se a par
t ic u la r s e t t in g a s part of the ir performance cannot begin the ir
ac t until they have brought th e m se lv es to the appropria te p la c e
and must te rm inate their perform ance when they leave i t . It i s
only in exc ep t io n a l c i rc u m s ta n c e s that the se t t in g , in a s e n se ,
fo llow s a long with the p e rfo rm ers ; we se e th is in the funeral
cortege, the c iv ic parade , and the dream-like p r o c e s s io n s that”
k ings and q u e e n s are made of. In the main, t h e s e ex c ep t io n s
seem to offer som e kind of extra p ro tec tion for perform ers who

; A .I . . Krocber , T he feature o f C ulture (C h ic a g o : U niversi ty of Ch icago
P re s s , l l)^2), p. 3 N .

13

are , or who have momentarily becom e, highly sa c red . I h ese
worth ies are to be d is t ingu ished , of co u rse , from quite profane
performers of the pedd ler c l a s s who move the ir pl;ice of work
between perform ances, often being forced to do so. In the
m atte r of having one fixed p lace for o n e ‘ s se t t in g , a ruler may
be too sac red , a pedd ler too profane.

In th ink ing about the s c e n ic a s p e c t s of front, we tend to
think of the l iv ing room in a p a r t ic u la r h ouse and the small
number of perform ers who can thoroughly identify th e m se lv e s
with it. We have g iven insu ff ic ien t a t ten t io n to a s se m b la g e s of
of s ign-equ ipm ent which large num bers of performers can call
the ir own for short per iods of time. It i s c h a r a c te r i s t i c of
Western European c o u n tr ie s , and no doubt a source of s ta b i l i ty
f o r ^ , 1″ tha t a la rge number of luxurious s e t t in g s a re a v a i la b le
for hire to anyone of the right kind who can afford them. One
i l lu s tra t io n of th is may be c i ted from a study of the h igher
c iv il se rvan t in B r i ta in :

T h e ques t ion liow far the men who r i se to the top in the C iv i l Serv ice
take on the ‘ t o n e * or ‘ c o lo u r* of a c l a s s other than th a t to w hich they
be long by birth is d e l i c a t e and d if f icult . T h e only def in i te information
bear ing on the q u es t io n i s the f igu res re la t ing to the membership of the
g rea t London c lu b s . More than th ree -q u a r te r s of our high adm in is t r a t iv e
o f f i c ia l s belong to one or more c lu b s of high s t a t u s and c o n s id e ra b le
Luxury, where the en t ra n c e fee might be twenty gu ineas or more, and rhe
annual su bsc r ip t ion from twelve to twenty g u in e a s . T h e s e in s t i t u t i o n s
a re of the upper c l a s s (not even of the upper-middle) in the ir p rem ises ,
th e i r equipment, the s ty le of l iving p ra c t i s e d there, their whole a t
m osphe re . Though many of the m embers would not be desc r ib ed a s
w eal thy , only a wealthy man would unaided provide for h im se lf and h is
family s p a c e , food and drink, se rv ice , and other a m e n i t ie s of life to the
sam e s tandard a s he will find at the Uruon, the T r a v e l l e r s ’, or the
Reform. 1

Another exam ple can be found in the recen t development of the
m ed ica l p ro fe ss ion where we find tha t it i s in c reas ing ly im
portant for a doctor to have a c c e s s to the e lab o ra te sc ie n t i f ic
s ta g e provided by large h o sp i ta ls , so tha t fewer and fewer
d o c to rs are ab le to feel tha t the ir s e t t in g i s a p la c e th a t they
can lock up at night. 2

If we take the term ‘ s e t t i n g ’ to refer to the s c e n ic p a r t s ol
e x p re s s iv e equipment, -we may take the term ‘p e r s o n a l f ro n t’ to
refer to the other i tem s of e x p re s s iv e equipm ent, the i te m s tha t
we most in tim ate ly iden tify with the performer him self and that
we na tu ra lly expec t will follow th e performer wherever he goes .
As part of p e rso n a l front we may in c lu d e : in s ign ia of o ffice or
r an k ; c lo th in g ; sex , age, and rac ia l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s ; s i z e and
lo o k s ; p o s tu r e ; sp eech p a t t e r n s ; fac ia l e x p r e s s io n s ; bodily

1 U .K . D a le , T ke H igher C iv i l S e rv ice o f G reat ftr ita in (O xford : Oxford
U n ivers i ty P r e s s , 1941), p. 50.

2 D avid Solomon, ‘C a r e e r C o n t in g e n c ie s ol Chicago P h y s i c i a n s ‘ (Unpub
l i sh e d Ph . IX d is s e r ta t io n , Depar tm ent ol Sociology, U niversi ty of C h icaao .
1952). p. 74.

14

g e s tu r e s ; an 1 the l ike . Some of th e se v eh ic le s for conveying
s ig n s , such a s rac ia l c h a r a c te r i s t i c s , are re la t iv e ly fixed and
over a span of time Jo not vary for the individual from one
s i tua tion to another. On th e orhcr hand, som e of th e s e sign
v e h ic le s are re la t ive ly mobile or t rans i to ry , such a s facial
exp -ess ion , an 1 can vary .luring a performance from one moment
to the next. It i s som etim es conven ien t to d iv ide the stimuli
which make up personal front into ‘ a p p e a r a n c e ’ and ’ m anner’,
accord ing to the function performed by the information that
th e s e stimuli convey. ‘ A p p e a ra n c e ’ may be taken to refer to
th o s e stimuli which function at the time to tell u s of the
performer’s soc ia l s t a tu s e s . T h e s e stimuli also te l l u s o f
the in d iv id u a l ‘s temporary r itua l s ta te , tha t i s , whether he i s
engaging in formal soc ia l ac t iv i ty , work, or informal recreation ,
whether or not he is ce leb ra t in g a new p h ase in the s e a so n
cyc le or in h is l i fe -cyc le . ‘M a n n e r ‘ may be taken to refer to
th o se stimuli which function at the time to warn u s of the inter
ac tion role the performer will expect to play in the on-coming
s i tu a t io n . T h u s a haughty a g g re s s iv e manner may give the
im press ion tha t the performer e x p e c t s to be the one who will
in i t i a t e the verbal in te rac t ion and d irec t i t s cou rse . A meek,
apo logetic manner may give the im pression tha t the performer
e x p e c t s to follow the lead of o th e rs , or at l e a s t tha t he can 1>e
gotten to do so. Similarly, if an individual i s angry h is manner
will te l l us upon whom he i s l ike ly to be in a posit ion to vent
h is anger.

We o ften ex pec t , of course , a confirming c o n s is te n c y be
tw een appearance and m anner; we expec t tha t the d if fe ren ces
in so c ia l s t a t u s e s among the io te ra c ta n ts will be e x p re ssed in
som e way by congruent d if fe ren ces in the in d ic a t io n s that a re
made of ex p e c ted in terac t ion role. T h is type of coherence of
front may be i l lu s tra te d by the following desc r ip tion of the
p rocess ion of a mandarin through a C h in e se c i ty :

Coming c lo se ly behind . . . the luxur ious chair o f the mandarin,
c a r r ied by e igh t beare rs , f i l ls the v a c a n t s p a c e in the s t r e e t . Me is
mayor of the town, and for a l l p ra c t ic a l p u rp o se s die suprem e power in
it. lie is an idea l- looking official , for he is large and m ass iv e in ap p ea r
a n c e , w h ils t he has that s tern and uncomprising look that is su p p o s ed to
be n e c e s s a ry in any m agis t ra te who would hope to keep his s u b je c t s in
order, lie lias a s t e m and forbidding a s p e c t , as though he were on h is
way to the execu t ion ground to have some criminal decap i ta ted . T h is i s
the kind of air tha t the mandarins pu t on when they appear in pub l ic . In
the co u rse of many y e a r s ‘ ex p e r ie n c e . 1 have never once s e e n any of
them, from the h ig h e s t to the low es t , w ith a smile on h i s facc or a look
of sym pathy for the peop le whils t he w as being carr icd off ic ia l ly through
the s t r e e t s . 1

b u t , of co u rse , appearance and manner may tend to con trad ic t
each other, a s when a performer who a p p e a r s to be of h igher

1J . Macgowart, S id e lig h ts on C h in ese L i fe (P h i l a d e lp h i a : L ippincoct, 1908),
p. 187.

15

e s t a t e than h i s a u d ien c e a c t s in a manner tha t i s unexpected ly
eq u a l i ta r ian , or in tim ate , or ap o lo g e t ic , or when a performer
d re sse d in the garm ents o f a high pos i t ion p r e s e n ts h im self to
an individual of even higher s t a tu s .

In addit ion to the expected c o n s is te n c y between appear
ance and manner, we expect , of cou rse , som e cohe rence among
se t t in g , a p p e a ran c e , and manner. 1 In a s e n s e , su c h cohe rence
r e p re s e n ts an ideal type tha t p rov ides u s with a m eans of s tim
u la t in g our in te re s t in and a t ten t ion to e x c e p t io n s . In th is the
s tu d en t i s a s s i s te d by the jo u rn a l is t , for ex c ep t io n s to e x p e c
ted c o n s is te n c y among se t t ing , app e a ran c e , .and manner provide
the p iquancy and glamour of many c a re e r s and the s a le a b le
appeal of many m agazine a r t ic le s . 2

In order to explore more fully the r e la t io n s among the se v e r
al p a r ts of so c ia l front, it will be conven ien t to cons ider here a
s ig n i f ic a n t c h a ra c te r is t ic of the information conveyed by front,
namely, i t s a b s t r a c t n e s s and genera li ty .

How ever sp e c ia l iz e d and unique a routine i s , i t s soc ia l
front, with ce r ta in exc ep t io n s , will tend to claim fa c ts tha t can
be equa lly claim ed and a s s e r te d of o ther, somewhat d ifferent
rou tines . ; F o r example , many se rv ic e o cc u p a t io n s offer the ir
c l i e n t s a perform ance that i s i l lum inated with dram atic ex
p re s s io n s of c l e a n l in e s s , modernity, com petence , in teg r i ty , e tc .
While in fac t th e s e a b s t ra c t s ta n d a rd s h ave a different s ig n i f i
c a n c e in d iffe ren t occupa t iona l perform ances, the observer i s
encouraged to s t r e s s the a b s t ra c t s im ila r i t ie s . F o r the observer
th is i s a wonderful, chough som etim es d is a s t ro u s , co n v e n ie n ce .
Ins tead of having to m ainta in a d iffe rent pa t te rn of expecta tion
and re sp o n s iv e trea tm ent for ea ch s l ig h t ly d iffe rent performer
and perform ance, he c a n p la ce the s i tu a t io n in to a broad ca t
egory around which it i s e a sy for him to m obil ize h is p a s t ex
per ience and s te reo – typ ica l thinking. O b se rv e rs then need only
be fam iliar with a small and hence m anageab le vocabulary of
f ron ts and know how to respond to them in order to o rien t them
s e lv e s in a wide var ie ty of s i tu a t io n s . T h u s in London the
current tendency for chimney s w e e p s 3 and perfume c le rk s to
wear w hite la b c o a ts te n d s to provide the c l ien t with an under
s ta n d in g tha t the d e l ic a te t a s k s performed by th e s e p e rso n s

1 Cl. Kenneth B u rk e ‘s com m ents on th e ‘ s c e n e -a c t -a g e n t r a t i o ’, A Grammar
o f M otives (New York: P re n t ic e -H a l l , 1945) pp. 6-9.

^ For example, the N ew Y orker P ro f i le on R oger S tevens (the rea l e s t a t e
a gen t who eng in ee red the s a l e of the Empire S ta te Building) comments
on the s ta r t l in g fact th a t S tevens h a s a small h o u se , a meagre of f ice ,
and no le t t e rh e a d s ta t io n e ry . See E. J .K a h n , J r . , ‘C l o s i n g s and
O p e n in g s ‘ , T he N ew Yorker, February 13 and 20, 1954.

3 S e c Mervyn J o n e s , ‘W hite a s a S w e e p ‘ , T he N ew S ta te sm a n and N ation ,
December 6, 1952.

16

will be performed in what h a s become a s ta n d a rd iz ed , c l in ic a l ,
conf iden tia l manner.

T h e re a re g rounds for believ ing tha t the tendency for a
la rg e number of d if fe ren t a c t s to be p re se n ted from behind a
small number of f ron ts i s a na tu ra l developm ent in so c ia l o r
g an iza tion . Kadcliffe-Hrown h a s su g g e s te d th i s in h is claim
th a t a d esc r ip t iv e k insh ip sys tem which g iv e s each person a
un ique p la c e may work for very small com m unities , but, a s the
number o f p e r s o n s becom es large, clan segm entation becom es
n e c e s s a r y a s a m eans of providing a l e s s com plica ted system
of id e n t i f ic a t io n s and trea tm en ts . 1 We s e e th i s tendency i l lu s
tra ted in f a c to r i e s , barracks, and other la rge soc ia l e s t a b l i s h
m ents . T h o se who o rgan ize th e se e s ta b l i s h m e n ts find it im
p o ss ib le to provide a spec ia l ca fe te r ia , sp e c ia l modes of pay
ment, s p e c ia l vacation r igh ts , and s p e c ia l san i ta ry f a c i l i t i e s
for evc-ry l ine and s ta f f s t a t u s ca tegory in the o rgan iza tion ,
and at the sam e tim e they feel tha t p e rso n s o f d is s im ila r s t a tu s
ought not to be ind isc r im ina te ly thrown toge ther or c l a s s i f i e d
together . As a compromise, the full range of d ivers i ty is cut
at a few crucial po in ts , and all th o se within a given bracket
are al lowed or ob l iged to m ainta in the same soc ia l front in
cer ta in s i tu a t io n s .

In addi t ion to the fact th a t d ifferent rou tines may employ
the sam e front, it i s to be noted that a g iven soc ia l front
te n d s to become in s t i tu t io n a l iz e d in term s of th e ab s t ra c t
s te re o ty p e d e x p e c ta t io n s to which it g ives r i se , and te n d s to
ta k e on a meaning and s ta b i l i ty apart from the sp e c i f ic t a s k s
which happen at the time to be performed in i t s name. T h e front
becom es a ‘ c o l l e c t i v e r e p r e s e n ta t io n ’ and a fac t in i t s own
right.

When an a c to r ta k e s on an e s ta b l i s h e d soc ia l role, u sua lly
he f inds tha t a p a r t icu la r front has a lready been e s ta b l i s h e d for
it . Whether h is acq u is i t io n of the role w as primarily motivated
by a des ire to perform the given t a s k or by a d es ire to m aintain
the corresponding front, the ac to r will find that he must do both.

Furthe r , if th e ind iv idual t a k e s on a task tha t i s not only
new to him but a l so u n e s ta b l ish e d in the s o c i e t y . – o r if he
a t tem p ts to change the light in which h is ta sk is viewed, he i s
l ike lv to find tha t there are a lready se v e ra l w e l l -e s ta b l ish e d
fron ts among which he must choose. T hus , when a task i s
g iven a new front we seldom find that the front it is g iven is
i t s e l f new.

Since f ron ts tend ro be s e le c te d , not c rea ted , we may expect
trouble to a r i s e when th o se who perform a g iven ta sk are forced

1 A. U. Radcliffe-f tro wn, ’ T he Socia l Organization of A u s tra l ian T r i b e s ’,
O c e a n ia , 1, 440.

17

to s e l e c t a s u i t a b le front for th e m se lv e s from among several
q u ite d is s im ila r ones . T hus , in military o rg an iz a t io n s , t a s k s
are a lw a y s deve lop ing which ( it i s felt) require too much author
ity and sk il l to be ca rr ied out behind the front m a in ta ined by
one grade of personne l and too l i t t le au thori ty an.) s k i ’l to be
ca rr ied out behind the front m ain ta ined by the ne-‘r ;ra.l<* in the h ie rarchy . S ince the re are re la t ive ly la rg e ju rm s be tw een g ra d e s , the r a sk will com e to ' c a r r y too much . a r k 1 or to carry too l i t t le . An in te re s t in g i l lu s t r a t io n of the dilemma of s e le c t in g an appropr ia te front from s e v e r a l not quite f i t t ing o i 'e s may be found today in A merican m edica l o rg a n iz a t io n s with r e sp e c t to the t a s k of adm in is te r ing a n e s t h e s i a . 1 In s o m : h o s p i t a l s a n e s th e s i a i s s t i l l adm in is te red by n u r s e s beh ind the front tha t n u r se s are a l low ed to have in h o s p i t a l s r e g a r d le s s of the t a s k s they perform —a front invo lv ing ce rem onia l subord ina t ion and a re la t iv e ly low r a te of pay. In order to e s t a b l i s h an e s th e s io lo g y a s a s p e c ia l i ty for g rad u a te m edica l doc to rs , in te re s te d p ra c t i t io n e r s have had to ad v o c a te strongly the idea that adm in is te r ing a n e s th e s ia i s a su f f ic ie n t ly com plex and v i ta l ta sk to ju s t i fy in g g iv ing to th o se who perform it the ceremonial and f inanc ia l rew ard g iven to doc to rs . T h e d if fe rence be tw een the front m ain ta ined by a nu rse and the front m ainta ined by a doctor i s g re a t ; many th in g s th a t are a c c e p ta b le for n u r s e s a re infra dignitatem for docto rs . Some medical peop le h av e felt th a t a n u rse 'u n d e r - r a n k e d ' for the t a s k of adm in is te r ing a n e s th e s i a and th a t d o c to rs 'o v e r - r a n k e d ; ’ were there an e s ta b l i s h e d s t a tu s midway betw een nurse and doctor, an e a s i e r so lu tion to the problem could p e rh a p s be found. 2 S im ilady, had th e C a n ad ian Army had a rank halfway between l ieu tenan t and c a p ta in , two and a ha l f p ip s in s te a d of two or th ree , then Dental Corp’s c a p ta in s , many of them of a tow ethn ic origin, could have been g iv en a rank tha t would perhaps have been more s u i t a b le in the e y e s of th e Army than the c a p ta in c i e s they were ac tu a l ly given. I do not mean here to s t r e s s th e po in t of view of a formal o rg an iz a t io n or a s o c i e t y ; the ind iv idual , a s som eone who p o s s e s s e s a l im ited range o f s ign-equipm ent , must a l so make unhappy c h o ic e s . T hus , >in the c rofting community s tu d ied by

J S e e th e thorough t rea tm ent of th is problem io Dan C . L ort ie , ‘ D octors
Without P a t i e n t * : T h e A n e s th e s io lo g i s t , a New Medical Spec ia l ty Un
p u b l i sh e d M aste r ’s t h e s i s , D epar tm ent of S oc io logy , U nivers i ty of C h ica go ,
1950. S ee a l s o Mark Murphv*s tl iree-part P ro f i le o f Dr. R ovenst ine ,
1 A n e s t h e s i o l o g i s t The New Yorker. O c to b e r 25, Novem ber 1, and Novem
ber 8, 1947.

? l r shou ld be added th a t in som e h o s p i t a l s th e intern and th e m ed ica l s tu d e n t
perform ta s k s that are benea th a d oc to r and above a nu rse . P re sum ably
such t a s k s do not requ ire a large amount o f exper ience and p r a c t i c a l
training» for while th is in te rm ed ia te s t a tu s o f doc tor- in – t ra in ing » is a
pe rm anen t pare of h o s p i t a l s , a l l t h o s e who hold it do so temporari ly .

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the writer, ‘h o s ts o ften marked the v is i t of a friend by offering
him a dram o f s p i r i t s , a g la s s of wine, some (home-made) brew,
o r a cup of tea . T h e h igher the rank or temporary cerem onial
s t a tu s of the v is i to r , the more l ike ly he was to rec e iv e an offer
ing near th e s p i r i t s end of the continuum. Now one problem
a s s o c ia te d with th is range o f s ign-equipm ent w as tha t some
cro f te rs could not afford to keep a bo tt le of s p i r i t s a v a i la b le ,
so tha t wine tended to be the most indulgent g es tu re they could
employ. But perhaps a more common d ifficulty was the fac t tha t
ce r ta in v is i to r s , g iven the ir permanent and temporary s t a tu s a t
the time, outranked one potable and under-ranked the next one
in line . T here w as often a danger th a t the v i s i to r would fee l
ju s t a l i t t l e affronted or, on the other hand, tha t the h o s t ’s
co s t ly and l im ited s ign equipment would be m isused . In our
middle c l a s s e s a sim ila r s i tu a t io n a r i s e s when a h o s te s s h a s to
dec ide whether or not to use the good s i lv e r , o r which would be
the more appropr ia te to wear, her b e s t af ternoon d re s s or her
p la in es t evening gown.

[ h ave su g g e s ted tha t so c ia l front can be d iv ided into
trad i t iona l par ts , such a s se t t ing , appearance , and manner, and
tha t ( s in c e different rou tines may be p resen ted from behind the
sam e front) we may not find a perfec t fit between the s p e c i f ic
ch a rac te r of a performance and the general s o c ia l iz e d gu ise in
which it ap p e a rs to us. T h e se two fac ts , taken together , lead
u s to app re c ia te tha t i tem s in the so c ia l front of a par t icu lar
routine are not only found in the so c ia l fronts of a whole range
o f rou tines but a lso tha t the whole range of rou t ines in which
one item of sign equipment i s found will differ from the range of
rou tines in which another item in the sam e s o c ia l front will be
found. T hus , a law yer may talk to a c l ien t in a so c ia l s e t t in g
th a t he em ploys only for th is purpose (or for a study), but the
c lo th e s he w ea rs on such o cc as io n s , ‘and which are s u i ta b le for
such o c c a s io n s , he will a l so employ, with equal su itab il i ty , .at
d inner with c o l le a g u e s and at the thea tre with h is wife. Simil
arly, th e p r in ts tha t hang on h is wall and the carpe t on h is floor
may be found in dom estic s o c ia l e s tab l ish m e n ts . Of co u rse , in
h ighly ceremonial o c c a s io n s , se t t ing , manner, and appearance
may all be re la t ive ly unique and sp e c if ic , u sed only for per
formances of a s in g le type of routine, but such ex c lu s iv e u se of
sign equipment i s the exception rather than the rule.

Dramatic Realization

While in the p re se n ce of o thers , the individual typ ical ly
in fu ses h is ac t iv i ty with s ig n s which dram atica lly h ighlight and
portray confirmatory fac ts tha t might o therw ise remain un-
apparen t or o bscu re . F o r if the ind iv idual’s ac tiv i ty i s to

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become s ig n i f ic an t to o the rs , ‘he must m ob il ize h is ac t iv i ty so
tha t it will e x p r e s s during the interaction what h e w is h e s to
convey . In fac t , t h e performer may be requ ired n o t only to
e x p r e s s h is c la im ed c a p a c i t i e s during th e in te rac t io n but a lso
to do so during a s p l i t se c o n d in th e in te rac t io n . T h u s , i f a
baseb a l l umpire i s to g ive the im press ion t h a t he i s su re of h is
judgem ent, he must forgo the moment o f thought which might
make him sure of h is judgem ent; he must give an in s ta n ta n e o u s
d e c is io n so tha t the a u d ie n c e will be su re tha t he i s sure of
h is judgem ent. 1

It may be no ted tha t in the c a s e o f som e s t a t u s e s drama
t iza t io n p r e s e n ts no problem, s ince some of the a c t s which are
in s t rum en ta l ly e s s e n t i a l for the com pletion of the core ta sk of
the s t a tu s are a t the same time wonderfully adap ted , from the
po in t of view o f com m unication , a s m eans of v ividly conveying
thé q u a l i t i e s and a t t r ib u te s c la im ed by th e performer. T h e
ro le s o f p r iz e f ig h te r s , su rg eo n s , v io l in i s t s , and po licem en are
c a s e s in point. T h e s e a c t iv i t i e s a l low for so much d ram atic
se l f – e x p re s s io n th a t exem plary p ra c t io n e r s—w hether rea l or
f ic t io n a l—become famous and are g iven a sp e c ia l p la ce in the
com m ercially o rgan ized p h a n ta s ie s o f the nation .

In many c a s e s , however, d ram atiza tion of o n e ‘s work d o es
c o n s t i tu te a problem. An i l lu s t ra t io n of th is may be c i ted from
a recen t study by E d ith L e n tz , where the medical nurs ing s ta f f
in a hosp ita l i s shown to have a problem tha t the su rg ica l
nursing s ta f f d o e s not h a v e :

T h e th ings which a nu rse does for p o s t -o p e ra t iv e p a t i e n t s on the
surg ica l floor a re frequently of r eco^n izab l e im portance , even to p a t i e n t s
who a re s t r a n g e rs to h o s p i ta l a c t i v i t i e s . For exam ple , the p a r ie n t
s e e s h i s n u r se c h an g in g b an d ag es , sw ing ing orthoped ic f ram es into
p la c e , and can r e a l i s e th a t th e s e a re purposefu l a c t i v i t i e s . Even if
sh e can n o t be a t h i s s id e , he can r e s p e c t h e r purposefu l a c t iv i t i e s .

Medical nu rs in g i s a l s o highly sk i l l e d work . . . . T he p h y s i c ia n ‘ s
d ia g n o s is m ust r e s t upon carefu l o b se rv a t io n of sym ptons over time
where the su rg e o n ‘s a re in la rger par t dependen t on v i s ib l e th in g s .
T he lack of v i s ib i l i ty c r e a t e s p rob lem s on the m e d ic a l . A pa t ien t
will s e c h i s nurse s to p a t the n e x t bed and c h a t for a moment or
two with th e p a t ie n t the re . He d o e s n ’t know chae s h e i s obse rv ing
th e s h a l lo w n e s s of the b rea th ing and color and tone of the sk in . He
th inks sh e i s ju s t v is i t in g . So, a l a s , d o es h i s family who may thereupon
d e c id e th a t th e s e n u r se s a r e n ‘ t very im p re ss iv e . If the nu rse sp e n d s
more time «u the nex t bed chan a t h i s own, th e pa t ien t may feel s l ig h ted .
. . • The n u rses a r e “ w a s t in g r im e 0 u n l e s s they a r e d ar t ing about
doing some v i s ib l e th ing su c h a s ad m in is te r ing h y p o d e rm ic s .2

Similarly, we find cha t . the proprie tor o f a s e rv ic e e s tab l ish m e n t
may find it d iff icu lt to d ram atize what i s ac tu a l ly being done

* See B abe P in e l l t , a s told to J o e King. Mr Ump (P h i l a d e lp h ia : Westminster
P r e s s , 1953), p . 75.

2 Edith Lenc2 ” A Comparison of Medical and Surgical F lo o r s * 1 (Mimeo:
New York Stare School of Industr ia l and L abour R e la t io n s , Cornell Uni
v e r s i ty , 1954), pp . 2-3.

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for c l i e n t s b ec a u s e th e c l i e n t s cannot ” s e e ” th e overhead
c o s t s of the s e rv ic e rendered them. T h u s trustworthy under
ta k ers must charge a g rea t dea l for the ir highly v is ib le product—
a coffin tha t h a s been transformed into a c a s k e t—b e c a u s e
many of the other c o s t s of conducting a funeral, a re not ones
th a t can be readily d ram a tiz ed .1 Merchants, too, often find
th a t they must charge high p r ice s for th ings that look intrin
s ic a l ly exp e n s iv e in order to com pensa te the es tab l ishm en t
for exp e n s iv e th ings l ik e in su ra n c e , s la ck periods, e tc . , that
never appear before the cus tom ers’ eyes.

T h e problem of d ram atiz ing o n e ‘ s work invo lves more than
merely making in v is ib le c o s t s v is ib le . T he work tha t must be
done by th o se who fill ce r ta in s t a tu s e s i s often so poorly
d es igned a s an ex p ress ion o f a des ired meaning, tha t if the
incumbent would dram atize the cha rac te r of h is role, ‘h e must
divert an apprec iab le amount o f h is energy to do so. And
t h i s ac t iv i ty d iverted to communication will often require
different a t t r ib u te s from the o n e s which are being dramatized.
T h u s to furnish a house so that it will e x p r e s s simple, quiet
dignity, the househo lder may have to r a c e to auc tion s a le s ,
hagg le with an t ique dea le rs , and doggedly c a n v a ss all the
local shops for proper w allpaper and curta in m ateria ls . To
give a radio talk that will sound genuinely informal, spon
ta n e o u s , an d relaxed, the speake r may have to des ign h is
sc r ip t with p a in s ta k in g care, t e s t in g one ph rase after another,
in order to follow the con ten t , language, rhythm, and pace of
everyday talk . 2 Similarly, a Vogue model, by her clo th ing ,
s tance , and facial ex p re ss io n , i s ab le exp ress ive ly to portray
a cu l t iva ted understanding of the book she p o se s in her han d ;
but those who trouble to e x p r e s s them se lves so appropriately
will have very l i t t l e time left o v e r ‘ fo r reading. And so in
d iv idua ls often find th e m se lv es with the dilemma of exp ress ion
versus ac t ion . T hose who have the time and ta lent to perform
a ta sk well may not, b ecau se of th is , have the time or ta len t
to make it apparenc that they are performing well. It may be
s a id th a t some o rgan iza t ions reso lve th is dilemma for th e se
members by de lega ting the dram atic function to a s p e c ia l i s t
who will spend h is time ex p ress ing the meaning of the task
and spend no tim e ac tua lly doing it.

If we a l te r our frame of reference for a moment and turn
from a par t icu la r performance to the ind iv iduals who presen t it,

‘M a te r ia l on the burial b u s in e ss used ‘h ro n ih o u t tm s report i s taken from
a forthcoming d i s s e r ta t io n on the funeta l d irector by Robert H abenste in .
I have a l s o drawn on Mr Hafcenstein’s seminar report descr ib ing the
under taker ’s work a s the s ta g in g of a performance.

2 John Hil ton, ” C a l c u l a t e d Sponcaniety,” O xford B oo k o f E ng lish T a lk
fOxford: C larendon P re s s , 1953), p p . 399-404.

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we can c o n s id e r an in te re s t in g fac t about the round of d iffe rent
rou tines which any group or c l a s s o f in d iv id u a ls h e lp s to
perform. When we exam ine a group or c l a s s , we find tha t the
members o f i t tend to in v e s t the ir eg o s primarily in cer ta in
rou t ines , giving l e s s s t r e s s to the o the r o n e s which they per
form. T h u s a p ro fe ss io n a l man may be w illing to ta k e a very
m odest ro le in the s t r e e t , in a shop, or in h i s home, but, in
the so c ia l sphe re which e n c o m p a sse s h i s d isp lay o f p ro fe s s
ional com petency , he will be much concerned to make an
e ffec t ive showing. In m obil iz ing h is behaviour to make a
showing, he will be concerned not so much with the full round
of th e d if fe ren t ro u t in e s he performs but only with the one
from which h i s o cc u p a t io n a l reputa tion der ives . It i s upon
th i s i s s u e tha t som e w ri ters have chosen to d is t ingu ish groups
with a r i s to c r a t i c • h a b i ts (w ha tever their so c ia l s ta tu s ) from
th o s e o f m id d le -c la s s ch a rac te r . T h e a r i s to c ra t ic habit , •it
h a s been sa id , i s one tha t m ob il ize s al l th e minor a c t iv i t i e s of
l i f e which fall o u ts id e the se r io u s s p e c i a l i t i e s of o ther c l a s s e s
and in je c t s in to th e s e a c t iv i t i e s an express ion of ch a rac te r ,
power, and high rank.

By w hat Important accom plishm en ts i s the young nobleman in s t ru c ted
to s u p p o r t the d ign i ty of h i s rank, and to rende r h im se lf worthy of tha t
supe rio r i ty over h i s fellow-citi zens , to which the v ir tue of h i s a n c e s to r s
had r a i s e d them ? I s i t by knowledge, by industry , by p a t i e n c e , by
se l f -d e n ia l , or by vir tue o f any k in d ? As a l l h i s words, a s a l l h i s
motions are a t te n d e d to, he le a r n s an hab i tua l regard to every circum
s t a n c e o f ordinary behaviour , and s tu d i e s to perform all those sm a ll
d u t i e s w ith th e m ost e x a c t p roprie ty . A s h e is co n sc io u s o l how
much h e i s o bse rved , and how much m ankind arc d is p o s e d to favour ali
h i s in c l in a t io n s , he a c t s , upon th e most indifferent o c c a s io n s , with
that, freedom and e le v a t io n which th e thought of t h i s na tu ra l ly in s p i r e s .
His a ir , h i s manner, h is deportment, a ll mark that e leg an t , and g racefu l
s e n s e of h i s own superiori ty , w hich th o se who a re bom to inferior
s t a t i o n s c a n hardly ev e r arr ive a t . T h e s e are the a r t s by which he
p ro p o se s to make mankind more e a s i ly submit to h i s authori ty , and to
govern th e i r in c l in a t io n s acco rd ing to h i s own p l e a s u re ; and in t h i s
he i s se ldom d isa p p o in te d . T h e s e a r t s , supported by rank and pre
em inence , a re , upon ordinary o c c a s io n s , su f f ic ien t to govern the world. 1

If such v ir tuosi ac tu a l ly e x is t , they would provide a s u i ta b le
group in which to s tudy th e te c h n iq u e s by which ac t iv i ty i s
transform ed into a show.

Idealization

It w a s su g g e s te d ea r l ie r th a t a perform ance of a routine
p re s e n ts through i t s front some ra the r a b s t ra c t c l a im s upon the
aud ience , c la im s th a t are l ike ly to be p resen ted to them during
the perform ance of other rou tines . T h is c o n s t i tu t e s one way
in which a perform ance i s , in a s e n s e , ‘ s o c i a l i s e d , ’ moulded
and modified to fic in to th e unders tand ing and e x p e c ta t io n s

l Adam Smith, T h e T heory o f M oral S e n tim e n ts ( L o n d o n : Henry Bohn,
1853), p . 75.

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of th e soc ie ty in which it is prt-senred. V!’e co n s id e r here
another important a sp ec t o f th is soc ia l iza tion p r o c e s s —the
tendency for performers to offer the ir o b se rv e rs an im pression
tha t i s id e a l iz e d in severa l different ways.

T h e notion th a t a performance p re se n ts an id e a l ize d view
o f the s i tuation i s , o f course , quite common. C o o le y ‘s view
may be taken a s an i l lu s tra t io n :

U we never cried to seem a l i t t le be tter than we are, how could
we improve or ‘ t r a in o u rse lv e s from the ou ts ide in w ard ? ‘ And the
siituc im pulse to show the world a better or id e a l iz e d a s p e c t o f o u rse lv e s
f inds an o rganized exp ress ion in the va r io u s p ro fe s s io n s and c l a s s e s ,
cacli of which h a s to some e x te n t a cant or pose» which i t s members
lissome unco n sc io u s ly , for the most part, but which h a s the effect
o f ,t consp iracy to work upon th e credu li ty of (he re s t of the world.
T h e re i s a can t not only of theology and of philanthropy, but a lso of
law, m edic ine , teach ing , even of s c i e n c c —p erhaps e s p e c ia l ly of sc ie n c e ,
just now since the more u par t icu lar kind of merit i s recognizcd and
admired, the more it I s l ikely to be a s su m ed by the unw or thy .1

T hus , when th e individual p re s e n ts h imself before o thers ,
liis performance will tend to incorporate and exemplify the
offic ia l ly acc red i ted va lues ot the so c ie ty , more so , in fact,
limn d o es h is behaviour a s a whole.

To the degree that a performance h igh ligh ts the common
offic ia l v a lu e s of the soc ie ty in which it occurs , >we may look
upon it , in the manner of Durkheim and 1< adcl iffe-Brown, a s a cerem ony—a s an ex p re ss iv e rejuvenation and reaffirmation of th e moral v a lu e s of the community. Furthermore, in so far a s the ex p re ss iv e b ia s o f perform ances com es to be ac c e p te d a s rea lity , then tha t which i s acce p te d at the moment a s rea li ty will have some o f the c h a r a c te r i s t i c s of a ce lebra tion . To s tay in o n e ’s room away from the p la ce where th e party i s given, o r away from where the p rac ti t ioner a t te n d s to h i s c l ien t , i s to s tay away from where rea l i ty i s being performed. T he world, in truth, i s a wedding. One of the r iches t sou rces of da ta on the p resen ta t ion of idea l ized perform ances i s the li te ra tu re on soc ia l mobility. !Dn most s o c ie t ie s there seem s to be a major or general system of s tra t if ica tion , and in most s t ra t i f ied s o c ie t ie s there i s an idea liza tion of the higher s t ra ta and some asp ira tion on the part of th o se in low p la c e s to move to higher ones . (We must be careful to app rec ia te that th is invo lves not merely a d es ire for a p restigefu l p lace but a lso a des ire for a p lace c lo s e to th e sa c red ce n tre of th e common v a lu e s of the soc ie ty .) Commonly we find that upward mobility involves the p re se n t ation of proper perform ances and that efforts to move upward and efforts to keep from moving downward are ex p re ssed in te rm s of s a c r i f ic e s made for the m ain tenance of front. O nce 1 C h a r le s II. Cooley , Human .\a lure tiad the S neia l Order (New York- Scrib n e r ’s , 1922), pp. 352-353. 23 th e p roper s ign-equipm ent h a s been ob ta ined and familiarity ga ined in th e managem ent of i t , then th is equipment can be used to em bell ish and i l lum ine one’s daily perform ances with a favourab le so c ia l s ty le . P e r h a p s the most im portan t p ie c e o f s ign equipment a s s o c ia te d with so c ia l c l a s s c o n s i s t s o f the s t a tu s sym bols through which m ater ia l w ealth i s ex p re ssed . American so c ie ty i s s im ila r to o th e rs in th i s regard but s e e m s to have been s in g led out a s an ex trem e exam ple o f w ealth-oriented c l a s s s t ru c tu re —p erh a p s b e c a u s e in America the l ic e n c e to employ sym bols o f wealth and f inanc ia l c a p ac i ty to do so are so widely d is tr ibu ted . Ind ian so c ie ty , on the other hand, ’h a s som etim es been c i te d no t only a s o n e in which mobility o c c u r s in te rm s of c a s te groups, not ind iv iduals , but a l so a s one in which perfo rm ances tend to e s ta b l i s h favourable c la im s regard ing non-material v a lu es . A rec en t s tuden t o f India, for example , h a s su g g e s te d th e following: T h e c a s t e 9ystem i s far from a r ig id sys tem in which th e 'p o s i t io n of e ach component i s f ixed for a i i time. Movement h a s a lw a y s been p o s s ib le , and e s p e c ia l ly so in the middle regions o f the hierarchy, A low c a s t e w a s ab le , in a genera tion o r two, to r i se to a higher by adopt ing vege ta r ian ism and tee to ta l) sm, and by S ansk r i t iz ing i t s r i tu a l and pantheon. In shor t , i t took over, a s far a s p o s s ib le , the cuscomsj r i te s , and b e l i e f s of the Brahmins, and the adoption o f the Brahm im c way o f l i fe by a low c a s t e seem s to have been frequent, though th eo re t ica l ly forb idden............. The tendency o f the low er c a s t e s to im ita te th e higher h a s been a powerful factor i n - th e sp re a d o f S an sk r i t ic r i tua l and cus tom s , and in the ach ievem en t of a cer ta in amount of cultura l uniformity, not only throughout the c a s t e s c a l e but over the entire length and breadth of India . 1 In fac t , of course , «there are many Hindu c i r c l e s whose members are much concerned with in je c t in g an exp ress ion of wealth, luxury, and c l a s s s t a tu s in to th e perform ance of their daily round and who think too l i t t l e o f a e s c e t i c purity to bother a f fec t ing it . Correspondingly, there have a lw ays been in fluential g roups in America whose members have felt tha t some a s p e c t o f every perform ance ought to play down the express ion o f s h e e r wealth in order to foster the im pression tha t s ta n d a rd s regarding birth, cu l tu re , or moral e a r n e s tn e s s a re th e o n e s th a t p revail . P e r h a p s b e c a u s e of the o r ien ta t ion upward found in major s o c ie t i e s today , we tend to a s su m e tha t the e x p re s s iv e s t r e s s e s in a perform ance n e c e s s a r i ly claim for the performer a h igher c l a s s s t a tu s than might o th e rw ise be accorded him. For example, • we are not su rp r i sed to learn the following d e ta i l s of p a s t dom estic • perform ances in S co tland : 1M .N .S r in iv a s , Relig ion and Socie ty Among the C oorgs of South India (Oxford: Oxford U nivers i ty P r e s s , 1952), p. 30. 24 O ne th ing i s fairly c e r ta in : th e average la ird and h i s family l ived far more frugally in th e ordinary way than they did when they were en te r ta in in g v is i to r s . They would r ise to a grear occas ion and se rv e d i s h e s rem in is cen t o f the banque ts of the m edieval n o b i l i ty ; but, l ike th o se sam e n o b le s , between the f e s t iv i t i e s they would ‘ keep s e c r e t h o u s e , ' a s the say in g u se d to be, and l ive on the p la in e s t o f fare . T h e s e c re t w a s well guarded. Even Edward Bure, with a i l h i s know ledge o f rhe H igh landers , found it very d if f icu lt to d e s c r ib e the ir everyday m ea ls . All he could sa y def in i te ly w a s that w henever they en te r ta in ed an Englishman they provided far too much food; “ and ," he rem arked, " i t h a s often been sa id they will ransack a l l the ir t en an ts ra the r than we should think meanly of the ir h o u se k e e p in g ; but 1 h ave heard i t from many whom they have e m p l o y e d ............. tha t , a l though they have been a t tended a t d inner by f ive or s ix se rvan ts , ye t , with all th a t s t a te , they have often d ined upon oatm eal varied severa l w ays , p ick led herring, or o ther su c h cheap and indifferent d ie t ." 1 In fact, however, many c l a s s e s of pe rso n s have had many different r e a s o n s for exe rc is ing sy s tem a tic modesty and for underplaying any e x p re s s io n s of wealth , sp ir i tua l s trength , or s e l f - re sp e c t . T h e ignorant, sh i f t le s s , happy-go-lucky manner which N egroes in the Southern S ta te s som etim es felt obliged to a f fec t during in terac t ion with w h i te s i l l u s t r a te s how a performance can play up ideal va lues which acco rd to the performer a lower posit ion than he covertly a c c e p ts for him s e l f . 2 I h ave been told by S he tlanders tha t theic g randfa thers u se d to refrain from improving th e ap p earan ce of the c o t tag e lesc the la ird take such improvements a s a s ign tha t in c re ase d r e n ts could be ex trac ted from them. A th ird example may be quoted from a rec en t study of th e junk b u s in e s s , in which data are provided on the kind of im pression tha t p rac t i t io n e rs feel i t i s opportune for them to foster . . . . . t h e junk pedd le r i s v i ta l ly i n te r e s te d in keep ing information a s to th e true f inancia l v a lue of ju n k ' from the general pub l ic . He w i s h e s to p e rpe tua te the myth th a t junk i s v a l u e l e s s and tha t the ind iv id u a ls who d ea l in i t are down and o u t ’ and should be p i t i e d .3 In a s e n s e such im p re ss io n s are id e a l ize d , too, for i f the performer i s to be su c c e s s fu l h e must offer the kind of s c e n e tha t r e a l i z e s th e o b s e r v e r s ’ extreme s te re o ty p e s of h a p l e s s poverty. * ‘ Marjorie P la n t , T he D o m estic L ife o f S co tla n d in the E ig h tee n th C entury (E d inburgh : Edinburgh U niversi ty P r e s s , 1952), pp. 96-97. 2 A modem v e rs io n of t h i s m asquerade i s desc r ib ed by C h a r le s Johnson , P a ttern s o f N egro Segregation (New York : Harper B tos . , 1943), p. 273: 'W here there i s a c tu a l com peti t ion above the u n sk i l led le v e l s for jobs u su a l ly thought of a s 1 white j o b s ' some N egroes wil l o f the ir own ch o ice a c c e p t symbols of lower s t a tu s while performing work of h igher rank. T h u s a sn ipping c lerk will w ea r o v e ra l l s and a c c e p t the pay an d t i t le of a po r te r ; a c lerk will take the t i t le and pay of a m e s s e n g e r ; a nu rse will permit h e rse l f to be ca l le d a d o m e s t ic ; an d a ch iropod is t wil l en te r the hom es of white p e r s o n s by the back door . ’ 3 1. B. Ra lph , 'T h e Junk B u s in e s s and the Junk P e d d l e r ' (Unpublished M.A. Report , D epartment o f Socio logy, U n ivers i ty of Chicago , 1950), p. 26 . A s i l lu s t r a t io n s o f such ro u t in e s there are p e rh a p s none with so much s o c io lo g ica l charm a s the performance m a in ta ined by s t r e e t beggars . In Western Socie ty , however, s in c e Mayhew’s time, the s c e n e s tha t b eg g a rs 25 I f an ind iv idual i s to give exp ress ion to idea l s ta n d a rd s during h i s perform ance, then h e will have to forgo or concea l ac tion which i s in c o n s is te n t with th e s e s ta n d a rd s . When th is inappropr ia te conduc t i s i t s e l f s a t i s fy in g in some way, a s i s of ten th e c a s e , then one commonly f inds ir indulged in s e c re t ly , so th a t , in a s e n s e , the performer i s ab le to forgo h i s c a k e and ea t i t too. F o r exam ple , in our own so c ie ty we find tha t eight- year-o ld ch ild ren claim lack of in te r e s t in the te lev is io n programmes tha t a re d irec ted to five- and s ix -year-o lds , but Sometimes su r re p t i t io u s ly watch them. 1 We also find tha t m id d le -c la ss h o u se w iv e s som etim es em ploy—in a s e c r e t and su r re p t i t io u s way—c h e ap s u b s t i tu te s for coffee , ice cream, or b u t te r ; in t h i s way they can s a v e money, or effort, or time, and s t i l l mainta in an im press ion th a t the food they se rv e i s of high qua l i ty . 2 T he same women may le av e The Saturday Evening Post on th e i r l in ing room end -tab le but keep a copy of True Romance ( " I t ' s som ething the c lea n in g woman must h ave le f t a r o u n d ” ) concea led in th e ir bedroom. 3 It h a s been s u g g e s te d th a t the sam e sort of behaviour, which we may refer to a s ‘ se c re t co n su m p tio n ’, can be found among the Hindus. T h ey conform to a i i their c u s to m s , w hile they are se e n , but they are no t so sc ru p u lo u s when in th e i r re t irem ent. 4 I h a v e been c redibly informed th a t some Brahams in small com pan ies , have gone very se c re t ly to the h o u se s of Sudras whom they could depend on, to p a r ta k e o f m eat and strong l iquors , which they indu lged in without sc ru p le . s s t a g e se em to h a v e d ec l in ed in d ram atic merit . Today we hea r l e s s of th e ’c l e a n family d o d g e ' in which a family a p p e a rs in ta t te red but in c re d ib ly c l e a n c lo th e s , the f a c e s of th e ch i ld ren g l i s ten in g from a la y e r of so a p th a t has b een p o l i sh ed with a so f t cioch. We no longer see the p e r fo rm an ces in which a ha lf -naked man c h o k e s over a dirty c ru s t of bread tha t he i s apparen tly too w eak to swallow, or the s c en e in which a t a t t e r e d man c h a s e s a sparrow from a p ie c e o f bread, w ip es the morsel s lo w ly on h i s c o a t - s l e e v e , and , a p p a re n d y ob l iv ious co the aud ience th a t i s now around him, a t tem p ts to e a t i t . Rare , too, h a s become the * a sh am ed b e g g a r 1 who meekly im plores with h is e y e s what h i s d e l ica te s e n s i b i l i t i e s apparen t ly p reven t him from say ing . Inc iden ta l ly , the s c e n e s p re se n te d by b egga rs h ave been var iously ca l le d , in English , gr if ts , d odges , l a y s , r a c k e t s , lu rks , p i t c h e s , an d c a p e r s —provid ing us with rerms w el l su i t e d to d escr ibe perfo rm ances tha t have g rea te r l e g a l i t y an d l e s s a r t . Fo r d e t a i l s on b eg g a rs se e Henry Mayhew, London L abour and the London Poor (4 v o l s . ; L o n d o n : Griffin, Bohn), I (1861), pp . 415-417, and IV (1862), pp. 404-438. *Unpuhlished r e s e a rc h repo r ts of Soc ia l R e s e a r c h , In c . , C hicago . I am gratefu l to Socia l R e se a rc h , Inc. , for p e rm iss io n to u se th e s e and other of the ir d a ta in th is report . 2 U npublished r e s e a rc h rep o r ts o f Socia l R e se a rc h , Inc. ^ R epor ted by P ro fe s s o r W. L . Warner of th e U n ivers i ty o f Chicago, in sem inar, 1951. V b,b* j - A -D ubois , C haracter, M anners, and C ustom s o f the P eo p le o f India (2 v o l s . ; P h i lade lph ia ' : M 'Carey & Son, 1818), I, p. 235. 5 Ib id ,, p . 237. 26 T h e s e c re t u se of in tox ica t ing drink i s s t i l l l e s s uncommon than th a t of in te rd ic te d food, b e cau se it i s l e s s difficult to co ncea l . Yet i t i s a thing unheard of to meet a Brahmin drunk in p u b l i c . 1 It may be added that recen tly the Kinsey rep o r ts have added new im petus to the study and a n a ly s i s o f s e c re t consumption. 1 It i s important to note chat when an ind iv idual o ffe rs a performance h e typ ical ly c o n c e a ls som ething more than in appropria te p le a s u re s and econom ies. Some of th e se m a tte rs for concea lm ent may be sugges ted here. F i r s t , we som etim es find th a t in addition to se c re t p le a s u r e s and econom ies, the perform er may be engaged in a profitable form of ac t iv i ty th a t i s concea led from h is aud ience and tha t i s incom patib le with the view of h is ac tiv i ty which he h o p es they will obtain. T h e model here i s to be found with h ila r ious c la r i ty in the cigar-s tore-bookie-jo inr , but some th ing of the sp ir it o f th e se e s ta b l ish m e n ts can be found in many p la ce s . A su rpris ing number of workers seem to jus t i fy the ir jobs to th e m se lv e s by the too ls that can be sto len , or th e food-supp lies that can be reso ld , or the trave ll ing that can be enjoyed on company time, o r the propoganda tha t can be d is t r ibu ted , or the c o n ta c ts tha t can be made and properly in fluenced , e tc . 3 In a l l such c a s e s , p lace o f work and o ffic ia l ac tiv i ty come to be a kind o f she ll which c o n c e a ls th e sp ir i ted life of the performer. Secondly, we find that errors and m is ta k e s are often co rrec ted before the perform ance ta k es p la ce and, at the sam e time, te l l - ta le s ig n s tha t errors have been made and correc ted are th e m se lv es co ncea led . In th is way an im pression of in fa l l ib i l i ty , so important in many p re se n ta t io n s , may be m ain ta ined . There i s a famous remark that doc to rs bury th e ir m is takes . Another example i s found in a recen t d is se r ta tion on soc ia l in te rac t ion in th ree government o ff ices , which s u g g e s ts that o f f ice rs d is l iked d ic ta t in g repor ts to a s tenographer b ec a u s e they liked to go back over their repor ts 1 Dubois, op. c i t . , p. 238. 2 A s Adam Smith su g g e s ted , op. c i t . , p. 88, v ir tues a s well a s v i c e s may be c o n c e a l e d : 'V a i n men often give th em se lv e s a i r s of a fash ionab le p rofl igacy, which, in th e i r h e a r t s , they do not approve of, and of which, pe rhaps , they are rea l ly no t guilty . They des ire to be p ra ised for what they th em se lv e s do not think p ra iseworthy , and are asham ed of unfash ionab le v ir tues , which they som etim es p r a c t i s e in se c re t , and for which they have se c re t ly some deg ree of rea l venera t ion . ' 3 Two re c e n t s tu d e n ts of the so c ia l s e rv ic e worker s u g g e s t the term 'o u t s i d e r a c k e t ' to refe r to s e c r e t so u rc e s o f income av a i lab le to the Chicago P u b l ic C a se Worker. See Earl Bogdanoff and Arnold G la s s , T he S o c io lo g y o f the P u b lic C a se Worker in an Urban Area, unpub l ished M a ste r 's Report , Department o f Socio logy, Universi ty of Chicago , 1953- 27 and correcc the f law s before a s tenographer , le t a lone a superior , saw the reports . 1 Third ly , in those in te rac t io n s where the ind iv idual pre s e n t s a product to o thers, h e will tend to show them only th e end-product, and they will be led i d c o judging him on the b a s i s of som eth ing tha t h a s been f in ished , po l ished , and packaged . In some c a s e s , if very l i t t l e effort w as ac tua l ly requ ired to com plete the o b je c t , t h i s fac t will be concea led . In o the r c a s e s , i t will be th e long, te d io u s hours of lonely labour tha t will be h idden. F o r example, the urbane s ty le a f f e c te d in som e scho la r ly books can be in s t ru c t iv e ly compared with the fev e r ish drudgery the author may have endured in order to com plete the index on tim e and the sq u a b b le s he may have had with h is pu b l ish er in order to in c re a s e the s i z e o f the f irs t le t te r o f h is la s t name a s it ap p e a rs on the co v e r of h is book. A fourth d isc re p an c y between a p p e a ra n c e s and overall rea lity may be c i ted . We find tha t there are many perform ances which could not have been given had not casks been done which were p h y s ic a l ly unclean , sem i- i l lega l , crue l, and de grading in ocher w ay s ; but th e s e d is tu rb ing faces are seldom e x p re s s e d during a perform ance. In H ughes’ cerms, we tend to con c ea l from our aud ience all e v id en c e of 'd i r t y work,’ w hether we do th is work in pr ivate or a l lo c a te co a servanc, co the im personal market, co a legitim ace s p e c ia l i s t , or co an i l l e g i t im a te one. C lo se ly co n n e c ted with the notion o f dircy work i s a fifth d isc re p an c y becween ap p e aran c e and actual accivicy. We find chat if d ie accivicy of an individual i s co embody se v e ra l id e a l scandards, then in order to make a good showing i t i s l ike ly th a t some of th e s e scanda rds will be su s ta in e d in pub lic by che privace s a c r i f ic e of som e of che ochers. Ofcen, of cou rse , che performer will s a c r i f ic e th o se s ta n d a rd s whose l o s s can be co n c ea le d and will make chis sa c r if ice in order co main'cain those s ta n d a rd s whose in adequa te applicacion could not be co n cea led . T hus , if a se rv ic e i s judged on che b a s i s of speed and qual i ty , qualicy i s l ike ly co fall before s p e e d b ec a u s e poor quality can be co n c ea le d but not s low se rv ic e . Similarly, i f accendants in a mental ward are to m aintain order and ac the sam e time noc hit paciencs, and if th is combinacion of scandards i s difficulc co maincain, chen th e unruly pacienc may b e ' n e c k e d ' wich a wet cowel and choked into subm ission in a way chac l e a v e s no v is ib le ev i d e n c e o f miscreacmenc. A bsence of miscreacmenc can be l Blau , op. c i t . , p. 184. 28 faked, not order. 1 Here i t would be incorrec t to be too cynica l. Often we find that if the principal id e a l a im s of an o rganization are to be ach ieved , then it will be n e c e s s a ry at t im es to b y p a s s momentarily o ther id e a ls of the organization , while m ainta in ing the im pression tha t th e s e o ther id e a l s are s t i l l iti force. In such c a s e s , a s a c r i f ic e i s made not for the most v is ib le id e a l but rather for the most leg it im ate ly important one. 2 F ina lly , we find performers ■ often fo s te r the im pression tha t they had ideal m otives for acquir ing the role in which they are performing, tha t they have idea l q u a l i f ica t io n s for th e role, and tha t it w as not n e c e s sa ry for them to suffer any in d ig n i t ie s , in su l ts , and hum ilia t ions, or make any tac i t ly - understood ' d e a l s , ' in order to acquire the role. (While th i s general im pression of sa c red comparability between the man and h is job i s perhaps most commonly fostered by members o f the higher p ro fe ss io n s , a sim ilar elem ent i s found in many o ther fostered im p re ss io n s . ) Reinforcing th e s e idea l im p ress io n s we find a kind of ' r h e to r ic of t ra in ing , ' whereby labour unions, u n iv e rs i t ie s , t rade a s s o c ia t io n s , and other l ic en s in g bod ies require p rac t i t io n e rs to absorb a m ys t ica l range and period of train ing, in part to maintain a monopoly, but in part to fo s te r the im press ion tha t the l ic en c ed p rac ti t ioner i s someone se t apar t from o ther men. 3 And so we find that 1 Robert II .W illoughby, The A tten d a n t in th e S ta te M ental H o sp ita l (un p u b l ished M a s te r 's T h e s i s , Department of Sociology, U n ive rs i ty of Chicago, 1953), p. 44 . Willoughby ad d s , pp. 45-46: 'T h o s e ru le s , regu la t io n s , and o rders which a r e m ost e a s i l y en fo rced a re those which l e a v e tang ib le ev idence of having been e i ther obeyed or d isobeyed , such a s r u le s per ta in ing to the c lean ing of the ward, locking doors, the u se of in tox ica t ing l iquo rs while on d u ty , the u se of r e s t r a in t s , e tc . ’ 2 An i l lu s t ra t ion i s provided in a r ecen t paper on th e N a v y : C h a r le s Hunt P age , 'B u re a u c ra c y ’s Other F a c e , ’ S o c ia l fo r c e s , XXV, p. 9 0 : ' T h i s c h a ra c te r i s t i c (group-imposed s e c re c y ) i s nor en t i re ly a t t r ib u ta b le , by any m eans , to the fear of the members that unsavoury e lem en ts w il l be brought to l igh t . While th is fear a lw ays p la y s some role in keeping off the record the ’ in s id e p i c t u r e ’ of any bureaucracy, it i s to one of the f ea tu re s of rhe informal s t ruc tu re i t s e l f that more importance must be a s s ig n e d . F o r the informal s tructure _se rv es the very s ig n i f ican t ro le o f providing a channel o f circum vention of the formally p re sc r ib e d ru le s and m ethods of procedure . No organ iza t ion f e e l s tha t it can afford to p ub l ic ize th o se m ethods (by which cer ta in problem s are so lved , it i s important to note) which arc an t i th e t ic a l to the o f f ic ia l ly s a n c t io n e d and, in th is c a s e , strongly s a n c t i f ied methods d e a r to the t rad i t io n s of the group. ’ 3 Anthony f te inle in, Pharm acy as a P ro fe ss io n in W isconsin (unpublished Master 's T h e s i s , Department of Socio logy, U niversi ty of Chicago , 1943), reports , p. 89, tha t p h a rm ac is ts feel the fo u ry e a r un iversi ty cou rse required for l ic e n s e is 'g o o d for the p ro fe s s io n ' but tha t some admit th a t a few months of tra ining i s all that i s rea lly needed . T he American army during World War 11 innocently t rea ted t rades such a s pharmacy and_ w atch- repair ing in a purely instrum enta l way and trained e f f ic ien t p rac t i t io n e rs in five or s ix w eeks to the horror of e s ta b l i s h e d members of th ese trades . 29 clergymen g ive the im pression th a t they en tered the church b e c a u s e of a ca ll o f fe l t voca tion , in America tending to concea l the ir in te re s t in moving up so c ia l ly , in Brita in tending to concea l the ir in te re s t in not moving too far down. And again, clergymen tend to g ive the im pression tha t they have ch osen the ir current congregation b e c a u s e of what they can offer i t sp ir i tua l ly and not, a s may in fac t be the c a s e , b e c a u s e the e ld e r s o ffered a good h o u se or full payment o f moving e x p e n se s . Similarly, m edical s c h o o ls in America tend to recruit their s tu d e n ts partly on the b a s i s o f e th n ic orig ins, and ce r ta in ly p a t ien ts , cons ider th i s factor in choos ing the ir do c to rs ; but in th e ac tua l in te rac t ion between docto r and pa t ien t the im pression i s a l low ed to develop that the doctor i s . a doctor b e c a u s e of s p e c ia l a p t i tu d e s a s well a s spec ia l training. Similarly, e x e c u t iv e s often pro jec t an a ir o f com petency and general grasp of th e s i tua tion , blinding th e m se lv e s and o th e rs to the fact that they hold the ir jobs partly b e c a u s e they look l ik e ex e c u t iv e s , not b e c a u s e they can work like e x e cu t iv es . 1 P erform ers may even attempt to g ive the im p ress ion th a t the ir p re se n t po ise and proficiency are som ething they h ave a lw a y s had and that they have neve r had to fumble the ir way through a learn ing period. In te res t ing ly enough, when the s ig n i f ic an c e of unofficial q u a l i f ic a t io n s becom es a scanda l or po li t ica l i s s u e , then a few in d iv id u a ls who are ob trus ive ly lack ing in the informal q u a l i f ica t io n s may be adm itted with fanfare and given a highly v i s ib le ro le a s ev id e n c e o f fair p lay . An im pression of leg it im acy i s th u s c rea ted . 2 I have su g g e s te d tha t a performer te n d s to concea l or underplay th o se a c t iv i t ie s , f ac ts , and m otives which are in com patib le with an id e a l iz e d vers ion of h im self and h is products. In addi t ion , a performer often en g e n d e rs in h is aud ience the be l ie f that he i s re la ted to them in a more ideal way than i s a lw ays the c a s e . Two general i l lu s t ra t io n s may be ci ted . ‘ See, for exam ple , Perrin Stryker, 'H o w E x e c u t iv e s Get J o b s , ’ F ortune , A ugust, 1953, p. 182: F ew e x e c u t iv e s r e a l i z e how c r i t ic a l ly important the ir ph y s ic a l appearance may be to an employer. P la c e m e n t exper t Ann 11 off o b se rv e s tha t em p lo y e r s now seem to be looking for an id ea l ’ Hollywood ty p e . ’ One company r e je c te d a cand ida te b e cau s e he had ' t e e t h tha t were too s q u a r e ’ and o th e r s h ave been d isq u a l i f ied b e c a u s e the ir ea r s s tuck out, or they drank and smoked too heavily during an in terv iew . Racia l and re l ig io u s requ irem ents a l s o a re often frankly s t ip u la ted by em ploye rs .1 2 See, for exam ple , William Kornhauser, ‘ T he Negro Union O f f ic ia l : A study of S ponsorsh ip an d C on tro l , ’ American Journal o f S o c io lo g y , LV11, pp. 443-452, and Scott Greer, 'S i t u a t e d P r e s s u r e s and Functional Role of E th n ic Labor L e a d e r s , ’ S o c ia l F o rces , XXXU, pp .41 -45 . 30 F ir s t , ind iv id u a ls often fos ter the im press ion chat the routine they a re p rese n t ly performing i s the ir only rou t ine or ac l e a s t their most e s se n t i a l one. As p rev iously su g g es ted , the aud ience , in the ir turn, often as sum e tha t the cha rac te r p ro jec ted before them is all there i s to th e ind iv idua l who a c t s out the projec tion for them. As su g g e s ted in the well- known quota tion from William Ja m e s : . . . . we may p ra c t ic a l ly say th a t h e h a s a s many d ifferent so c ia l s e lv e s a s there a re d i s t in c t groups o f p e r s o n s about whose opinion h e c a r e s . He genera l ly show s a dif ferent s id e o f h im self to each o f t h e s e d ifferent groups. Many a youth who i s demure enough before h i s p a re n t s and te a c h e rs , sw ears and sw aggers l ike a pira te among h i s ' t o u g h ' young f r iends . We do no t show o u r s e lv e s to our children a s to our c lub companions , to o u t cus tom ers a s to the labourers we employ, to our own m a s te r s and employers a s to our in t imate friends. 1 As both effec t and enabling c a u s e of th is kind of commitment to the part one i s currently performing, we find tha t aud ience s e g rega tion o c c u r s ; by aud ience segregation the individual en s u r e s tha t those before whom he p la y s one of h is p a r t s will not be the sam e ind iv id u a ls before whom h e p la y s a different part in another se t t ing . A udience segregation a s a dev ice for p ro tec ting fos te red im p re ss io n s will be cons idered later. Here I would l ike only to no te that even if performers a t tem pted to break down th i s seg rega t ion , and th e i l lu s ion th a t i s fo s te red by it, a u d ie n c e s would often prevent such ac tion . T he au d ien c e can s e e a g rea t sav ing of time and emotional energy in the right to trea t the performer a t occupat ional faee-va lue , a s if th e performer were all and only what h is uniform cla im ed him to be. 2 Urb^n life would become un bearably s t icky for som e if every con tac t between two ind iv idua ls e n ta i le d a sh a r in g of personal tr ia ls , worries, and s e c re ts . T h u s if a man w an ts to be served a restfu l dinner, he may seek the se rv ic e of a w a i t re s s rather than a wife. Secondly, performers tend to fos te r the im pression that their current performance of their routine and cheir re la t ionsh ip to their current au d ien c e have som ething sp e c ia l and unique about them. T h e rou t ine ch a rac te r o f the performance i s obscured ( the performer him self i s typ ica l ly unaware of just how routin ized h is performance rea lly is ) and the spon taneous a s p e c t s o f the s itua tion are s t r e s se d . T he m edica l performer provides an obv ious example. As one writer s u g g e s t s : . . . . he must s im u la te a memory. T he pa t ien t , c o n s c io u s of the unique importance of the e v e n ts occu rr ing within him, remembers 1 William Jam es , T he P h ilo so p h y o f W illiam Ja m es (Modern Library ed .; New York : Random House, n. d.), pp . 128-129- 2 1 am grateful to Warren P e te r so n for th is an d other s u g g e s t io n s . 31 every th ing and , in b i s d e l ig h t in te l l in g the doctor about i t , su f fe rs from ' c o m p le te r e c a l l . ’ T he p a t i e n t c a n ’t be l ieve tha t the doc to r d o e s n ’t remember too , and h i s pr ide i s deeply wounded if the la trer a l lo w s him to p e rc e iv e th a t h e d o e s n ’t carry in th e forefront of h is mind p re c i se ly what kind of t a b l e t s he p r e sc r ib ed on h is l a s t v is i t , how many of them to be t ak en and when. 1 S imilarly , a s a rec en t s tudy of Chicago docto rs s u g g e s ts , a genera l p rac t i t ione r p r e s e n t s a s p e c ia l i s t to a pa t ien t a s the b e s t c h o ice on te ch n ic a l g rounds, but in fact the s p e c ia l i s t may have been chosen partly b e c a u s e of co l leg ia l t i e s with th e referring doctor, or b e c a u s e of a sp l i t - fe e arrangement, or b e c a u s e o f som e o ther c l e a r ly defined quid pro quo between the two medical men. 2 In our com mercial l ife th i s c h a ra c te r is t i c o f perform ances h a s been exploited and maligned under the rubric 'p e r s o n a l i z e d s e r v i c e ; ’ in o ther a r e a s of life we make jo k e s about ' t h e b ed -s ide m anner’ o r ' t h e glad han d .’ (We often n eg lec t to mention chat a s perform ers in the ro le of c l ien t we ta c tfu l ly uphold th is p e rso n a l iz in g effect by a t tem pting to g ive the im press ion tha t we have not ' s h o p p e d ’ for the se rv ic e and would not c o n s id e r ob ta in ing it e lsew here .) P e r h a p s it i s our guilt tha t h a s d irec ted our a t ten t ion to t h e s e a r e a s of c r a s s pseudo -gemeinschaft, for there i s hardly a performance, in w hatever a rea of l ife , which does not rely on the persona l touch to exaggera te the u n iq u e n ess of the t r a n s a c t io n s between performer and aud ience . F o r example, we feel a s l igh t d is - appointm ent when we hear a c lo s e friend, whose sp o n ta n eo u s g e s tu re s of warmth w e fe l t were o u r own prese rve , ta lk in t im ate ly with another of h is f r iends ( e sp e c ia l ly one whom we do not know). 3 ^ . E i M . J o a d , 'O n D o c to r s , ' T he N ew S ta tesm a n and N ation , March 7, 1953, pp. 255-256. 2 Solomon, op. c i l . , p. 146. 3 An ex p l ic i t s ta te m e n t of t h i s i s g iven in an ear ly American guide to m anners , T h e C anons o f G ood B re e d in g : or the H andbook o f th e Man o f F a sh io n (P h i la d e lp h ia : L e e and Blanchard , 1839), p. 8 7 : ' I f you have paid a compliment to one man, or h ave used toward h im any e xp ress ion of p a r t ic u la r c iv i l i ty , you should not show the sam e conduc t to any o ther person in h is p re se n c e . For example, if a gen t lem an com es to your house and you te l l him with warmth and i n t e r e s t th a t you ' a r e glad to s e e h im ,’ h e will be p l e a s e d with the a t ten t ion , and will probably thank y o u ; but if he h e a r s you s a y the sam e th ing to twenty o ther peop le , he will not only pe rce ive that your cou r tesy w as worth no th ing , bur he will f e e l some resen tm en t a t hav ing been im posed o n . ' 32 Maintenance of Expressive Control It h a s been sug g e s ted tha t the performer can rely upon h is aud ience to ac c e p t minor c u e s a s a sign of something important about h is performance. T h i s conven ien t fac t h a s an inconven ien t implication . By v ir tue of the same s ign-accepcing tendency, the aud ience may m isunders tand the meaning tha t a cue w as d es ig n ed to convey, or may rea d an em barrassing meaning into g e s tu re s or ev e n ts that were ac c id en ta l , in adver ten t , inc iden ta l or not meant by the performer co carry any meaning w hatsoever. In re sp o n se to th e se communication con t ingenc ie s , p e r formers commonly attempt to exert a kind of synecdoch ic r e spons ib i l i ty , making sure tha t a s many a s p o s s ib le o f the minor e v e n ts in the performance, however instrum enta lly in consequen tia l th e s e e v e n ts may be, will o ccu r in such a way a s to convey either no im pression or an im pression tha t i s com patib le and c o n s is te n t with the overall definition of the s i tua tion that i s being fostered . When the au d ien c e i s known to be se c re t ly scep t ica l of the rea l i ty that i s being im pressed upon them, we have been ready to app rec ia te their tendency to pounce on tr if ling f la w s a s a sign tha t the whole show i s f a l s e ; but a s s tu d e n ts of soc ia l life we have been l e s s ready to a p p re c ia te that even sym pathe tic a u d ien c es can be moment a r i ly d is tu rbed , shocked, and w eakened in the ir faith by the d iscovery of a p icayune d isc re p an c y in the im press ions p resen ted to them. Some of th e s e minor ac c id e n ts and 'un m ea n t g e s tu r e s ' happen to be so ap t ly des igned to give an im pression tha t c o n t ra d ic t s the one fostered by the performer that th e aud ience cannot help but be s ta r t led from a proper degree of involvement in the in te rac t ion , even though the aud ience may re a l iz e tha t in the la s t a n a ly s i s the d iscordant event i s really m e an in g less and ought to be com pletely overlooked. T h e c ruc ia l point i s not tha t the f lee ting definition of the s i tua tion c a u s e d by an unmeant g es tu re i s i t s e l f so blameworthy but ra the r merely that it i s different from the definition offic ia lly projected . T h i s d if fe rence fo rces an acu te ly em barrassing wedge between the offic ia l p ro jec tion and rea lity , for it i s part o f the offic ia l projection tha t it i s the only p o s s ib le one under the c i rcum stances . P e rh ap s , then, we should not an a ly z e perform ances in te rm s of m echanica l s tandards , by which a la rge gain can o ffse t a small lo s s , •or a la rge weight a sm aller one. A rt is t ic imagery would be more accura te , for it p repares u s for the fac t tha t a s ing le note off key can disrupt che tone of an en t ire performance. 33 In our soc ie ty , some unmeant g e s tu re s ock'ur in such ;i wide variety of perform ances and convey im press ions tha t are in general so incom patib le with the o n es being fostered tha t th e se inopportune e v e n ts have acquired co l lec t iv e symbolic s ta tu s . T h ree rough groupings of th e s e e v e n ts may be m entioned. F i r s t , a performer may ac c id e n ta l ly convey in capac ity , impropriety, or d i s r e s p e c t by momentarily los ing m uscular control of himself . He may trip, s tum ble , fall ; h e may belch , yawn, make a s l ip of the tongue, s c ra tc h h imself , o r . b e f la tu le n t ; he may ac c id e n ta l ly impinge upon the body of another partic ipan t. Secondly, the performer may net in such a way a s to give the im pression th a t he i s too much or too l i t t l e concerned with the in terac t ion . l ie may stu t te r , forget h i s l in e s , appear nervous, or guilty , or s e l fc o n sc io u s ; he may give way to inappropria te o u tb u rs ts of laughter, anger, o r o ther k in d s of affect which momentarily in c a p a c i ta te him a s an in te rac t ant ; he may show too much se r ious involvement and in te re s t , or too l i t t le . D iir i ly , the performer may allow h i s p resen ta t ion to su ffe r from in a d eq u a te dramaturgical ilirection. The se t t ing may not have been put in order, or may have become readied for the wrong performance, or may become deranged during the perform ance; unforeseen con t ingenc ie s may c a u s e improper timing of die performer’s arrival or departure or may c a u s e em barrass ing lu l ls to occur during the in te rac t ion . 1 P e rfo rm ances differ, of cou rse , in the deg ree of item by item ex p re ss iv e ca re required of them. In the c a s e of some c u l tu re s foreign to us, we are ready to s e e a high degree of ex p re ss iv e coherence . Granet , for example, ' s u g g e s t s th i s of f ilial perform ances in C h in a : Their f ine to i le t i s in i t s e l f a homage. Tlicir good Jeponm cn t will be accoun ted an offering of r e s p e c t . In the p resence of p a ren ts , gravity i s r eq u is i te : one must therefore be carefu l not to be lch , to sn e e z e , to cough, to yawn, to blow o n e ' s nose nor to sp it . It.very expectora tion would run rlie r i sk of so i l in g rhe parernal sa n c t i ty . It would be a crime to show the l in ing of o n e 's garm ents , lo show the father tha t one i s t rea t ing him a s a ch ie f , one ought a lw a y s to s t a n d in his p r e se n c e , the r y e s r ight, the body upright upon the two legs , never daring to lean 1 One way of hand l ing inadve r ten t d isrup t ions is for the i n tc r a c ta n t s to laugh a t them a s a s i^n thar rhe e x p re ss iv e im p lica t ions of the d isrup t ions have been unders tood but no t taken se rious ly . Assuming th i s , U cr^so n 's e s s a y on laughter can be raken a s a descrip tion o f the ways in which we ex p ec t the performer ro adhere to human c a p a c i t i e s for movement, of the tendency for the aud ience to impure these c a p a c i t i e s to the performer from the s ta r t of the i n f r a c t i o n , and of the ways in which th is e f fe c t iv e pro jection i s d is ru p ted when th e performer moves in a non-human fashion. Similarly, Freud’s e s s a y on wit and the psychopatho logy of everyday life can be taken , a t one l e v e l , a s a descrip t ion of the w ays in w h ich we ex p ec t performers ro have a c h ie v e d cer ta in s ta n d a rd s of t a c t , modesty , and v ir tue , and a s a desc r ip t io n of ways in which th e s e e f fec t ive pro* jec t io n s can be d i sc re d i te d by s l ip s that are h i la r ious to the layman hut symptomatic to a n a ly s t s . 34 upon any ob jec t , nor to bend, nor to s ta n d on one foot. It i s tlgus tha t with the low ami humble v o ic e which becom es a follower, one comes n igh t and morning to pay homage. After which, one w a i t s for o rders . 1 Vte a re a l so to s e e that In s c e n e s involving high p erso n a g es in sym bolica lly important ac t ions , 'c o n s is te n c y , too, will be demanded. ■ Sir F reder ick Ponsonby , la te Equerry a t the B r it ish Court, -writes: 'Vhen 1 a t tended a ' C o u r t ' 1 w as a lw ay s struck by the incongruous music the band p layed, and determ ined to do what 1 could to have th is rem edied . T h e majority of the Household , be ing quite u nm usica l , clamoured for popular a i r s . . . . 1 argued that th e s e popular a i r s robbed the ceremony of all d ignity . A presen ta t ion at C ourt w as often a grear even t in a l a d y ' s l i fe , but if she went p a s t the King a n d Queen to the tune of ' H i s n o se ’«as redde r than it w a s , ' the whole impress ion w a s sp o i l r . 1 m ain ta ined th a t m inuets and o ld-fash ioned airs» opera t ic music with a ' m yster ious 1 touch, were what was wanted . 2 1 a l s o took up the ques t ion of the music p lay ed by the band o f th e guard of honour at in v e s t i t u r e s and wrote to the Senior B andmaster , C ap ta in Rogan, on the su b je c t . What I d i s l ik e d was s e e in g eminent men being knighted while comic so n g s were being p layed by the band o u t s i d e ; a l s o when the Home Secre tary was read ing out im press ive ly some par t icu larly h?ro ic deed which had been performed by a man who w a s to rece ive rhe Albert Medal, the baud o u ts id e p lay ed a two-step , which robbed rhe whole ceremony o f any dignity . I su g g e s ted opera tic music of a dram atic na ture be ing p lay ed , and he en tire ly agreed . . . .■* Similarly, a t m id d le -c la ss American funera ls , a hea rse driver, decorously d re s s e d in black and tac tfu lly lo c a te d a t the out s k i r t s of the cem etery during th e se rv ice , -may be a l low ed to smoke, but h e i s l ike ly to shock and anger the b e r e a v e d ' i f he hap p e n s to flick h is c ig a re t te s tu b into a bush, le t t in g i t d e sc r ib e an e le g a n t arc, ■ in s te a d o f c ircum spectly dropping i t a t h is fee t . 4 In addition to our apprecia tion of the c o n s is te n c y required on s a c re d o c c a s io n s , we readily ap p re c ia te tha t during s e c u la r co n f l ic ts , e s p e c ia l ly h igh-level co n f l ic ts , e ach pro tagon is t w ill have to w atch h is own conduct carefu lly le s t h e g ive th e opposit ion a vu lnerab le point a t which to d irec t c r i t ic ism . T hus , Dale , in d is c u s s in g the work co n t in g e n c ie s o f h igher c iv il s e rv a n ts , s u g g e s t s : An even c lo s e r sc rutiny ( than that accorded to s ta tem ents ) i s app l ied to d ra f t s o f o f f ic ia l l e t t e r s : for an in co rrec t s ta tem en t or an unhappy p h ra se in a l e t te r of which the s u b s ta n c e i s perfec t ly h a rm le ss and rhe su b je c t unimportant may cover th e Department with coofusion i f it h ap p en s to be s e iz e d on by one of th e many p e r so n s to whom the most tr iv ial mist ke of a Government Department i s a dainry d ish ro s e t before the pub l ic . T h re e or four y e a r s of th is d i s c ip l i n e during the s t i l l recep t ive y e a r s from twenty «four ro tw enty-e igh t su f fu se th e mind and ch a ra c te r permanently with a p a s s io n for p r e c i s e f a c t s and c lose in fe ren c es , and wirh a grim d i s t ru s t o f v ag u e g e n e r a l i t i e s . 5 1 Marcel G ranet , C h in e se C iv iliza tio n , t rans . t n n e s and B ra i ls fo rd (London : K egan P a u l , 1930), p. 328. 2 Ponsouby , op. c it , t pp. 182-183. 3 /6irf .p p. 183. 4 l lab en s te in , forthcoming work p rev iously c i ted . 5 Dale, op. ci*., p. 81. 35 In spice of our w i l l in g n ess to ap p re c ia te th e e x p re s s iv e requirem ents of chese se v era l k inds of sicuacions, we tend co s e e th e s e s i t u a t io n s a s sp e c ia l c a s e s ; we tend to blind o u r se lv e s co the fac t that everyday secu la r perform ances in our own Anglo-American so c ie ty must often p a s s a s tr ic t t e s t of a p tn e s s , f i tn e s s , propriety, .and decorum. P e rh a p s th is b l in d n e ss i s partly due to the fact tha t a s performers we are o ften more c o n s c io u s of the s ta n d a rd s which we might have app l ied to our ac tiv i ty buc have noc than of the s ta n d a rd s we un thinkingly apply. In any c a s e , a s s tu d e n ts we must be ready to examine the d is so n a n c e c rea ted by a m isspe l led word, or by a s lip th a t i s noc qu ite c o n c ea le d by a sk i r t ; and we m us t be ready to a p p re c ia te why a n ea r -s igh ted plumber, to pro tec t the im press ion o f rough s trength th a t i s de rigueur in h i s pro fess ion , . f e e l s i t n e c e s sa ry to sweep h is s p e c ta c le s into h is p o ck e t ,w h e n the housew ife’s approach ch an g es h i s work into a perform ance, or why a te lev is io n repairman i s ad v ised by h i s pub lic r e la t io n s c o u n s e ls thac che sc re w s he f a i l s co puc back inco the se t should be kepc a longs ide h is own so chat the u n rep iaced p a r ts will not give an improper im press ion . In other words, .we must be prepared to s e e tha t the im pression of rea l i ty fo s te red by a performance i s a de l ica te , fragile th ing th a t can be sh a t te re d by very minor m ishaps. T h e e x p re s s iv e co h e ren ce that is required in perform ances p o in ts out a cruc ia l d isc repancy between our all-too-human s e lv e s and our so c ia l iz e d s e lv e s . A s human beings we are presumably c re a tu re s of var iab le impulse with moods and en e rg ie s th a t ch a n g e from one moment to the next. As c h a ra c te r s pu t on for an aud ience , however, we must not be su b je c t to u ps and downs. A s Durkheim su g g es ted , we ‘ the
Kasic unit.

It has been sugges ted that the ob ject of a perlormer is
to su s ta in a par t icu lar definition of the s i tua tion , th is
rep resen ting , a s i t were, h is claim as to what rea lity is.
As a one-man team, with no team-mates to inform of his
dec is ion , he can quickly dec ide which-of the ava ilab le s tands
on a matter to take and then wholeheartedly ac t as if his
choice were the only one he could possib ly have taken. And
his choice of position may be nicely ad justed to his own
par t icu lar s ituation .

When we turn front a one-man team to a larger one, the
cha rac te r of the reality that is espoused by the team changes .
Ins tead o f a rich definition of the s ituation , rea lity may become
reduced to a thin party line, for we may expect the l ine to
be unequally congenial to the members of the team. We may
expect ironic remarks by which a team-mate jokingly re je c ts
the line while se r ious ly accep t ing it. On t h e . other hand,
there will be the new factor of loyalty to one’s team and
one’ s team-mates to provide support for the team ’s line.

It seem s to be generally felt tha t public d isagreem ent
among the members of the team not only in c ap a c i ta te s them
lor united action but a lso em barra sses the rea l i ty sponsored
by the team. To protect th is im pression of reality , members
of the team may be required to postpone taking public s tands
until the posit ion of the team has been se t t le d ; and once
the team’s s tand has been taken, al l members may be obliged
to follow it. 1 An i llustra tion may be taken from the civil
s e r v i c e :

Ac such committees (Cabinet Committee meetings) civil se rv an ts
sh a re iu the d i s c u s s io n s and ev p rcss their v iews freely, sub je c t to
one qualif icat ion : they will not directly oppose theit own Minister.
The poss ib i l i ty of such open d isagreement very rarely a r i s e s , and
ou^ht never co 3 r i s e : in nine c a s e s out of Len, the Minister and the
c i v i l se rvant who a t tends the c jn m i tc c e with him have agreed before
hand what line is ro be taken , and in che tenth the civil se rvan t who
d isa g re e s with h i s M in i s t e r s view on a par t icu lar point will stay
3wav from the meeting where it i s co be d isc usse d . 2

Another i l lu s tra t ion may he c i ted from a recen t study
power structure of a smnlL c i ty :

If one has been en^a^cd in community work on any s c a l e a t a l l ,
Si: is impressed over and over with whac might be termed the ’ principle
ol unanim ity .’ \Mien policy i s finally formulated by the leade rs in
the community, chere is an immediace demand on their part for s t r ic t
conformity o f opinion. O ec is ions are not usually arrived at hutr iedly.
There i s ample time, parcicularly among (he top leaders , lor d isc u ss io n
of most p ro jec ts before a s ta te of action is se t . T h is is true for
community p ro jec ts . When the time for d iscuss ion i s p as t and che
l ine i s se t , rhen unanimity i s cal led for. P re s s u re s are put upon

1 I’he question of the amount of ’Soviet se lf-crit ic ism* that i s allowed,
and from whom it i s al lowed, before che te a m ‘s posit ion is announced
is not here a t i s sue .

2 Pale , op. c it , p. 141.

53

d is s e n te r s , and the p ro jec t i s under way. 1

However, unanimity i s often not the so le requirement of
the team’s projec tion . T here seem s to be a general fee ling
that the most rea l and solid th ings in life are o n e s whose
descr ip tion ind iv idua ls independently agree upon. We tend
to feel tha t if two p a r t ic ip a n ts in an event lec’ide to be a s
hones t a s they can in recounting it, then the s ta n d s they
take will be ac cep tab ly s im ilar even though they do not
consu lt ode another prior to their p resen ta t ion . Intention
to tell the truth presumably makes such prior consu lta t ion
unnecessa ry . And we a l so tend to feel that if the two
ind iv iduals wish to tell a l ie or to s la n t the version of the
event which they offer, then not only will it be n ec es sa ry
for them to consu lt with one another in order, a s we say,
‘ to get their story s t ra ig h t , ’ but it will a l so be n ec es sa ry
to conceal th e fac t th a t an opportunity for such prior
consu lta t ion was av a i la b le to them. In other words, in s tag ing
a definition of the s ituation , it may be nec es sa ry for the
severa l members of the team to be unanimous in the pos i t ions
they take and se c re t iv e about the fact that these pos it ions
were noc independently arrived at. (Inc identa lly , if the
members of the team are a l s o engaged in m ainta ining a show
o f se lf- respec t before one another, it may be n e c e s sa ry for
the members of the team to learn what the line is to be, and
take it, without adm itting to them se lves and to one another
the ex ten t to which cheir posit ion is not independently arrived
at, but such problems carry us somewhat beyond the team-
performance a s the bas ic point of reference.)

It should be noted that just a s a team-mate ought to wait

1 Floyd i iunter, Community Power Structure (Chapel H i l l : Universi ty of
Notch Carolina P r e s s , 1953)» p. 181. See a ls o p. 118 and p. 212. Open
d isagreem ent in front of the aud ience c rea tes , a s we say, a fa lse note.
It may be s u g g e s te d tha t l i te ra l fa lse no tes arc avoided tor quite the
sa m e re a so n s that figurative fa lse n o te s are avo ided ; in both c a s e s it
i s a matter o f s u s ta in in g a definition of the s i tuation. T h is may be
i l lu s t r a ted from a brief book on the work problems of the professional
concer t -n r t is t accom pan is t , Gerald Moore, f h e Unashamed Accom panis t
(New York: Macmillan, 1944), p* 6 0 :

* The n ea res t that she singer and p ia n is t can get to an ideal perform
a n c e i s to do cxactly what the composer w ants , yet sometimes rhe singer
will require h i s partner to do something which is in flat contradict ion
to the com poser ‘s markings, l ie will want an a cce n t where there should
be none, he will make a f irmala where it i s not needed , he w»ll make
a rallentando when it should be a tempo’, he will be forte when,he
shou ld be p i a n o : he may se n t im en ta l ize when the mood should be
nobilmente.

‘ The l i s t i s by no means exhaus ted . The singer will sw ear with
h i s hand on h is heart and tea r s in h is e y es that he d o es and a lw ays
a im s to do exact ly what the composer h a s writ ten . It i s very awkward.
If he s in g s i t one way and the p ian is t plays it another way the result
is chao t ic . D isc uss ion may be of no avai l . Dut what i s an accom panis t
to do ?

‘ At the performance he must be with the s inge r , but a f terwards let
him e r a s e the memory of it from h i s mind . . . ‘

54

for the official woH before taking his stan.l, so the official
word ought to be made ava i lab le to him so that he can play
h is part on the team and feel a part of it. To withhold from
a teaii-m ate information about the s tand h is team i s taking
i s to withhold his charac te r from him, for without knowing
what s tand he will be taking he may not be ab le to a s se r t a
se lf to the audience. Thus, if a surgeon is to operate on a
pat ien t referred to him by another doctor, common courtesy
may oblige the surgeon to te l l the referring doctor when the
operation will be and, if the referring doctor does not appear
at the operation, to te lephone him the resu lt of the operation.
By thus being ‘ f i l l e d in , ’ the referring doctor can, more effec t
ive ly than otherwise, p resen t himself to the pa t ien t’s kinsfolk
a s someone who i s partic ipa ting in the medical action. 1

I would like to add a further general fac t about maintaining
the l in e during a performance. When a member of the team
makes a m istake in the p resence of the audience, we often
find tha t the other team members must su p p ress their immediate
des ire to punish and instruc t the offender until, tha t is, the
audience i s no longer present. After all, immediate correc tive
sanction ing would often only d is tu rb the in te raction further
and, a s previously suggested , make the audience privy to n
view that ought to be reserved for team-mates. Thus, tn
authoritarian organizations, where a team of superord ina tes
m ainta ins a show of being right every time and of p o sse ss in g
a united front, there is often a s t r ic t rule that one super
ordinate must not show hosti l i ty or d is re sp ec t toward any
other superordinate while in the p resence of a member of the
subord inate team. Army officers show co n sen su s when before
en l is ted men, parents when before children, 2 managers when
before workers, n u rse s when before pa t ien ts , 3 and the like.
Of course , when the subord ina tes are absent, open, violent

1 fn commenting on how some Chinese merchants se t the price of iheit
goods according to the appearance of the customer, C heste r Holcombe,
The R e a l Chinaman (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1895), p. 293, g o e s on to
say :

‘O n e pecu l ia r r e su l t of th is study of a customer is se en in th e fact
that i f a person en te rs a s to re in China, and, a f te r examining severa l
a r t ic les , a s k s the price of any one of them, u n le s s i t is posit ively
known that h e h a s spoken to but one clerk, no answ er will be made by
him to whom the question i s put until every other clerk h a s been asked
i f he lias named a p rice for the a r t ic le in question io the gentleman.
If, a s very rare ly happens , this important precaution Is neg lec ted , the
sum named by different c le rk s will a lm ost invar iably be unlike, thus
showing that they fail to agree in the ir e s t im a tes of the customer.*

2 An in te res t ing dramaturgical difficulty in the family is that sex and
lineal so lidar i ty , ‘which c ro ss -cu t conjugal so l idar i ty , make it di fficult
for husband and wife to ‘ b a c k each other u p ’ in a show of authority
before children or a show of e i ther d is tan c e or familiar ity with extended
kin. As p rev iously suggested , such c ross -cu t t ing l ines of affi l iation
prevent the widening of s t ruc tu ra l c leavages .

3 Taxel, op. e i l . , pp. 53-54.

55

cr i t ic ism may and d o es occur. For example, in a recen t study
of the teach ing pro fess ion , it was found that te ac h e rs felt tha t
if they are to s u s ta in an im pression of p rofessional com petence
and ins t i tu t iona l authori ty , they must make sure tha t when
angry paren ts come to the school with com plain ts , the principal
will support the posit ion of h is staff , a t l e a s t until the paren ts
h a / e left . 1 Similarly, te ac h e rs feel strongly chat their fellow-
te ac h e rs ought not to d isa g re e with or contrad ic t them in front
of s tuden ts . ‘ J u s t l e t ano ther teacher ra ise her eyebrow funny,
just so they (the ch ild ren) know, and they don’t miss a tiling,
and the ir r e sp e c t for you goes right aw ay .’ 2 Similarly, we
learn that the m edical p ro fess ion has a s t r ic t code of e t iquet te
whereby a con su l ta n t in the p re se n c e of the pat ien t and h is
doctor i s careful never to say anything which would em barrass
the im pression of com petence that the p a t ie n t ’s doctor is
attem pting to maintain. A s H ughes s u g g e s ts , ‘T h e
(p ro fess ional) etiquette is a body of r itua l which grows up
informally to p reserve , before the c l ie n t s , the common front
o f the p ro fe ss io n .’ 3 And, of cou rse , this kind of so lidarity
in the p resence of subo rd ina tes a l s o occurs when performers
are in the p resence of superord ina tes . F o r example, in a
recen t s tudy of the po lice we le a m th a t a patro lling team of
two policem en, who w itness each other’s i l lega l and sem i
i l lega l a c t s and who are in an ex c e l len t posit ion to d isc red it
each o ther’s show of legali ty before the judge, p o s s e s s heroic
so lida r i ty and will s t ick by each o the r ’s story no matter what
a troc i ty it cove rs up or how l i t t l e chance there is o f anyone
be l iev ing it . 4

It i s apparent that if performers are concerned with main
ta in ing a line they will s e le c t a s team-mates those who
can be trusted to perform properly. T hus children of the
house are often excluded from performances given for g u es ts
of a dom estic es tab l ishm en t b ec au se often cnil iren cannot
be t rus ted to ‘b e h a v e * them se lves , i . e . , to refrain from acting
in a way in c o n s is te n t with the impr’ession tha t i s being
fostered . 6 In fact, ch ild ren must often be excluded from

1 Howard S. B ecker, *The T e a c h e r in the Authority System of the P ub l ic
Schoo l , ‘ Journal o f Educa t iona l Soc iology, XXVII, 134.

*!bi<(., from an interview, p. 139. 3 E. C .H u g h e s , 'I n s t i tu t io n s ,* N e w Outl ine o f the Princip les o f Socio logy , ed. Alfred M .L e e (New York : Barnes and Noble 1946), p. 273- ** William Westley, 'T h e P o l i c e ' (Unpublished Ph.D. d is s e r ta t io n , Depart ment of Sociology, U niversi ty of Chicago , 1952), pp. 187-196. 5 In s o far a s children are defined a s 'non-persons* they have some l ic c n c e to commit gauche a c t s without requir ing the aud ience to take the ex p re ss iv e im p lica t ions of th ese a c t s too se r ious ly . However, 56 goss ip and from adm iss ions on the par: of older members of the family, s in c e one can never he sure to whom o n e ’s children will convey o n e ’s s e c re ts , so that it will be only when the ch i ld a r r ives at the age of d iscre tion that the vo ices of his p a re n ts will c e a s e to drop a s he en te rs the room. Similarly, those who are known to become in tox ica ted when drink is ava i lab le and who become verbose or ' d ifficult ’ when chis o c c u r s cons t i tu te a performance risk, a s do those who are sober but foolishly ind iscree t , and those who refuse to 'e n te r into the s p i r i t ’ of the occas ion and help sus ta in the impression that the g u e s ts tac it ly un ite in maintaining to the host. 1 have sugges ted that in many interaction se t t in g s some of the pa r t ic ipan ts co-operate together a s a team or are in a posit ion where they are dependent upon th is co-operation in order to maintain a particular definition of the s ituation . Now when we study concrete soc ia l e s ta b l ish m e n ts we often find tha t there will be a significant se n se in which all the remain ing par t ic ipan ts , in their several performances of response to the team-show put on before them, will them se lves con s t i tu te a team. Since each team will be p lay ing through i t s routine for the other, we may speak of dramatic in teraction, not dramatic ac tion , and we can see th is in teraction not a s a medley of a s many voices a s there are p a r t ic ipan ts but rather as a kind of dialogue and interplay between two teams. I do not know of any general reason why in teraction in natural s e t t in g s usually takes the form of two-team interplay, or is reso lvab le into th is form, instead of involving a larger number, but em pirically th is seem s to be the case . Thus, in large soc ia l e s tab l ishm en ts , where several different s ta tu s grades prevail, we find that for the duration of any particular inter action, p a r t ic ip a n ts of many different s ta tu s e s are typically expected to al ign them se lves temporarily into two team group ings. For example, a l ieu tenant on an Army post will in on1, s i tua tion find himself aligned with al l the officers and opposed to all en l is te d men; at other t im es he will find him self aligned with junior o fficers, presenting with them a show for the benefit of senior officers present. There are , of course , a s p e c t s of cer ta in in te rac t ions for which a two-team model is apparently not su i tab le . Important elem ents, for example, o f arbitra tion hearings seem to fit a three-team model, and a s p e c ts of some com petitive and ' s o c i a l ’ s i tua t ions suggest a multi-team model. It should a lso be made c lea r that whatever the number of teams, there will be a s e n s e in which the whether trea ted a s non-persons or not , children are in a position to d is c lo s e crucia l s e c re ts . 57 in te raction can be ana lysed in terms of the co-operative effort of all p a r t ic ipan ts to maintain a working co nsensus . If we treat an in teraction a s a dialogue between two teams, ic will som etim es be convenien t to ca ll one team the performers and to call the other team the aud ience o r the obse rve rs , neg lec t ing momentarily that the aud ience , too, will be p resen t ing a team-performance. In some c a s e s , a s when two one-person team s in te rac t in a public ins t i tu tion or in the home of a mutual friend, it may be an arbitrary cho ice a s to which team to ca ll the performer and which to call the audience. In many important s o c ia l s i tu a t io n s , however, the so c ia l s e t t in g in which the in teraction occurs is assem bled and managed by one of the te am s only, and co n tr ib u tes in a more intimate way to the show th is team p u ts on than to thfe show put on in response by the other team. A cus tom er in a shop, a cl ienc in an office, a group of g u es ts in the home of the ir h o s t s —these persons put on a performance and maintain a front, but the se t t in g in which they do th is i s ou ts ide of cheir immediate control, being an in tegral part o f the presen ta t ion made by those into whose p re se n ce they have come. In such c a s e s , it will often be convenien t co ca l l the team which con tro ls the se t t ing the performing team, and to call the other team the audience. So, too, it will som etim es be .conven ien t to label a s performer the team which con tr ibu tes the most ac tiv i ty co the in teraction, or p lays the more d ram atically prominent part in it, or s e t s che pace and d irection which both team s will follow in their in te rac t iv e d ialogue. T he obvious point muse be s ta ted chat if the team is co su s ta in che im pression chat ic i s fostering, then chere must be some a s su ra n c e that no individual will be allowed to join boch team and audience. T hus , for example, if the propri etor of a small American l a d i e s ’-ready-to-wear i s to put a d re ss on s a l e and tell h is cus tom ers that it i s marked down b ec au se of so ilage , or end of the se ason , or la s t of a line, e tc . , and conceal from her tha t ic i s really marked down b ecause it won’t se ll , or i s a bad colour,- or s ty le , and if he i s ro im press her by calking about a buying office in New York which he does not have or an adjustm ent manager who i s rea lly a sa lesg i r l , then he must make sure chac if he finds i t n ec es sa ry co hire an extra girl for part-time work on Saturday he does not hire one trom che neighbourhood who has been a custom er and who will soon be one again. 1 It i s often felt tha t control of the se t t ing is an advantage 1 T h e se I l lu s t ra t io n s are taken from George Rosenbaum, 'An Analysis of P e r so n a l iza t io n in Neighbourhood Apparel R e ta i l in g ’ (Unpublished M. A. t h e s i s , Department of Sociology, Universi ty of Chicago, 1953), pp. 86-87- 58 during in terac t ion . la a narrow se n se , th is control a llows a team to introduce s t ra teg ic dev ices for determining the inform ation the audience i s able to acquire. Thus, if Joctors are to prevenc cance r p a t ie n ts from learning the identity of their d isease , it will be useful to sc a t te r the c a n ce r pa t ien ts throughout the hosp ita l so that they will not be ab le to learn from the iden ti ty of their ward the identity of the ir disorder. (The hosp ita l s taff , incidentally , may be forced to spend more time walking corridors and moving equipment because of th is s taging s tra tegy than would otherw ise be n ecessa ry .) Similarly, the master barber who regu la tes the flow of appoint ments by means of a scheduling took open to h is public is in a position to pro tec t h is coffee-break by f illing a properly- timed appointment with a dummy code name. A p rospective customer can then se e for h imself tha t it will not be p o ss ib le for him to have an appointment a t that time. 1 So, too, if any member of a hotel s taff is su sp ic io u s of the in ten tions or charac ter of a gues t couple, a sec re t signal can be given to the bellboy to 'th row the la tc h .1 T h is i s s imply a device which makes it e a s ie r for employees to keep an eye on suspec ted par t ies . After rooming the couple, the bellman, in c lo s ing the door behind him, pushes a t iny button on the in s i J c of the knob handle. T h is turns a l i t t le tumbler ins ide the lock and makes a black str ipe show a g a in s t the c ircular cen te r of the la tch on the outside . U*s in consp ic uous enough so a s not to be no t iced by the gu es t , but maids, patrols, w a i te r s and bellmen are all tra ined to watch for them . . . and to report any loud conversa tions or unusual occurrences vyhich take p lace behind them. 2 More broadly, control of the se tting may give the contro l l ing team a se n se of security . As one studenc suggests- concerning the pharm acis t-doctor re la t ion : T h e score i s another factot. T he doctor often comcs to the p h a rm a c is t ' s s tore for medicine, for b i t s of information, fot conversation. In these co nversa tions the man behind the counter has approximately the sam e advantage th a t a s ta n d in g speaker h a s ove t a s i t t ing audience ^ i An in te res t ing u se of s e t t in g and props is reported in a newspaper a r t ic le on so ro t i t ie s , Joan Beck, * t h a t ’s \fcrong with Sorority Rush ing?’ Chicago Tribune Magazine, January 10, 1954, pp. 20-21, where a descrip t ion is given of how the sorority s i s t e r s , who give a tea for p rospec t ive members, are ab le to sort out good p ro sp ec ts ftom bad without g iving the impression that g u es ts of the house are being treated d if feren t ia l ly : *u Even with recommends, i t ' s hard to remember 967 g i r l s by just meeting them for a few minutes in a rece iv ing l in e ,” admitted Carol. MSo w e 've worked out this gimmick to se p a ra te the good ones from the dull c h a rac te r s . Ae have three trays for the ru sh e e s ' ca l l ing c a r d s - one fot golden g ir ls , one for look~agains, one for po ts . ' " T h e ac t iv e who i s talk ing with the ru shee a t the party is supposed to e sco r t her subtly to the appropriate tray when s h e ' s ready to l r a v ^ her c a rd ,” Carol continued. " T h e rushees never figure out what w e’re doing !-1 2 Dev C o llans , with Stewart Sterling, / A House D e te c t iv e (New York: Dutton, 1954), p. 56. E l l ip s i s dots the author 's . ^ e i n l e i n , op. c i t . , p . 105. 59 One thinj; chat con tr ibu te s co th is feeling of che independence of the p h a rm a c i s t ' s medical p rac t ice i s his store. The store is , in a s e n s e , a part of the pharmacist- J u s t a s Neptune i s pictured a s r i s in g from th e s e a , while a t the same time being che s e a ; s o in the p harm aceu t ica l e th o s there is a v ision of a dignified pharm acist t irwering above sh e lv e s and counters of bott les auu equipment, while a t the same time being part of thoir e s s e n c e . 1 A price must, of course , be pa id for che privilege of giving a performance on one’s home ground; one has che opportunicy o f conveying information abouc o n ese lf through s c e n ic means but no opportunity of co ncea l ing the kinds of faccs chac are conveyed by scenery . When we examine a ceam-performance, we often find that som eone i s g iven che r ight to direct and control the progress o f the dramatic ac t ion . T he equerry in court e s tab l ish m e n ts i s an example. Sometimes th e individual who dominates the show in th is way and is , in a se n se , the d irector o f it, p lays an ac tu a l part in the performance he d irec ts . In general, the members of the team will differ in the w ays and the degree to which they are allowed co direcc che performance. Ic may be noted, inc iden ta lly , that, dramaturgically s p e a k in g , . the s tructura l s im ila r i t ie s of apparently d ive rse routines are n ic e ly re f lec te d in the like-m indedness that a r i s e s in d irec tors everywhere . Whether ic i s a funeral, a wedding, a bridge party, a one-day sa le , a hanging, or a p icnic, • che d irec tor may tend to see the performance in terms of whether or not i t went ' s m o o th ly , ’ ' e f f e c t i v e ly ,1 and 'w i th o u t a h i tc h , ’ and 1 Weinlein, op . c i t . , pp. 105-106. A n ice l i terary i l lustra t ion of the e i fcc ts of being robbed of control over o n e s own se tr ing i« g iven in l*ranz Kafka, The Trial (Ne-* York: KjTopf, 1948), pp. 14-15, where K . s meeting with th e authori ties ' in h is own boarding house is d e s c r ib e d : ’ VS hen he w as fully d re ssed he had to walk, with Uillem trending nn h is h ee ls , through the nex t room, which was now empty, into the adjoining one, whose double doors were flung open. This room, ns K. knew quite well , had tecencly l>ecn taken by a Fraulcin Uursrner, a
ty p is t , who went very early to work, cam e home lace, and with whom he
hud exchanged l i t t le more dian few words in pass ing . Mow the n ight-
table bes ide her bed had been pushed into die middle of the floor to
s e rv e a« d esk , and the In spec to r w a s s i t t in g behind it . lie had c ro sscd
h i s le g s , and one arm w as re s t in g on the back of the chair .

. . . . ’ ” J o s e p h K. ? ” a sked the inspector , pe rhaps merely to draw
K-’s d is t rac ted g lance upon h im self . K. nodded. “Y o u a re presumably
very surpr ised a t the even ts of th is m o rn in g ? ” a s k e d che inspector,
with both hands rearranging the few th ings that lay on the oigltt-table,
a cand le and a matchbox, a book and a p incushion, as if they were ob jec ts
which he required for h i s interrogation. “ C e r ta in ly , n said K., and he
w as fi l led with p le a s u re a t having encountered a se n s ib le man at las r ,
w ith whom he could d i s c u s s the matter. * C erta in ly , I am surpr ised ,
but I am by rro means very su rp r ised .” “N o t very s u r p r i s e d ? ” a sked
the inspector , s e t t in g the candle in the middle of the table and dicn
grouping the other th ings around it . “ P erhaps you m isunders tand me,*
K. has ten ed ro add. * [ m e a n ” —here K. s topped and looked round him
for a c h a i r —” I suppose 1 may s i t down ? ” he a sk”d . ” l t ‘s not u s u a l ,”
answ ered the Inspector . ‘

60

whether or not all p o ss ib le d isruptive con t ingenc ies were
prepared for in advance.

tn many perform ances two important functions must be
fulfilled, and if the team has a director he will often be given
the sp e c ia l duty of fulfilling these functions.

F i rs t , the director may be given the sp e c ia l duty of bring
ing baclc into line any member of the team whose performance
becomes unsu itab le . Soothing and sanc tion ing are the
co rrec tive p ro c e s se s ordinarily involved. The role of the
baseba ll umpire in su s ta in ing a particu lar kind of rea lity
for the fans may be taken a s an i l lustra tion .

All umpires i n s i s t that p layers keep them se lves under control, and
refrain from gescures th a t ref lec t concempt for the ir d ec is io n s . 1

I ce r ta in ly had blown off my sha re of s team as a player, and I
knew there had to be a sa fe ty va lve for r e le a se of the terrif ic tension.
As nn umpire 1 could sympathize with the p laye rs . Gut a s an umpire
I had to dec ide how for I could le t a player go without delaying the
r.Amc and without permitt ing him to insult , a s s a u l t , or r id icu le me
and be l i t t le the game. Handling trouble and mea on the field w as
j s important a s ca l l ing them t ig h t—and more difficult .

It i s ea sy for any umpire to thumb a man out of the game. It i s
often a much more difficult job to keep him in the game—to understand
and an t ic ip a te h i s complaint so that a nas ty rhubarb cannot develop. 2

I do not to lera te clowning on the field, and ne i th e r will any other
umpire. C om edians belong on the s tage , or on te lev is ion not in
baseba l l . A t raves ty or burlesque of the game can only cheapen it,
and a lso hold the umpire up to scorn- for allowing such a ske tch to
t a k e p lace . T h a t ’s why you will se e the funnymen and wise guys
ch a s e d a s soon a s they begin their routine. 3

Often, of course , the d irector will not so much have to smother
improper affect as he will have to s t im ula te a show of proper
affective involvement; ‘ s p a rk in g the sh o w ’ i s the phrase
sometimes employed for th is cask in Rotarian c irc les .

Secondly, the d irector may be given the sp e c ia l duty of
a l loca ting the pa r ts in the performance and the personal front
that i s employed in each part, for each es tab l ishm ent may
be seen a s a p la ce with a number of charac te rs to d ispose
of to p rospec tive performers and as an assem blage of sign
equipment or ceremonial paraphernalia to be a l loca ted .

It i s apparent tha t if the d irector co rrec ts for improper
ap p e aran c es and a l lo c a te s major and minor prerogatives,
chen other members o f the ream (who are l ike ly to be concerned
with the show they can put on for one another as well a s
with the show they can co l lec t ive ly s tage for the audience)
will have an a t t i tude toward the d irector that they do not
h ave toward the ir other team-mates. Further, if the audience

1 P in e l l i , op. c it . , p. H I .
2 Ibid., p. 131.
3 I b i d , p. 1 39 .

61

ap p re c ia te s that the performance has a Jirector, they are
l ike ly to hold him more respons ib le chan other performers
for the s u c c e s s of the performance. The direc tor is likely
to respond to th is responsib il i ty by making dramaturgical
dem ands on the performance that chey might not make upon
th e m se lv es . This may add to the es trangem ent they may
already feel from him. A director, hence, s ta r t in g a s a member
of the team, may find himself slowly edged into a marginal
role between audience and performers, half in and half out of
both camps, a kind of go-between without the protection that
go-betw eens usua lly have. T he factory foreman h a s been
a recen tly d is c u s se d example. 1

When we study a routine which requ i tes a team of several
performers for i t s p resen ta tion , we sometim es find tha t one
member of the team i s made the star, lead , o r cen tre o f
a t ten t ion . We may s e e an extreme example of th is in trad i
t ional court l ife , where a room full o f court a t tendan ts will
be arranged in the manner of a living tab leau , s d that the
eye, s ta r t in g from any point in the room will be led to the
royal cen tre o f a t ten tion . The royal s ta r o f the performance
may also be d re sse d more spec tacu la r ly and se a te d higher
than anyone e l s e presen t. An even more sp e c ta cu la r centring
of a t tention may be found in the d ance arrangements of large
musical com edies , in which forty or fifty dancers are made
to p ros tra te th e m se lv es around the herpine. In general, we
find th a t th o se who help p resen t a team-performance differ
in the degree of dramatic dominance given each of them and
tha t one team-routine differs from another in the ex ten t to
which d if fe ren t ia ls in dominance are given i t s members.

T h e conception of dramatic and d irec tive dominance,
a s con tra s t ing ty p e s of power in a performance, can be
applied, mutatis mutandis, to an in te rac t ion a s a whole,
where it will be p o ss ib le to point out which of the two team s
lias more of which of the two types of power a n J which per
formers, taking the par t ic ipan ts of both team s all together,
le ad in th e s e two regards.

Frequently , of course , we may expect that the performer
or team which h a s one kind o f dominance i s l ikely a l so to
to have the other, but th i s is by no means a lw ays the case .
F o r example, during the showing o i the body at a funeral
home, usua lly the soc ia l se t t ing and all par t ic ipan ts , in

1 See, for example, Donald E. Wray, ‘M argina l Men of Industry : T he
Foreman, ‘ American Journal o f Socio logy , LIV, pp. 298-301, and Fri tz
Koethlisberger, ‘T h e to rem an : Master and Victim of Double T a lk , ‘
Harvard B u s in e s s R ev iew , XXIII, pp. 285-294. The ro le of go-between
i s considered later .

62

elud ing both the bereaved team and the es tab l ishm ent’s
team, will be arranged so a s to exp ress their fee lings for
and t ie s with the d e c e a s e d ; he will be the centre o f the show
and the dramatically dominant partic ipan t in it. However,
s ince the bereaved are inexper ienced and grief-laden, and
s ince the s ta r o f the show must s tay in charac ter a s someone
who i s in a deep s leep, the undertaker him self will direct
the show, although he may all the while be se lf-e ffac ing in
t h e p re se n ce of the co rpse or be in another room of the e s ta b
lishm ent get t ing ready for another showing.

It should be made c lea r that dramatic and directive domin
ance are dramaturgical terms and that performers who enjoy
such dominance may not have other ty p e s o f power and
authority. It i s common knowledge that performers who have
p os i t ions of v is ib le leadersh ip are often merely figureheads,
s e le c te d a s a compromise, or a s a way of neu tra liz ing a
poten tia lly th rea ten ing position, or a s a way of s t ra teg ica l ly
concea ling the power behind the front and hence the power
behind the power behind the front. So a lso , whenever in
exper ienced or temporary incumbents are given formal authority
over experienced subordinates , we often find that the formally
empowered person i s bribed with a part that has dramatic
dominance while the subord inates tend to direct the show. 1
T h u s it ha s often been said about the British Infantry in
World War I that experienced working-class s e rg e an ts managed
the d e l ica te ta sk of covertly teach ing their new lieu tenan ts
to ta k e a dram atically exp ress ive role at the head of the
platoon and to die quickly in a prominent dramatic position,
a s befits P ub l ic School men. The se rgean ts them se lves took
the ir modest p la ce a t the rear of the platoon and tended to
live to train s t i l l o ther l ieu tenants .

Dramatic and d irec tive dominance have been mentioned
a s two d im ensions along which each place on a team can
vary. By changing the point of reference a l i t t le , we can
discern a third mode of variation.

In general, those who par t ic ipa te in the ac tiv i ty that occurs
in a soc ia l es tab l ishm en t become members of a team when
they co-operate together to present their ac tiv ity in a partic
u lar light. However, in taking on the role of a performer, the
individual need not c e a s e to devote some of his effort to
non-dramaturgical concerns, that is , to the activity i ts e lf
o f which the performance offers an accep tab le dramatization.

‘ See David Riesman, in collaboration with Reuel Denny and Nathan
Glaser , The L o n e ly Crowd (New H av en : Ynle University P re ss , 1950),
* The Avocacional C o unse lo rs , ‘ pp. 363-367-

63

We may expect , then, that the ind iv iduals who perform on a
par t icu la r team will differ among th e m se lv es in the way they
apportion their time between mere ac tiv i ty an I mere per
formance. At one extreme we find ind iv iduals who rarely
appear before the audience and are l i t t l e concerned with
appearances . At the other extreme we find what are sometim es
c a ‘ l e d ‘p u re ly ceremonial r o le s , ’• whose performers will be
concerned with the appearance that they make, and concerned
with l i t t l e e l s e . For example, the p res iden t and the research
director of a national union may both spend time in the main
o ffice of the union headquar te rs , • appearing su itab ly dressed
and su itab ly spoken in order to give the union a front of
respec tab il i ty . However we may find that the presiden t a lso
engages in making many important d e c is io n s whereas the
research director may have l i t t le to do except be p resen t in
body a s part of the p re s id e n t’s retinue. Union o f f ic ia ls
conceive of such purely cerem onial ro les a s part of ‘window-
d re ss in g . ‘ 1 It may be remarked that an individual with a
purely ceremonial role need not have a dram atically dominant
one.

ammaro

A team, then, may be defined a s a s e t of ind iv iduals
whose intimate co-operation i s required if n given projected
defin ition of the s ituation is to be m ainta ined. A team is a
grouping, but i t i s a grouping not in relation to a soc ia l
s t ruc tu re or soc ia l organization but ra the r in re la t ion to an
in te rac t ion or s e r ie s of in te ract ions in which the relevant
definition of the s i tua tion is maintained.

We have seen, and will s e e further, tha t if n performance
i s to be e ffec t ive it will be likely that the extent and cha rac te r
of the co-operation that makes th is poss ib le will be concealed
and kept sec re t . A team, then, has something ol the charac ter
of a se c re t soc ie ty . • Thfe aud ience may apprec ia te , of course,
th a t all the members of the team are held toge ther by a bond
no member of the aud ience sha re s . T hus , for example, when
cus tom ers enter a se rv ic e es tab l ishm ent, they c learly
app rec ia te that all em ployees are d ifferent from cus tom ers
by virtue of th is official role. However, the ind iv iduals who

‘S e e Harold L. Wilensky, ‘T h e Staff ” E x p e r t : ” A Study of the In te l ligence
Function in American T rade U n io n s ‘ (Unpublished Ph.D . d iss e r ta t io n .
Department of Socio logy, Universi ty of Chicago, 1953), chap. iv. in
addition to h is t h e s is material , 1 am indebted Mr Wilensky for many
suggest ions .

64

are on the s ta f f of an es tab lishm ent are not members of a
team by virtue of s ta ff s ta tu s , but only by virtue of the co
operation which they maintain in order to su s ta in a given
definition of the s i tuation . No effort may be made in many
c a s e s to conceal who i s on the s ta ff ; but they form a se c re t
soc ic ty , a team, in so far a s a se c re t i s kept a s to how they
are co-operating together to maintain a pa r t icu la r definition
of the s i tua tion . Team s may be created by ind iv iduals to
a id the group they are members of, but in a id ing them se lves
and their group in th is dramaturgical way, they are ac ting
a s a team, not a group. T h u s a team, a s u sed herein , i s the
kind of sec re t soc ie ty whose members may be known by non-
inembers to cons t i tu te a soc ie ty , even an ex c lu s iv e one, but
the soc ie ty these ind iv iduals are known to c o n s t i tu te i s not
the one they cons ti tu te by virtue of ac ting a s a team.

65

C H A P T E R HI

REGIONS AND REGION BEHAVIOUR

A region may be defined a s any p lace tha t is bounded
to some degree by barriers to perception. Regions vary,
of course , in the degree to which they are bounded and
according to the media of communication in which the barriers
to perception occur. Thus thick g la s s pane ls , such a s are
found in broadcasting control rooms, can iso la te a region
aurally but not v isua lly , while an office bounded by beaver-
board parti t ions i s c lo se d off in the opposite way.

In our Anglo-American so c ie ty —a rela t ive ly indoor one—
when a performance i s given i t i s u s u a l ly . given in a highly
bounded region, to which boundaries with respec t to time
are often added. T he im pression and understanding fostered
by the performance will then tend, a s it were, to sa tu ra te
the region and time span, so that any individual lo c a te d in
th is space – t im e manifold will be in a posit ion to observe the
performance and be guided by the definition of the s ituation
which the performance fosters. 1

Often a performance will involve only one focus of visual
a t ten tion on the part of performer and audience , a s , for
example, when a polit ica l sp eech i s presented in a hall or
when a pa t ien t is ta lk ing to a doctor in the la t te r ’s consulting-
room. However many performances involve, a s cons ti tuen t
parts , s e p e ra te knots or c lu s te r s of verbal in teraction . T h u s
a cockta il party typ ical ly involves several conversational
sub-groups which constan t ly shift in s iz e and membership.
So, too, the show m ainta ined on the floor of a shop typically
involves severa l foci of verbal in teraction, each composed
of a t tendant-custom er pairs .

Given a pa r t icu la r performance a s a point of reference,
it will sometim es b e convenient to u se the term ‘ f ro n t re g io n ’
to refer to the p l? ce where the performance is given. The
fixed sign-equipment in such a p lace has already been referred
to a s that part o f front ca l le d ‘ s e t t i n g . ‘ We will h ave to
s e e tha t some a s p e c t s of a performance seem to be p layed
not to the aud ience but to the front region.

1 Under the term ‘b eh a v io u ra l s e t t in g , ’ Wright and Barker, in a research
methodology report , g ive a very c lea r s ta tem en t of the s e n s e s in which
exp ec ta t io n s regarding conduct come to be a s s o c ia te d with par t icu lar
p l a c e s . See Herbett F . Wright and Roger G. Barker, Methods in P sych o
log ica l E co logy (T o p e k a : K a n s a s : Ray’s Prin t ing Service, 1950).

66

T he performance of an individual in a front region may be
seen a s an effort to g ive the appearance that h is activity
in the region mainta ins and embodies certain s tandards .
T h ese s ta n d a rd s seem to fall into two broad groupings. One
grouping has to do with the way in which the performer t rea ts
the audience while engaged in tall: with them or in ges tu ra l
in te rchanges that are a su b s t i tu te for talk . These s tandards
are sometimes referred to a s matters of po li teness . The other
group of s tandards has to do with the way in which the per
former comports himself while in visual or aural range of the
audience but not n ecessa r i ly engaged in talk with them.
I shall u se the term decorum to refer to th is second group
of s tandards, although some e x c u se s and some qual if ica tions
will have to be added to justify the usage.

Uhen we look at the requirements of decorum in a region,
requirem ents of the kind not rela ted to the handling of o thers
in conversation , we tend to divide these again into two sub
groupings, moral and instrumental. Moral requirements are
e n d s in them se lves and presumably refer to rules regarding
non-interference and non-molestation of o thers , ru les re
garding sexual propriety, ru les regarding respec t for sacred
p la ce s , e tc. Instrumental requirem ents are not ends in them
s e lv e s and presumably refer to du ties such as an employer
might demand of his employe.es—care of property, maintenance
of work leve ls , e tc . It may be felt chat the term decorum
ought to cover only the moral s tandards and that another
term should be used to cover the instrumental ones. When
we examine the order that is maintained in a given region,
however, we find that these two kinds of demands, moral
and instrumental, seem to affect in much the sam e way the
individual who must answer to them, and that both moral and
instrumental grounds or rationalization are put forth a s
ju s t i f ic a t io n s for most s tandards that must be maintained.
Providing the s tandard i s maintained by sanc t ions and by
a sanc tioner of some kind, it will often be of small moment
to the performer whether th e standard is justified chiefly
on instrumental grounds or moral ones, and whether he is
a sked to incorporate the standard.

It may be noted that the part of personal front we have
ca l le d ‘m a n n e r ’ will be important in regard to p o l i teness
and that the part we have ca lled ’ a p p e a ra n c e ’ will be im
portant in regard to decorum. It may also be noted that
while decorous behaviour may take the form of showing resp e c t
for the region and se tt ing one finds onese lf in, th is show of
respect may, of course , be motivated by a des ire to impress

67

the audience favourably, or avoid sanctions , e tc . F inally ,
it should be noted tha t the requirements of decorum are more
pervasive eco log ica l ly than are the requirem ents of po l i teness .
An aud ience can sub jec t an entire front region to a continuous
inspection a s regards decorum, but while the audience is
so engaged, none or only a few of the performers may be
obliged to ta lk to the audience and hence to demonstrate
p o l i ten e ss .

In the study of soc ia l e s tab l ish m e n ts it is important to
desc r ibe the s tandards of decorum; it is difficult to do so
because informants and s tu d e n ts tend to take many of these
s tandards for granted not rea liz ing they have done so until
an acc iden t, or c r is is , or pecu lia r c ircum stance occurs. VC’e
know, for example, that d ifferent b u s in e s s o f f ices have
d ifferent s tan d ard s a s regards informal cha t te r among c lerks ,
f’Ut it i s only when we happen to study an office that has
a s iz ea b le number of foreign refugee em ployees tha t we
suddenly apprec ia te tha t perm ission to engage in informal
talk may not cons ti tu te perm ission to engage in informal
talk in a foreign language. 1

We are accus tom ed to assum ing that the ru les of decorum
that prevail in sacred es tab l ishm en ts , such a s churches , will
b e much different from the ones that prevail in everyday p la c e s
of work. We ought not to assum e from th is that d ie s tandards
in sac red p la c e s are more numerous and more s m c t than those
we find in work es tab l ishm en ts . While in church, a woman
may be permitted to s i t , daydream, and even doze ; a s a
sa lesw om an on the floor of a d re s s shop, she may be required
to stand, keep alert , refrain from chewing gum, keep a fixed
smile on her face even when not ta lk ing to anybody and
wear c lo th e s she can ill afford.

One form of decorum that has been s tudied in soc ia l
e s tab l ish m e n ts i s what i s ca l le d ’ make-work.’ It is under
stood in many es tab l ish m e n ts that not only will workers be
required to produce a certain amount af te r a cer ta in length
of time but also that they will be ready, when ca lled upon,
to give the impression that they are working hard a t the
moment. Of a shipyard we learn the following:

It was amusing to watch the sudden transformation whenever
word KOt round that the foreman was on the hull or in the shop or
tha t a f tont-office superin tendent was coming by. ‘Juarcermen and
lcadermen would rush to their groups of workers and s t i r them to
obviuus ac tiv i ty . ’ l )o n \ le t him ca tch you s i t t in g down,’ w as the
universal admonition, and where no work ex is ted a pipe w as busi ly
bent and threaded, or a bolt which w as already firmly in p lace was sub-

1 See G ross , op. ci t . , p. 186.

68

j e n e J to further and u nnecessa ry t ightening. T h is * a s the formal
tr ibute invar iably at tending a v is i ta t ion by rhe boss , und its conventions
were as familiar to both s id e s a s ihose surrounding a five-star general ‘s
in spec t ion . To have neg lected any detail of rhe false and empty sh’*>*-
would have been interpreted a s a mark- of s ingu lar d is re sp ec t . 1

Similarly, of o hospital ward we le a rn :
T h e observer w as told very exp l ic i t ly by other a t tendan ts on h is firs t
day of work on the wards not to ‘ get c a u g h t ’ s tr ik ing a pa t ien t i to
appear busy when tlie supe rv isor makes her rounds, and not to speak
to her u n le s s first spoken to. (c w as noted that some a t ten d an ts
watch for her approach and warn the other a t tendan ts so tha t no one
will gct c:iu£hr doing undes irab le a r t s . Some a t tendan ts will save
work for when the supe rv isor i s p resen t so they will be busy and
will not be #ivcn additional ta s k s . In most a t tendan ts the change
i s not so obvious, depending largely on the individual at tetidant,
rhe supervisor, and the ward s i tua tion . Ifowevet, with nearly alt
a t ten d an ts there is some change in behaviour when an official , such
a s a supervisor , i s presenr. There i s no open flouting of the rules
and regu la t ions ………………. ^

From a considera t ion of make-work it is only a s tep to con
s idera tion of other s tandards of work ac tiv i ty for which
ap p e aran c es must be maintained, such a s pace, personal
in te res t , economy, accuracy , etc. 3 And from a consideration
of work s tandards in general it i s only a s tep to consideration
of other major a s p e c ts of decorum, instrumental and moral,
in work p la ce s , such a s : mode of d r e s s ; perm issib le sound
l e v e l s ; proscribed diversions, indulgences, and affec tive
e x p re s s io n s ; e tc .

It was .suggested earlier that when one’s ac tiv ity occurs
in the p re se n ce of other persons, some a s p e c t s of the activity
are exp ress ive ly accen tua ted and other a s p e c ts , which mi.tjht
d isc red i t the fostered im pression, are supp ressed . It i s d e a r
that accen tua ted fac ts make the ir appearance in what we
have c a l le d a front region; it should be just a s c lea r tha t
there may be another region—a back region or b a c k s ta g e—
where the suppressed fac ts make an appearance.

A back region or backs tage may be defined a s a p lace ,
re la t ive to a given performance, where the impression fostered
by the performance i s knowingly contradicted a s a matter of
course . There are, of course , many ch a rac te r is t ic functions
of such p la c e s . It is here that the capacity of a performance
to express something beyond i t s e l f may be painstak ing ly
fab r ica ted ; i t i s here that i l lu s io n s and im press ions are
openly construc ted . Here grades of ceremonial equipment,
such a s different types of liquor or c lo thes , can be hidden

1 Katherine Archibald, Wartime Shipyard (Berkeley and Los A nge les :
Universi ty of California P re s s , 1947), p. 159-

2 Willoughby, op. c i t . , p. 4 3.
^An a n a ly s i s of some major work s tandards may be found in Gross, op. c i l , t

from which the above exam ples of such standards are taken.

69

so tha t the aud ience will not be ab le to s e e the treatm ent
accorded them in comparison with the treatm ent tha t could
have been accorded them. Here dev ices such a s the te lephone
are se q u es te red so that u se rs will be able to u se them
‘p r iv a te ly . ’ Here cos tum es and o ther pa r ts of personal front
may be ad jus ted and sc ru tin ized for f law s. Here the team
can run through i t s performance, checking for offending ex
p re ss io n s when no one i s p resen t to be affronted by them;
here poor members of the team, who are exp ress ive ly inept,
can be schooled or dropped from the performance. Here the
performer can re la x ; he can drop h is front, forgo speaking h is
l ines , and s tep out of cha rac ter . Simone de Beauvoir provides
a rather vivid p ic ture of th is b acks tage ac tiv i ty in describ ing
s i tua t ions from which the male aud ience i s absen t.

What g ives value to such re la t ions among women is rhe tru th fu lness
they imply. Confronting man woman is a lw ays p lay -ac t in g ; sh e l ie s
when she makes believe that she a c c e p ts her s ta tu s a s the inessen t ia l
other, she l i e s when she p resen ts to him an imaginary personage
through mimicry, costumery, s tud ied p h rases . T h e s e h is t r io n ic s
require a cons tan t t e n s io n : when with her husband, or with her lover,
every woman is more or l e s s consc ious of the thought: ‘ I am not being
myself^* the male world is harsh, sharp edged, i t s vo ices arc too
resounatng, the l ig h ts ate too crude, the contacrs rough. With other
women, a woman i s behind the s c e n e s ; she i s po l ish ing her equipment,
but not in b a t t l e ; sh e i s ge tt ing her costume together , preparing her
make-up, lay ing out her t a c t i c s ; she i s linger ing in dressing-gown and
s l ippe rs in the wings before making her entrance on the s t a g e ; she
l ik es th is warm, ea s y , re laxed atmosphere . . . .

For some women th is warm and frivolous intimacy i s deare r than
the se r ious pomp of r e la t io n s with men. 1

Very commonly the back region of a performance is loca ted
at one end of the place where the performance i s p resented ,
being cut off from it by a parti t ion and guarded passageway.
By having the front and back regions ad jacen t in th is way,
a performer out in front can rece ive backstage a s s i s ta n c e
while the performance is in progress and can interrupt his
performance momentarily for brief periods of relaxation. In
general, of course , the back region will be the p lace where
the performer can re l iab ly expect that no member of the
aud ience will intrude.

S ince the vital s e c r e t s o f a show are v is ib le backstage
and s in c e performers behave out o f cha rac te r while there,
it is natural to expect that the p a s sa g e from the front region
to the back region will be kept c lo sed to members of the
aud ience or that the en t ire back region will be kept hidden
from them. T h is i s a widely p rac t ised technique of impression
management, of which some i l lu s tra t io n s and im plica tions
a re given below.

Firs t , we often find tha t control of backstage p lays a
s ign if ican t role in the p ro ce ss of ‘work c o n t ro l ’ whereby

l de Beauvoir, op. c iL , p. 54 J.
70

in d iv id u a ls at tem pt to buffer them se lves from the determin
i s t i c dem ands that surround them. If a factory worker i s to
succeed in giving the appearance of working hard all day,
then he must have a safe p lace to h ide the jig that en a b le s
him to turn out a day’s work with l e s s than a full day’s effort. 1
If the bereaved are to be given the i l lusion tha t the dead
one i s really in a deep and tranquil s le ep , then the undertaker
m ust be ab le to keep the bereaved from the workroom where
the c o rp se s are drained, stuffed, and painted in preparation
for the ir final perform ance .2 In many se rv ic e t rades , the
customer i s a sked to le av e the thing th a t n eed s se rv ice
and to go away so tha t the tradesman can work in private.
When the custom er returns for h is autom obile—or watch, or
t rousers , or w i r e le s s —it i s p resen ted to him in good working
order, an order that inc iden tally co n c ea ls the amount and
kind of work tha t had to be done, the number of m is takes
that were f irs t made before getting it fixed, and other d e ta i l s
the c l ien t would have to know before being able to judge
the r e a so n ab le n ess of the fee that i s a sked of him.

S ervice personnel so commonly take for granted the right
to keep the audience away from the back region tha t a t tention
is drawn more to c a s e s where th is common stra tegy cannot
be applied than to c a s e s where it can . For example, the
American filling s ta t ion manager has numerous troubles in
th is regard. 3 If a repair i s needed, cus tom ers often refuse to
leave their automobile overnight or all day, in trust of the
es tab l ishm ent, a s they would do had they taken their auto
mobile to a garage, Further, when the mechanic m akes repa irs
and ad justm ents , cus tom ers often feel they have the right to
watch him a s he does h is work. If an illusionary se rv ic e is
to be rendered and charged for, i t must, therefore,- be rendered
before the very person who is to be taken in by it. Customers,
in fact, not only d isregard the right of the s ta t ion personnel
to their own back region but often a lso define the whole
s ta tion as a kind of open city for males , -a p lace where an
individual runs the risk of getting h is suit dirty and therefore

1 See Orvis C oll ins , Melville Dalton, and Donald Koy, * R estr ic tion of
Output and Social C leavage in Industry , ‘ Applied Anthropology (now
Human Organization), IV, pp. 1-1*1, esp. p. 9.

2Mr. l iabcns te in has sugge s ted tn seminar that in some s t a te s the under
taker h a s a legal right to prevent re la t ives of th e d ec e a se d from entering
the workroom where the co rpse i s in preparation. Presumably the
.sight of what has to be done to the dead to make them look a t t rac t ive
would be roo g reat a shock for non-profess ionals and e spec ia l ly for
kinsfolk ol tin* d e c e a se d . Mr. Habenstein a ls o su g g e s ts that kinsfork
may want to be kept from the undertaker ‘s workroom because of their
own fear of ihe ir own morbid cur iosi ty .

^ T h e s ta te m e n ts which follow are taken from a study by Social Research
Inc. of two hundred sm a ll -b u s in e s s managers.

71

has the right to demand full b acks tage p r iv ileges . Male
m o to r is ts will sau n te r in, tip back their ha ts , sp it , swear,
and ask for free se rv ice or free travel advice . They will
barge in to make familiar u se of the to ile t , the s ta t io n ’s tools ,
o r the office te lep h o n e ; and in order to avoid traffic l ights,
m otor is ts will cut right ac ro ss the s ta t ion driveway, ob liv ious
to the manager’s proprietary rights.

T he study of the is lan d hotel previously c i ted provides
another example of the problems workers face when they
have insuff ic ien t control of the ir b ac k s ta g e . Within the hotel
k i tchen , where the g u e s t s ’ food was prepared and where the
s ta f f a te and spen t the ir day, c ro f te r s ’ cu ltu re tended to
p reva il , involving a ch a ra c te r is t ic pattern of clothing, food
hab i ts , tab le manners, language, employer-employee re la tions,
c l e a n l in e s s s tandards , etc. T h is cu ltu re was felt to be
d iffe rent from, and lower in es teem than, Brit ish m idd le-c lass
cu l tu re , which tended to prevail in the dining room and other
p la c e s in the ho te l. The. doors lead ing from the kitchen to
the o ther p ar ts of the hotel were a cons tan t sore spot in the
organization of work. The m aids wanted to keep the doors
open to make it e a s ie r to carry food trays back and forth, to
gather information about whether g u e s ts were ready or not for
the se rv ice which was to be performed for them, and to reta in
a s much con tac t a s p o ss ib le with the persons they had come
to work to learn about. Since the m aids p layed a se rvan t role
before the gu es ts , they, felt they did not have too much to
lo se by being observed in the ir own milieu by g u e s ts who
g lanced into th e k itchen when p as s in g the open doors. The
m anagers, on the other hand, wanted to keep the door c losed
so tha t the m idd le -c la ss role imputed to them by the g u e s ts
would not be d isc red i ted by a d isc lo su re of their crofter hab i ts .
Hardly a day p a s se d when th e se doors were not angrily banged
shut and angrily banged open. A kick-door of the kind modern
re s ta u ran ts use would have provided a partial so lution for
the s tag ing problem. A small g la s s window in the doors
tha t could ac t a s a peepho le—a s ta g e dev ice used by many
small p la c e s of b u s in e s s —would a l s o have been helpful.

Another in te re s t in g example of backs tage d if f icu lt ies is
found in radio and te lev is ion broadcas ting work. In these
s i tua tions , back region tends to be defined ‘ a s all p la ce s
where the camera i s not focussed at the moment or a l l p la c e s
out of range of ‘ l i v e ’ microphones. Thus an announcer may
hold the sp o n so r ’s product up at arm’s length in front o f the
camera while he holds his nose with his other hand, his face
being out of the pic ture, as a way of joking with his team
m ates . P ro fe ss io n a ls , of course , tell many exemplary ta le s

72

of how pe iso n s who ihoughr they were backs tage were in
facc on the air and how th is b acks tage conduct d isc red ited
the definition of the s ituation being maintained on the air.
For te chn ica l reasons , then, the w alls tha t b roadcas te rs
have to hide behind can be very treacherous, tend ing to fall
a t the flick of a switch or a turn ot the camera. Broadcasting
a r t i s t s must live with th is s tag ing contingency,

A final example of backstage d if f icu l t ie s is found among
exalted persons. P e r so n s may become so sacred that the
only fitting appearance they can make is in the centre of a
retinue and ceremony; it may be thought improper for them
to appear before others in any other context, a s such informal
ap p e aran c es may be thought to d isc red it the magical a t t r ibu tes
imputed to them. Therefore members of the audicnce must
be prohibited from all the p la c e s the exalted one is likely
to relax in, and if the place for relaxation is large, a s in the
c a s e of the C h inese Emperor in the n ine teen th century, or it
there is uncertainty about where the exa lted one will be,
problems of t r e sp a s s become cons iderab le . Thus Queen
Victoria enforced the rule tha t anyone see ing her approach
when driving in her pony-cart on the pa lace grounds should
turn h is head or walk in another direction , and sometim es
great s ta te sm en were required to sacr if ice their own dignity
and jump behind the shrubbery when the queen unexpectedly
approached. 1

While these examples of back region difficulty are extreme,
it would seem that no soc ia l e s tab l ishm ent can be studied
where some problems a s so c ia te d with backstage control do
not occur.

Work and recreation regions represent two a re as for
backstage control. Another a rea is sugges ted by the very
widespread tendency in our society to give performers control
over the p lace in which they a t tend to what are ca lled
biological needs. In our soc ie ty , defecation involves an
individual in ac tiv ity which i s defined as in c o n s is te n t with
the c l e a n l in e s s and purity s tandards expressed in many of our
performances. Such ac tiv ity also c a u s e s the individual to
d isarrange h is clo th ing and to ‘g o out of play,* that is , to
drop from h is face the exp ress ive mask that he employs in
face-to-face in te raction . At the same time ic becomes difficult
for him to reassem ble h is personal front should the need to
enter into in teraction suddenly occur. P e rh ap s that i s a
reason why to ile t doors in our soc ie ty have lo c k s on them.
When a s le e p in bed the individual i s a lso immobilized,

* t’o n s o n h y , of>. c i t . , p J2.

73

e x p re ss iv e ly speaking, and may not be able to bring himself
into an appropriate posit ion for in teraction or bring a so c iab le
express ion to h is face until some moments af ter being
wakened, thus providing one explanation of the tendency
to remove the bedroom from the ac t iv e part of the house.
The util ity of such sec lus ion i s reinforced by the facc that
sexual ac tiv ity i s likely to occur in bedrooms, a form of
in te ract ion which a l so renders i t s performers incapable of
immediately entering into an ocher in teraction .

One of the most in te res t ing tim es to observe im
p ress ion management is the moment when a performer
le a v e s the back region and en te rs the p lace where the
aud ience is to be found, or when he returns therefrom,
for at th e se moments we can detec t a wonderful putting on
and taking off of character . Orwell, speak ing of waiters,
and speak ing from the backstage point of view of d ishw ashers ,
p rovides us with an ex a m p le :

1c is an in s truc t ive sigh: co s e e a waiter going into a hotel
dining-room. As he p a s s e s the door a sudden change comes over
him. The se t of h i s shoulders a l t e r s ; all the dirt and hurry and
irri ta t ion have dropped off in an in s tan t . He g l ides over the carpec,
w ith a solemn p r ies t – l ike air . I remember our a s s i s t a n t maitre d*hoielt
a fiery I ta l ian, paus ing a t the dining-room door to ad d re ss h i s appren t ice
who had broken a bott le of wine. Shaking h is f is t above h i s head
he y e l led (luckily th e door was more or l e s s soundproof), ” Tu me fa is —
Do you call yourself a waiter, you young b a s ta rd ? You a waiter l
You re not fit to sc rub floors in ihe brothel your mother came from.
Mttffuereau! M

Words failing him, he turned to the door ; and a s he opened it
lie de l ivered a final insu l t in the sam e manner a s Squire Uesrcrn
in Tom Jones .

Then he entered the dining-room and sa i led ac ro ss i l dish in
hand, graceful a s a swan. Ten seconds loiter he was bowing reverently
to a customer. And you could not help thinking, a s ^ou saw him
bow and smile, with that benign smile of the tra ined waiter , that rho
customer was put to shame by having such an ar is tocra t co se rve him. 1

The dec l ine of domestic se rv ice lias forced quick changes
o f the kind mentioned by Orwell upon the m idd le -c la ss house
wife. In serving a dinner for friends she must manage the
k itchen dirty work in such a way a s to enable her co switch
back and forth between the ro les of domestic and h o s te ss ,
a l te r ing her ac tiv ity , her manner, and her temper, a s she

1 George Orwell , Down and Out in P a r i s and London (London.* Seeker
and Warburg, 1951), pp. 68-69* Another i l lustra t ion is provided by
Moqica Dickens , One Pair o f Hands (Mermaid Books; London: Michael
Jo sep h , 1952), p. 13:

’ T h e sa id maid—her name w a s Addie, 1 d iscovered—and the two
w a i t r e s s e s were behaving like people ac t ing in a play. They would
sw e e p into the k itchen a s if coming off s ta g e into the wings, with trays
held high and a te n s e express ion of hauteur s t i l l on their f a c e s ; relax
for a moment in the frenzy of ge tt ing the new d i s h e s loaded, and glide
off again with faces p repared to make their next entrance . The cook
and 1 were left l ike s ta g e hands among rhe debris, a s if hav ing .seen
a glimpse of another world, we almost l is tened for the app lause of the
unseen a u d ien ce .1

74

p a s s e s in and oiic of the dining room. E tiquette provide
helpful d irec tions for fac il i ta t ing such changes .

T he l ine dividing front and back regions is i l lu s tra te d
everywhere in our soc ie ty . As suggested , the bathroom and
bedroom, in all but low er-c la ss homes, are p la c e s from which
the dow nsta irs audience can be excluded. B odies that are
c lea n sed , clothed, and made up in th e se rooms can be pre
sen ted to friends in o thers. In the kitchen, of course , there
i s done to food what in the bathroom and bedroom i s done to
the human body. It is , in fact, the presence of th e se staging
d ev ices that d is t in g u ish es m idd le-c lass living from lower-
c l a s s living. But in all c l a s s c s in our society there i s a
tendency to make a d iv is ion between the front and back par ts
o f res iden tia l exteriors. The front tends to be rela tively
well decorated, well repaired, and tidy ; the rea r tends to be
re la tive ly unp repossess ing . Correspondingly, social ad u l ts
enter through the front, and often the soc ia l ly incom plete—
dom estics , delivery men, and ch ildren—enter through the rear.

While we are familiar with the stage arrangements in and
around a dwelling p lace , we tend to be l e s s aware of other
s ta g e arrangements. In American res iden t ia l neighbourhoods,
boys of eight to fourteen and other profane persons apprecia te
that en trances to back lanes and a l le y s lead somewhere and
a re to be u se d ; they s e e these openings in a vivid se n se
that will be lo s t to them when they become older. Similarly,
jan ito rs and scrubwomen have a c lea r perception of the small
doors tha t lead to the back regions of b u s in e s s buildings
and are in timately familiar wich the profane transporta tion
system for secretly transporting dirty c lean ing equipment,
large s tage props, and them selves. There is a s im ilar arrange
ment in s to res , where p laces ‘b eh ind the c o u n te r ’ and the
storeroom serve a s back regions.

Given the v a lu es of a particular soc ie ty , it is apparent
that the backstage character of certa in p la ce s i s built into
them in a material way, and that rela tive to ad jacen t a re a s
these p la c e s are inescapably back regions. In our society
the decorator’s art often does th is for us, apportioning dark
colours and open brickwork to the se rv ice par ts of buildings
and white p la s te r to the front regions. P ie c e s of fixed equip
ment add permanency to this divis ion. Employers complete
the harmony by hiring persons with undesirable visual
a t tr ibutes for back region work,-1 placing persons who ‘ niak?
a good a p p e a ra n c e ’ in the front regions. (T h is involves a

1 R eserves of unimpressive-looking labour can be used not only for ac t iv i ty
that must be concea led from the aud ience but a l s o for act ivi ty that
need not but can be concea led . Mr Hughes has suggested in seminar

7S

kind of eco log ica l sorting that i s well known but l i t t le studied .)
And often it i s expected tha t those who work b acks tage will
a c h ie v e techn ica l s tandards while th o se who work in the
front region will achieve ex p re ss iv e ones.

The decora tions and permanent f ix tures in a p lace where
a pa r t icu la r performance is usua lly given, a s well as the
performers and performance usua lly found in it, tend to fix a
kind of sp e l l over i t ; even when the customary performance
i s not being given in it, the p lace tends to retain som e of
i t s front region character . T hus a cathedra l and a schoolroom
re ta in som ething of their tone even when only repairmen are
present, and while these men may not behave reverently while
doing their work, their ir reverence tends to be of a s tructured
kind, sp e c if ic a l ly oriented to what in some se n se they ought
to be feeling but are not. So, too, a given p lace may become
so iden tif ied as a hide-out where cer ta in s tan d ard s need not
be m ainta ined tha t it becomes fixed with an identity a s a
back region. Hunting lodges and locker rooms in a th le t ic
so c ia l e s ta b l ish m e n ts may se rve a s i l lu s tra t io n s . Summer
re so r ts , too, seem to fix p e rm iss iv e n ess regarding front,
a l low ing o therw ise conventional people to appear in public
s t r e e t s in cos tum es they would not ordinarily wear in the
p re se n ce of s trangers . So, too, criminal hangouts and even
criminal neighbourhoods are to be found, where the ac t of
being ’ l e g i t ’ need not be m ainta ined. An in te res t ing example
of th is i s s a id to have ex is ted in P a r i s :

’ In the seven teen th century , therefore, in order to become a thorough
Argotier, it was n ecessa ry not only to so l ic i t a lms like any mere
heggar, but a l s o to p o s s e s s the dexterity of the cu t-purse and the
th ie f . T h e s e a r t s w ere to be learned in the p laces which served
a s the habitual rendezvous o f the very dregs of society , a/id which
were generally known a s the Cours d e s Miraclcs . T hese h o u se s , ot
ra ther r eso r ts , had been so ca lled , if we a re to be l ieve a writer of the
early part of the seven teen th cen tury , ‘ B ecause rogues . . . and others,
who have all day been cr ipp les , maimed, d ropsica l , and bese t with
every s o n of bodily ailment, come home at n ight , carrying under theit
Arms a sirloin of beef, a joint of veal , or a leg of mutton, not forgetting
t o hang a bottle of wine to their b e l t s , and, on en ter ing the court,
they throw as ide rheir cru tches, resume their healthy and lusty
appearance , and, in imitation of the a n c ien t B acchanalian revelr ies ,
dance all k inds of d an ces with their trophies in their hands , whils t
th e hos t i s preparing their suppe rs . Can there be n g rea te r miracle
than i s to be seen in th is court, where the maimed walk upr ight? ‘ 1

In back reg ions such as these , the very fact that an important
e ffec t is not str iven for tends to se t the tone for in te raction ,
lead ing those who find them se lves there to act a s if they
were on familiar terms with one another in all matters.

cli.it Negro employees can more e a s i ly than o therwise be given s ta ff
s t a tu s in American fac to ries if, a s in the c a s e of chem is ts , they can
be seq u es te red from the main regions of factory operat ion.

‘P a u l LaCroix, Manners, Custom, and Dress during the Middle A g e s and
during the R en a is s a n ce Period (London : Chapman and Hall, 1876), p. 471.

76

However, while there is a tendency for a region to become
iden tif ied a s the front region or back region of a performance
with which it is regularly a s so c ia te d , s t i l l there are many
reg ions which function at one time and in one s e n s e a s a
front region and a t another time and in another s e n s e as a
back region. Thus the private office of an executive is
certa in ly the front region where his s ta tu s in the organization
i s in tens ive ly expressed by means of the quality of his office
furnishings. And yet it is here that he can take his jacket
off, loosen h is tie, keep a bottle of liquor handy, and act in
a chummy and even b o is te rous way with fellow execu t ives
of h is own rank. 1 Similarly, of a Sunday morning, a whole
household can use the wall around i t s dom estic es tab l ishm ent
to concea l a re lax ing s lo v e n l in e ss in d ress and c iv il
endeavour, ex tending to al l rooms the informality tha t is
usua lly re s tr ic ted to the k itchen and bedrooms. So, too, in
American m idd le-c lass neighbourhoods, on af ternoons the
line between the ch ild ren’s playground and home may be
defined a s bac k s ta g e by mothers, who p a s s along it wearing
jeans , loa fe rs and a minimum of make*up, a c iga re t te dangling
from the ir l ip s as they push their baby ca r r ia g es and openly
talk shop with the ir co l lea g u es . So a lso , in working-class
quartiers in P a r i s in the early morning, women feel they have
a right to extend the backstage to their c i rc le of neighbouring
shops, and they pa t te r down for milk and fresh bread, wearing
bedroom s l ippers , bathrobe, hairnet, and no make-up. And,
o f course , a region tha t is thoroughly e s tab l ish ed a s a front
region for the regular performance of a par t icu lar routine
often functions a s a back region before and af te r each perform
ance, for at th e se tim es the permanent fix tures may undergo
repair, restoration , and rearrangement, or the performers may
hold d r e s s r eh e a rsa ls . To se e this we need only glance
into a res tau ran t , or store, or home, a few minutes before
chese e s tab l ishm en ts are opened to us for the day. In
general, then, we must keep in mind that when we speak of
front and back regions we speak from the reference point o f a
particu lar performance, and we speak of the function that the
p lace happens to serve at that time for the given performance.

It was sugges ted tha t pe rsons who co-operate in s tag ing
‘ The fact that a small private office can be transformed into a back region

by the manageable method of being the only one in i t provides one reason
why s tenographers sometimes prefer to work in a private office a s opposed
to a large office floor. On a large open floor someone i s a lw ays likely
to be p r e s e n t before whom an impression of indu s t r io u sn ess must be
m ain ta ined ; in a small office all p re tence of work and decorous behaviour
can be dropped when the boss i s out. See Richatd Rencke, ‘ The S ta tus
C h a ra c te r i s t ic s of Jobs in a F a c to ry ‘ (Unpublished Master’s th e s is ,
Department of Sociology, University of Chicago, 1953), P- 53*

77

the sam e team-performance tend to be in a familiar relarion
to one another. T h is familiarity tends to be expressed only
when the audience is not p resen t, for it conveys an impression
of se lf and team-mate which is ordinarily inconsis ten t with
the im pression of se lf and team-mate one wants to su s ta in
before the audience. Since back regions are typically out of
bounds to members of the aud ience , it i s here that we may
expect reciprocal familiarity to determine the tone of soc ia l
in te rcourse . Similarly, it is in the front region that we may
expect a tone of formality to prevail.

Throughout our soc ie ty there tends to be one informal or
b acks tage language of behaviour, and another language of
behaviour for o cc as io n s when a performance is being p resen ted .
The backstage language c o n s i s t s of reciprocal first-naming,
co-operative decision-making, profanity, open sexual remarks,
e laborate griping, smoking, rough informal d ress , ‘ s l o p p y ‘
s i t t ing and standing posture, use of d ia lec t or sub-standard
speech, mumbling and shouting, playful aggressiv ity and
‘k id d in g , ‘ incons ide ra teness for the other in minor but
po ten tia lly symbolic a c ts , minor physical se lf- involvem ents
such a s humming, whistling, chewing, nibbling, belching, and
f latu lence. The fronts tage behaviour language can be taken
a s the a b s e n c e (and in some se n se the opposite) of th is . In
general, then, backs tage conduct i s one which allows minor
a c t s which might ea s i ly be taken a s symbolic of intimacy
and d is respec t for o thers p resen t and for the region, while
front region conduct i s one which d isa llow s such potentia lly
offensive behaviour. *

By invoking a backstage s ty le , individuals can transform
any region into a backstage. T hus we find that in many
so c ia l e s tab l ishm en ts the performers will appropriate a section
o f the front region and by acting there in a familiar fashion
symbolically cut i t off from the re s t of the region. For
ins tance , in some re s ta u ran ts in America, e spec ia l ly those
ca l le d ‘one-arm jo in t s , ’ the s ta ff will hold court in the booth
farthes t from the door or c lo s e s t to the kitchen, .inJ there
conduct them selves, at l e a s t in some respec ts , a s if they
were backstage.

More important, we ought not to expect that in concrete
s i tu a t io n s we will find pure exam ples of informal conduct or

1 Ic may be noted (hat backs tage behaviour has what p sy c h o lo g is t s might
ca l l a ’ regressive* character . The question , of course, is whether a
b a c k s ta g e g ives indiv iduals an opportunity ro reg re ss or whether re
g ress ion , in the c l in ica l se n se , i s bnckstagc conduct invoked on
inappropriate o c c a s io n s for motives that are not soc ial ly approve*!.

re

formal conduct, although there is usually a tendency to move
the definition of the s i tua tion in one of these two directions.
We will not find rhese pure c a s e s because team-mates with
respec t to one show will he to some degree performers and
audience for another show, and performers and audience for
one sliow wjil to some ex ten t, however slight, be team-mates
with respec t to another show. 1’hus in a concrete s ituation
we may expect a predominance of one s ty le or the oclier, with
some fee lings of guilt o r doubt concerning the actual
combination or balance that is achieved between the two
s ty le s .

I would l ike to em phasize the fact chat ac tiv i ty in a
concrete s i tua tion is always a compromise between the formal
and informal s ty le s by reference to backstage and backstage
ac tiv i ty . Three common lim ita tions on backstage informality
may be ci ted . F irs t , when the audience is not present, each
member of the team is l ikely to want to su s ta in the impression
tha t lie can be trusted with the s e c r e ts of the team and that
he is not l ikely to play his part badly when the audience is
present. While each team member will want the audience to
think of him as a worthy character , he is l ikely to want h is
team-mates to think of him as a loyal, well-d iscip lined
performer. Secondly, there are often moments backstage
when the performers will have to su s ta in one another’s morale
and maintain the impression that the show that is about to
be p resen ted will go over well or that the show that has just
been presented did not really go over so badly. Thirdly, if
the team con ta in s rep resen ta t ives of fundamental social
d iv is ions, such a s different age-grades, different ethnic
groups, e tc . , then some d iscre tionary lim its will prevail on
freedom of backstage activity . Here, no doubt, the most
important d iv is ion is the sexual one, for there seem s to be
no soc ie ty in which members of the two se x es , however c lose ly
re la ted , do not su s ta in some appearances before each other.
In America, for instance, we learn the following about West
C oast sh ipyards :

In iheir ordinary re la t ionsh ips with women workers most of the
men were courteous and even gallant . As the women infiltrated the
hu l ls and the remoter sh a c k s of the yard, the men amiably removed
their ga l le r ie s of nudes and pornography from the walls and ret ired
them to the gloom of the tool box. In deference to the presence of
‘ l a d i e s , ’ manners were improved, faces were sha ved more often, and
language was toned down. The taboo ag a ins t improprieties of speech
within ea rsho t of women was s o extreme a s to be amusing, patt icularly
s inc e the women them se lves frequently gave audible proof that the
forbidden words were n e i ther unfamiliar nor disturbing to them. Yet
1 have often seen men who wanted to u se s trong language, and with
good e x cu se for it, flush with sudden embarrassment and drop their

79

vo ices to a mutcer on becoming consc ious of a feminine aud ience . In
ih e lunchrime companionship of men and women workers and in the
c a s u a l char a t any le i su re moment, in all rhar pertained to familiar
soc ia l co n tac ts , even amid the unfamiliar surroundings of the shipyards»
the men p reserved a lm ost in tact the pattern of behaviour which they
p ra c t i se d at hom e; the r e sp ec t fot the decen t wife and the good mother,
the c i rcum spec t f r iendliness with the s i s te r , and even (he )>rotecttvo
affection for the inexper ienced daughter of the family. 1

Cheste rf ie ld makes a similar suggestion about another so c ie ty :
In mixed com panies with your equa ls (for in mixed companies rill

peop le are to a certain degree equal) greater e a s e and liberty are
a l lo w ed ; but they too have tbeir bounds within bicnscauce . There is
a soc ia l r e s p e c t n e c e s s a ry ; you may sta r t your own sub je c t of
conversa tion with modesty, taking great ca te , however , de ne jttmnis
parler de con ies duns la maison d un pend tu Your words, ges tu res ,
and a t t i tu d e s , have a greater degree of la t i tude , though by no means
an unbounded one. You may have your hands in your p ocke ts , take
snuff , s i t , s ta nd , or occas iona l ly walk, -as vou l i k e ; but I believe you
would nor think it very biensean l to w h is t le , put your hat on, loosen
y o u r gar te rs or your buckles , l ie down upon a couch, Or go to bed
*ind welter in an -367.

80

o f backstage behaviour. We know, of course , tha t a team
with only one member can ta k e a very dark view o f i t s e l f and
tha t not a few c l in ic a l p sy c h o lo g is ts attempt to a l le v ia te
th is guilt, making their liv ing by te l l ing individuals the facts
of other p eo p le ’s l ives . Behind these rea l iza t io n s about
o n ese lf and i l lu s ions about o thers is one of the important
dynam ics and d isappoin tm ents of soc ia l mobility, be it mobility
upward, downward, or s idew ays . In attempting to e sca p e
from a two-faced world of front region and back region
behaviour, ind iv iduals may feel that in the new posit ion they
are attempting to acquire they will be the ch a rac ter projected
by ind iv iduals in tha t posit ion and not a t the same time a
performer. When they arrive, of course , they find their new
situa tion has unantic ipa ted s im ila r i t ie s with their old one;
both involve a p resen ta t ion of front to an audience and both
involve the p resen ter in the grubby, gossipy b u s in e s s of
s tag ing a show.

I t is som etim es thought th a t co a rse familiarity is merely
a cultural thing, a c h a rac te r is t ic , say , of the working c l a s s e s ,
and that those of high e s ta t e do not conduct them se lves in
th is way. The point, of course , i s that persons of high rank
tend to opera te in small team s and tend to spend much of
th e ir day engaged in spoken performances, w hereas working-
c l a s s men tend to be members of large team s and tend to
spend much of their day backs tage or in unspoken perform
a n c e s . Thus the higher one’s p lace in the s ta tu s pyramid,
the sm aller the number of persons with whom one can be
familiar, 1 the l e s s time one spends backstage, and the more

* An in te res t ing l imiting in s tance occurs in the c a s e of heads of s t a te s ,
who have no team-mates. Sometimes these individuals may make use
o f a s e t of c ron ie s to whom they g ive a cour tesy rank of team-mate when
moments of re lax ing recrea t ion ate ca l led for. Court equerr ies often
p lay th is role. Ponsonby , op. c i t . , p . 269, i l lu s t ra te s th is in h i s
descrip tion of King Edward’s v is i t to the Danish Court:

‘D in n e r c ons is ted of se vera l courses and many wines , and usually
la s te d one and a half hours. M’e then a l l fi led out ami in arm to the
drawing-room, where again the King of Denmark and all the Danish
Royal Family circ led round the room. At e igh t we ret ired to our rooms
to smoke, but a s -the Danish s u i t e accompanied us the conversa tion was
l imited to polite enquir ies into the customs of the two counrries . At
nine we returned to the drawing-room where we played round games,
genera l ly Loo, without s t a k e s .

1 At ten we were mercifully r e lease d and al lowed to go to our rooms.
T h e se evenings were a high tria l to everyone, but the King behaved
l ik e an ange l , p lay ing whist , which w as then quite out of da te , for very
low points . After a week of th is , however , he determined to play bridge,
but only af ter the King of Denmark had re t i ted to bed. We went through
the usua l routine ti l l ten o ’c lock , and then P r inc e Demidoff of the R uss ian
Legation came to the K ing ’s rooms and played bridge with the King,
Seymoure F o r te scu e , and myself , for fairly high points. Ve continued
thus till the end of the v i s i t , and it w as a p leasu re to relax ou rse lves
from the s t i f f n e ss of the Danish C o u r t .1

81

l ike ly it is tha t one will be required to be po lite a s well a s
decorous. However, when the time and company are right,
quite sacred performers will ac t, and be required to act, in a
quite vulgar fash ion . i ‘o r numerical and s tra teg ic reasons ,
however, we are likely to learn tha t labourers use a bac k s ta g e
manner and unlikely to learn tha t lords use it too.

A final point must be su g g e s ted about b acks tage re la t ion
sh ip s . When we say tha t pe rso n s who co-operate in presen ting
a performance may ex p re s s familiarity with one another when
not in the p resence of the aud ience , it must be allowed that
one can become so hab ituated to one’s front region ac tiv ity
and front region ch a rac te r that it may be n e c e s sa ry to handle
o n e ’s relaxation from it as a performance. One may feel
obliged, when backstage , to ac t out of ch a rac te r in a familiar
fashion and th is can come to be more of a pose than the
performance for which it was meant to provide a re laxation .

In this chap te r I have spoken of the util ity of control over
backstage and of the dramaturgical trouble tha t a r is e s when
th is control cannot be exerted . 1 would like now to cons ider
the problem of controlling a c c e s s to the front region, but in
order to do so it will be nec es sa ry to extend a l i t t le the
orig inal frame of reference.

Two kinds of bounded regions have been co n s id ered :
front reg ions where a par t icu lar performance is or may be in
progress , and back reg ions where action occurs that is re la ted
to the performance but inc o n s is te n t with the appearance
fostered by the performance. It would seem reasonab le to
add a third region, a res idua l one, namely, al l p laces other
than the two already iden tif ied . Such a region could be ca lled
‘ t h e o u ts id e . ‘ The notion of an ou ts ide region that i s neither
front nor back with respec t to a particu lar performance conforms
to our com mon-sense notion of soc ia l es tab l ishm en ts , for
when we look at most bu ild ings we find within them rooms
that are regularly or temporarily used a s back regions and
front regions, and we find tha t the outer walls of the building
cut both types of rooms off from the ou ts ide world. Those
ind iv iduals who are on the ou ts ide of the es tab l ishm ent we
may ca ll ou ts iders .

While the notion of ou ts ide is obvious, u n le ss we handle
it with care we will be misled and confused, for when we
sh if t our considerat ion from the front or back region to the
o u ts id e we tend a l so to sh if t our point of reference from one
performance to another. Given a particular ongoing performance
a s a point of reference, those who are ou ts ide will be pe rsons
for whom the performers ac tua l ly or poten tia lly put on a show,

82

but a show ( a s we shall s e e ) different from, or all too similar
to, the one in p rogress . When o u ts iders unexpectedly enter
the front o r the back region of a particular performance-in-
p rogress, the consequence orf their inopportune presence
can often bes t be s tud ied not in term s of i t s e f fec ts upon
the performance in p rogress but rather in terms of i t s e f fec ts
upon a different performance, namely, the one which the
performers or the audience would ordinarily p resen t before
the o u ts id e rs at a time and p lace when the ou ts id e rs would
be the an t ic ipa ted audience.

In Chapter One of th i s report it w as sugges ted that per
formers tend to give the impression, or tend not to contrad ic t
the im pression, that the role they are playing at the time
i s their most important role and that the a t tr ibu tes claimed
by or imputed to them are their most e s se n t ia l and character
i s t i c a t tr ibu tes . When individuals w itness a show that was
not meant for them, they may, then, become d is i l lu s ioned
about th is show a s well a s about the show that w as meant
for them. T he performer, too, may become confused, a s
Kenneth Burke s u g g e s ts :

We are a l l , in our compartmentalized re sp o n ses , like the man
who Is a tyrant in his office and a weakling among his family, or
l ike the m usic ian who is a s se r t iv e in his art and se lf-effacing in h is
personal re la t ionsh ips . Such d is s o c ia t io n becomes a difficulty when
we attempt to unite these compartments (as , were the man who i s a
tyrant in h is office and a weakling in h i s home suddenly to employ his
wife or children, he would find his d is s o c ia t iv e d e v ic e s inadequate,
and might become bewildered and tormented). 1

T h e answ er to th is problem is for the performer to seg re
ga te h is aud ien c es so that the indiv iduals who w itness him
in one of h is ro les will not be the individuals who w itness
him in another of h is ro les . T hus some French Canadian
p r ie s t s do not want to lead so stric t a life that they cannot
go swimming at the beach with friends, but they tend to feel
that i t is b es t to swim with persons who are not the ir
parishioners, s ince the familiarity required a t the beach i s
incompatible with the d is tance and respect required in the
parish. Front region control is one measure of audience
segregation. Incapacity to maintain th is control le a v e s the
performer in a position of not knowing what charac ter he will
have to project from one moment to the next, making it difficult
for him to effect a dramaturgical s u c c e s s in any one of them.
It i s not difficult to sym path ize with the pharmacist who
a c t s l ik e a sa lesm an or l ike a begrimed stock-man to a
customer who proves to have a prescription in her hand, while
at the next moment he p ro jec ts h i s dignified, d is in te res ted ,

‘K en n e th Burke. Permanence and Change (New York: New Republic
Inc. , 1953), fn. p. 309.

83

medical, p ro fe ss io n a l ly -sp o t le s s pose someone who happens
to want a th ree-cen t stamp or a choco la te tudge sundae. 1

It should be c lea r that ju s t as it i s useful for the performer
to exclude persons from the audience who see liim in another
and in c o n s is te n t p resen ta t ion , so also is it useful for the
performer to exc lude from the audience those before whom
he performed in the p a s t a show’ inconsis ten t with the current
one. P e r s o n s who are strongly upward or downward mobile
accom plish th is in a grand manner by making sure to leave
rhe p lace of their origins. And, on the sam e grounds, just
;is it is convenien t to play one ‘s different rou tines before
lifferent persons, so a l so is it convenient to separa te the
different aud ien c es one has for the same routine, s in c e that
i s the only way in which each aud ience can feel tha t while
there may be o ther aud ien c es for the same routine, none is
getting so d es irab le a p resen ta tion o| it. Here again front
region control is important.

By proper schedu ling of o n e ’s performances, ir i s p o ss ib le
not only to keep o n e ’s aud iences separa ted from each other
(by appearing before them in different front reg ions or sequen t
ia lly in the sam e region) but a lso to allow a few moments
in between perform ances so a s to ex tricate o n ese lf psychol
og ically and physica l ly from one’s personal front, while
taking on another. P roblem s sometimes arise, however, in
those soc ia l e s tab l ish m e n ts whc-re the same or d illeren t
members of the team must handle different aud icnces at the
sam e time. If the different aud iences come within hearing
d is tance of each other, it will be difficult to sus ta in the
im pression tha t ea c h i s receiv ing spec ia l and unique se rv ices .
Thus, if a h o s te s s w ishes to give each of her g u e s ts a warm
spec ia l greeting or fa rew el l—a sp e c ia l performance, in f a c t –
then sh e will have to arrange to do th is in an anteroom that
i s separated from the room contain ing the o ther gues ts .
Similarly, in c a s e s where a firm of undertakers is required
to conduct two s e rv ic e s on the sam e day, it will be nec es sa ry
to route the two aud iences through the es tab l ishm en t in such
a way tha t the ir pa th s will not c ro ss , l e s t the feeling that
the funeral home i s a home away from home be destroyed.
So, too, in furniture sa lesroom s, a clerk who i s ‘ s w i tc h in g ’
a customer from one su i t e of furniture to another of higher
price must be careful to keep his audience out of earshot
of another clerk who may be sw itching another customer
from a s t i l l cheaper su i te to the one from which the first
clerk i s trying to sw itch h is customer, for at such tim es

•See Weinlein, op. c it., pp. 147-148.
84

the suice that one clerk is d isparag ing will be the s u i t e that
the ocher clerk i s praising. 1 Of course, i f w alls separa te
the cwo aud iences , the performer can su s ta in the im pressions
he is fostering by darting rapidly from one region to another.
T h is s taging device , p o ss ib le with two examining rooms, is
increasingly popular among American d en t is ts and doctors.

When audience segregation fa i l s and an ou ts ider happens
upon a performance tha t was not meant for him, difficult
problems in impression management a r ise . Two accommodative
techn iques for dealing with th e se problems may be mentioned.
F irs t , a l l those already in the audience may be suddenly
accorded, and accept, temporary b acks tage s t a tu s and
co l lus tve ly join the performer in abruptly shifting to an act
tha t i s a fitting one for the intruder to observe. Thus a
husband and wife in the midst of their daily bickering, when
suddenly faced with a gues t of brief acquain tance , will put
a s ide the ir intimate quarrels and play out between them se lves
a re la t ionsh ip tha t is almost a s d is tan t and friendly a s the
one played out for the sudden arrival. R e la tionsh ips , a s
well a s ty p e s of conversation , which cannot be shared
among the three will be la id a s id e . In general, then, if the
newcomer i s to be treated in the manner to which he has
become accustom ed, the performer must switch rapidly from
the performance he was giving to one that the newcomer will
feel i s proper. Rarely can th is be done smoothly enough to
preserve the newcomer’s i l lu s ion that the show suddenly put
on i s the performer’s natural show. And even if th is is
managed, the audience already p resen t i s likely to feel that
what they had been taking for the performer’s e s se n t ia l se lf
was not so e s se n t i a l .

It has been sugges ted that an intrusion may be handled
by having those p resen t sw itch to a definition of the s ituation
into which the intruder can be incorporated. A second way
of handling the problem is to accord the intruder a c lear-cu t
welcome a s someone who should have been in the region all
along. The same show, more or le s s , is thus carried on,
but i t i s made to include the newcomer. Thus when an
individual pays an unexpected v is i t to his friends and finds
them giving a party, he is usua lly welcomed loudly and coaxed
into staying. If the welcome were not e n th u s ia s t ic a l ly
extended, his d iscovery that he has been excluded might
d isc re d i t the front of fr iend liness and affection tha t ob ta ins
between the intruder and h is h o s ts on other o ccas io n s .

Ordinarily, however, neither of these techniques se em s

‘ See L ouse Conant, ‘T h e Borax H o u s e , ’ The American Mercury, XVII, 172.
85

to be very effec tive . Usually when in truders enter the front
region, the performers tend to get ready to begin the perform
ance they s tage for the in truders at another time or place,
and th is sudden r e a d in e s s to ac t in a particular way brings
at l e a s t momentary confusion to the l in e of action the
performers are a lready engaged in. The performers will find
them se lves temporarily torn between two p o ss ib le rea l i t ie s ,
and until s ig n a ls can be given and received members of the
team may have no guide a s to what line they are to follow.
Embarrassment i s almost certa in to resu lt . Under such
c ircum stances it is unders tandab le tha t the intruder may be
accorded nei ther of the accommodative treatments mentioned
but rather trea ted a s if he were not there a t all or quite
unceremoniously asked to s ta y out.

86

C H A P T E R IV

DISCREPANT ROLES

O ne overall ob jec tive of any team i s to su s ta in the
definition of the s i tua tion tha t i t s performance fos ters . T h is
will involve the over-communication of some fa c ts and the
under-communication of o thers. Given the fragility and the
required exp ress ive coherence of the rea li ty that i s dramatized
by a performance, there are usually f a c ts which, if a t ten t ion
i s drawn to them during the performance, would discredit ,
disrupt, or make u s e le s s the im pression that the performance
fo s ters . T h e s e fac ts may be sa id to provide ‘d e s t r u c t iv e
inform ation.’ A bas ic problem for many performances, then,
i s that of information contro l ; the audience must not acquire
des truc tive information about the s itua tion that is being
defined for them. In o ther words, a team must be able to
keep i t s s e c re ts and have i ts s e c re ts kept.

Before proceeding it will be convenient to add some
su g g es t io n s about types of se c re ts , because d isc losure of
different types of se c re ts can threaten a performance in
different ways. The suggested types will be based upon
the function the se c re t performs and the rela tion of the secret
to the conception o thers have about the p o s s e s s o r ; I will
a ssum e that any particular secre t can represen t more than
one such type.

F irs t , there are what we sometim es c a l l ‘ d a rk ’ sec re ts .
T h ese co n s is t of fac ts about a team which it knows and
concea ls and which are incompatible with the image of se lf
that the team attem pts to maintain before i t s audience. Dark
s e c re ts are, of course, double s e c r e t s : one is the crucial
fact that is hidden and another is the fact that crucial fac ts
have not been openly admitted. Dark s e c r e ts were considered
in Chapter One in the sec tion on m isrepresen ta tion .

Secondly, there are what might be ca lled ’ s t r a t e g ic ’
sec re ts . T h e se pertain to in ten tions and c a p a c i t ie s of a
team which it co n c ea ls from i ts audience in order to prevent
them from adapting effec tive ly to the s ta te of a ffa irs the
team is p lanning to bring about. Stra tegic se c re ts are the
ones tha t b u s in e sse s and armies employ in des igning future
ac t ions ag a in s t the opposit ion . So long a s a team makes no
pretence of being the sort of team that does not have s tra teg ic

87

se c re ts , i t s s t r a te g ic s e c re ts need not be dark ones . Yet it
i s to be noted tha t even when the s t ra teg ic s e c re ts of a team
are not dark ones, s t i l l the d isc lo su re or d iscovery of such
s e c r e t s d is rup ts the team ’s performance, for suddenly and
unexpected ly the team finds it u s e le s s and foolish to maintain
the care , re t icence , and s tud ied ambiguity of ac tion that
was required prior to lo s s of i t s s e c re ts . It may be added
th a t s e c re ts tha t a re merely s tra teg ic tend to be ones which
the team eventua lly d is c lo s e s , perforce, when ac tion based
upon se c re t p repara tions i s consummated, w hereas an effort
may be made to keep dark s e c re t s se c re t forever. It may
a l so be added tha t information is often held back not because
of i t s known s t ra te g ic importance but because it is felt that
it may someday acquire such importance.

Thirdly, there are what might be ca lled ‘ i n s i d e ‘ s e c re ts .
T h e se are o n es whose p o s se s s io n marks an individual a s
being a member of a group and helps the group feel se p a ra te
and different from those ind iv iduals who are not ‘ i n the
know .’ 1 Inside s e c re ts give ob jective in te l lec tua l content
to su b je c t iv e ly felt so c ia l d is tance . Almost all information
in a soc ia l es tab l ishm en t has something of this exclusionary
function and may be se en a s none of somebody’s business .

Inside s e c r e t s may have l i t t le s t ra te g ic importance and
may not be very dark. When th is i s :he c a s e , such s e c re ts
may be d iscovered or acc iden ta lly d isc lo sed without radically
d isrup ting the team performance; the performers need only
sh if t their s e c re t delight to another matter. Of course , s e c re ts
tha t are s t ra teg ic an d /o r dark se rve extremely well a s inside
s e c r e t s and we find, in fact, that the s t ra teg ic and dark
c h a rac te r of s e c re t s i s often exaggerated for th is reason.
In teres ting ly enough, the leaders of a so c ia l group are some
tim es faced with a dilemma regarding important s tra teg ic
s e c re ts . T hose in the group who are not brought in on the
se c re t will feel excluded and affronted when the se c re t finally
com es to l ig h t ; on the other hand, the grea ter the number of
p e rso n s who are brought in on the sec re t , the greater the
like lihood of in tentional or unintentional d isc lo su re .

T he knowledge that one team can have of ano ther’s s e c re ts
provides us with two other types of se c re ts . F irs t , there
a re what might be ca lled ‘ e n t r u s t e d ’ s e c re ts . T h is is the
kind which the p o s se s so r is obliged to keep b ecause of h is
re la t ion to the team to which the sec re t refers. If an individual
who is en trusted with a sec re t i s to be the person he c la im s
1 Cf. Riesm an ‘s d isc u ss io n of the ’ in s ide dopcstex,* op . c U pp. 199*209.

88

he is , ‘he m ust keep the secre t , even though it is not a secret
about himself. Thus, for example, when a lawyer d is c lo se s
the im proprie t ies of h is c l ien ts , two quite d ifferent perform
a n c e s are th rea ten e d : the c l i e n t ’s show of innocence to the
court, and the lawyer’s show of trus tw orth iness to h is cl ient.
It may a l so be noted tha t a team’s s tra teg ic s e c re ts , whether
dark or not, are likely to be the en trusted s e c r e t s of the
individual members of the team, for each member of the team
i s l ike ly to presenc h imself to h is team-mates a s someone
who i s loya l to the team.

T he second type of information about another’s s e c r e ts
may be ca lled ‘ f ree .’ A free se c re t i s somebody e l s e ’s sec re t
known to o n e s e l f that one could d is c lo se without d isc red it ing
the image one was presenting of oneself . A team may acquire
free s e c r e ts by d iscovery, involuntary d isc lo su re , ind iscrce t
adm iss ions , re- transm ission , etc. In general we muse s e e
that the free or en trusted s e c re ts of one team may be the
dark or s t ra teg ic s e c r e ts of another team, and so a team
whose v ita l s e c r e t s are p o s se s se d by o thers will try to oblige
the p o s s e s s o r s to treat th e se se c re ts a s s e c re t s that are
entrusted and not free.

T h is chapter is concerned with the k inds of persons who
learn about the s e c r e t s of a team and with the b a s e s and
the th rea ts of the ir privileged position. Before proceeding,
however, i t should be made c lea r that a l l des truc tive inform
ation i s not found in se c re ts , and that information control
invo lves more than keeping se c re ts . For example, there
seem to be fac ts about almost every performance which are
incompatible with the impression fostered by the performance
but which have not been co l lec ted and organized into a usable
form by anyone. 1 T hese are in a s e n s e la ten t se c re ts , and
the problems of keeping s e c r e ts a re quite different from the
problems of keeping la ten t s e c re ts la ten t . Another example
of des truc tive information not embodied in s e c r e t s is found
in such even ts a s unmeant ges tu res , previously referred to.
T h ese ev e n ts in troduce information—a definition of the s i t
uation—which i s incompatible with the projected c la im s of
the performers, but th e se untoward even ts do not cons t i tu te
se c re ts . Avoidance of such exp ress ive ly inappropria te even ts
i s a lso a kind of information control but will not be considered
in th i s chapter.

1 1-ot example, Wilensky, op. ci t . , chap. vi i , reports chat a union new spaper
may have such low readership that the ed itor , concerned with his job,
■”ay refuse to have a p ro fess iona l survey made of readership so th a t
»either he nor anyone e lse will have proof of the s u s p ec ted inef fec tiveness
of liis role.

89

Given a par t icu la r performance a s the point of reference,
we have d is t in g u ish e d iliree crucial ro les on the b a s i s of
func t ion : those who perform; those performed to ; arid o u ts id e rs
who nei ther perform in the show nor observe it . V/e may also
d is t ingu ish th e se cruc ia l ro le s on the b a s i s of information
ordinarily ava ilab le to those who play them. Performers are
aware of the im pression they foster and ordinarily a l so p o s s e s s
des truc tive information about the show. The audience know
what they have been allowed to perceive , qualif ied by what
they can glean unoffic ia lly by c lo se observation . In the
main, they know the definition of the s itua tion tha t the perform
ance fo s te r s but do not have des truc tive information about it.
O u ts id e rs know nei ther the s e c re ts of the performance nor
the appearance of rea lity fostered by it. F ina lly , the three
cruc ia l ro le s mentioned could be described on the b a s is of
tlie reg ions to which the role-player has a c c e s s ; performers
appear in the front and back reg io n s ; the aud ience ap p e a rs
only in the front reg ion ; and the o u ts id e rs are excluded from
both regions. It i s to be noted, then, tha t during the perform
ance we rpay expect to find correla tion among function,
information ava i lab le , and reg ions of a c c e s s , so that, for
example, if we knew the reg ions into which an individual
ItaJ a c c e s s we should know the role he p layed and the
information he p o s s e s s e d about the performance.

In ac tu a l fact, however, we find that the congruence
among function, information p o s s e s s e d , and a c c e s s ib l e regions
is seldom com plete. Additional po in ts of vantage re la t ive
to the performance develop which com plicate th e simple
rela tion among function, information, and place . Some of
th e s e pecu l ia r van tage po in ts are so often taken and their
s ig n i f ic an c e for the performance com es to be so c learly under
s tood that we can refer to them as ro les, although, re la t ive
to the th ree crucial ones , they migfit bes t be ca l le d d iscrepan t
ro les. Some of the more obvious ones will be considered
here.

P e rh a p s the most spec tacu la r ly d isc repan t ro les are those
which bring a person into a soc ia l es tab l ishm en t in a fa lse
gu ise . Some v a r ie t ie s may be mentioned.

F irs t , there is the role of ‘ in form er. ‘ T he informer is
someone who pretends to the performers to be a member of
their team, i s allowed to come backs tage and to acquire
des truc t ive information, and then openly or sec re t ly s e l l s
out the show to the audience. The po lit ica l, military, in
dustr ia l , and criminal va r ian ts of th is role are famous. If it
appears tha t the individual first joined the team in a s incere
way and not with the prem edita ted plan of d isc lo s in g i ts

90

se c re ts , we som etim es ca ll him a traitor, turncoat, or quitter,
espec ia l ly if he i s the sort of person who ought to have made
a decent team-mate. The individual who all along has meant
to inform on th e team, and originally jo in s only for th is
purpose, i s som etim es ca l le d a spy. It has frequently been
noted, of course , that informers, whether t ra i to rs or sp ie s ,
are often in an exce l len t posit ion to play a double game,
selling out the s e c r e ts of th o se who buy s e c re ts from them.

Secondly, there i s the role of ‘ s h i l l . ’ A shill i s someone
who a c t s a s though he were an ordinary member of the audience
but i s in fact in league with the performers. Typically , the
shil l e i ther provides a v is ib le model for the audience of the
kind of re sp o n se the performers are seek ing or provides the
kind of audience response th a t is n ec es sa ry at the moment
for the development of the performance. Our apprec ia t ion of
this role no doubt s tem s from fairgrounds, and the des ignat ions
r s h i l l ’ and ‘ c l a q u e , 1 employed in the entertainment business ,
have come into common usage. The following defin itions
suggest the origins of the c o n c ep t :

S t ic k , n. An ind iv idua l—sometimes a local rube—hired by the
operator of a se t – io in t (a ‘ f i x e d ‘ gambling booth) to win flashy p r izes
so that the crowd will be induced to gamble. When the ’ live o n e s ’
(na t ives) have been sta r ted , the s l i c k s are removed and deliver their
winnings to a man ou ts id e who has no apparent connection with the
joint. 1

j f t i l taber, n. An employee of the c ircus who tu sh e s up to th e kid
shou t ick e t box at the psycholog ica l moment when the barker conc ludes
h is sp ie l. Me and h is fellow shi l labers purchase t ick e ts and p a s s
*nside and the crowd of towners in from of the bally s tand are not
slow in doing l ikewise . 2

We must not take the view tha t sh i l l s are found only in
non-respec table perform ances (even though it is only the
non-respec table s h i l l s , perhaps, who play their role sys tem
atica lly and without personal illusion). For example, a t
informal conversa tional gatherings, it is common for a wife
to look in te re s te d when her husband te l ls an anecdote and
to feed him appropriate le ad s and cues , although in fact sh e
has heard the anecdo te many tim es and knows that the show
her husband is making of te l l ing something for the first time
i s only a show. A sh il l , then, is someone who appears to
be just another unsoph is t ica ted member of the aud ience and
who u se s h is unapparent so ph is t ica t ion in the in te re s ts of
the performing team.

W’e cons ider now another impostor in the audience, but
(his time one who uses his unapparent soph is t ica tion in the
in te res ts of the audience , not the performers. T h is type
c a n be il lus tra ted by the person who is hired to check up on

Oavid Mauret, ‘C a rn iv a l C a n t , ‘ Imericnn Speech, VI, 336.
5 VI’. \khite, ‘A C ircus L is t , ‘ American Speech, 1, 283.

91

the s tan d ard s tha t performers maintain in order to ensure
that in some re sp e c ts fostered appearances will not be too
far from rea lity . He ac ts , offic ia lly or unofficially , a s a
protective agent for the unsuspec ting public, p laying the
role of audience with more perception and e th ica l s t r ic tn e s s
rhan ordinary o b se rv e rs are likely to employ.

Sometimes these agen ts play their hands in an open way,
giving the performers preliminary warning that the next perform
ance i s abouc to be examined. Thus f irs t night performers
and arrested persons have fair warning tha t anyth ing they
say will be held a s evidence in judging them. A par t ic ipan t
observer who adm its h is ob je c t iv es from the beginning g ives
ihe performers whom he o b se rv e s a s im ilar opportunity.

Sometimes, however, the agen t goes underground and by
ac t in g a s an ordinary gullible member of the aud ience gives
the performers rope with which to hang them se lves . In the
everyday t rades , ag e n ts who give no warning are sometim es
ca l le d ‘ s p o t t e r s , ‘ a s they will be here, and are understandably
d is l iked . A s a le sp e rso n may find th a t she has been short-
tempered and impolite to a customer who is rea lly a company
agent checking up on the trea tm ent bona fide cus tom ers
rece ive . A grocer may find that he has sold goods a t i l legal
p r ice s to cus tom ers who are experts on p r ice s and have
authority concern ing them. 1

Inc idental ly , we must be careful to d is t ingu ish real
sp o t te rs from self-appointed ones, often ca lled ‘k n o c k e r s ‘
or ‘ w iseguys ,’ who do not p o s s e s s the knowledge of backstage
opera tions th a t they claim to p o s s e s s and who are not
empowered by law or custom to rep resen t the audience.

Today we are accustom ed to think of agen ts who check
up on the s tandards of a performance and on the performers,
whether th is is done openly or without warning, a s part of
the se rv ice s tructure , and e sp ec ia l ly as part of the so c ia l
control th a t governmental o rgan iza tions exert on behalf of
the consumer and taxpayer. Frequently, however, th is kind
of work has been done in a wider soc ia l field. Offices of
heraldry and offices of protocol provide familiar examples,
th e s e ag e n c ie s se rv ing to keep the nobility and high
1 An i l lustra t ion a s tegards ctain conductors is given by W. Fred Cottrell ,

The Railroader (Stanford, C a li fo rn ia : Stanford Universi ty P re s s , 1940),
p. 8 7 :

‘O n c e a train conductor could demand re s p e c t of p a s s e n g e r s ; now
a ‘ s p o t t e r* may ‘ tu rn him in* i f he fai ls to remove his cap a s he en te rs
a car where women are sea ted or d o e s not exude that oi ly subservience
which in c reas in g c l a s s c o n s c io u sn e s s , diffusion of pa t te rn from the
European and the hotel world, and the competition with other forms of
transporta t ion have forced upon h im .’

92

government officers, and those who fa lse ly claim these
s ta tu s e s , in their proper re la t ive p la ce s .

There i s yet another pecu lia r fellow in the audience.
Me i s the one who ta k e s an unremarked, modest p lace in the
audience and l e a v e s the region when they do, but when he
le a v e s he goes to h is employer, a com peti tor of the team
whose performance he lias w itnessed , to report what he h a s
seen. l ie i s the professional shopper—the Gimbel’s man in
Macy’s and the Macy’s man in Gimbel’s ; he is the fashion
spy and the foreigner at National Air Meets. The shopper
i s a person who has a technical right to se e the show but
ought to have the decency, it is sometimes felt, to s tay in
h i s own back region, for h i s in te res t in the show is from the
wrong perspec tive , at once more lively and more bored than
tha t of a thoroughly leg itim ate spectator.

Another d isc repan t role i s one tha t i s often ca lled ihe
go-between or mediator. The go-between le a rn s the s e c r e ts
of each s ide and g ives each s ide the true im pression that
he will keep i t s s e c r e t s ; but he tends to give each side the
fa lse im pression tha t he is more loyal to it than to the other
s ide . Sometimes, a s in the case of the a rb itra tor in some
labour d ispu tes , the go-between may function a s a means by
which two obligatorily hosti le team s can come to a mutually
profitable agreement. Sometimes, a s in the c a s e of the
theatr ica l agent, the go-between may function a s 3 means
by which each s ide i s given a s lanted version of the other
that is ca lc u la te d to make a c lo se r rela tionship between the
two s ides p o ss ib le . Sometimes, a s in the c a se of the marriage-
broker, the go-between may serve a s a means of conveying
tentat ive overtures from one s ide to the other which, if openly
presented , might lead to an em barrassing accep tance or
rejection.

When a go-between opera tes in the ac tua l p resence of
the two team s of which he is a member, we obtain a wonderful
display, not unlike a man despera te ly trying to play tenn is
with himself. Again we are forced to se e tha t the individual
i s not the natural unit for our consideration but rather the
team and i ts members. As an individual, the go-betw een’s
activity is bizarre, untenable, and undignified, vac il la t ing
a s i t does from one s e t of appearances and lo y a l t ie s to
another. As a cons ti tuen t part of two teams, the go-between’s
vacilla tion i s quite understandable . The go-between can
be thought of simply a s a double-shill.

One i l lus tra t ion of the go-between’s role appears in recent
s tud ies of the function of the foreman. Not only must he

93

ac ce p t the J u r ie s of the d irector, guiding the show on the
factory floor on behalf of the managerial audience, but he
must a l so t ran s la te what he knows and what the audience
s e e s into a verbal l in e which h is consc ie n ce and the audience
will be willing to accep t . 1 Another i l lu s tra t ion of the go-
be tw een’s role i s found in the chairman of formally conducted
m eetings. A s soon a s he has ca lled the group to order and
introduced the gues t speaker, he is l ike ly to serve thereaf te r
a s a highly v is ib le model for the other l i s ten e rs , i l lu s tra t ing
by exaggerated e x p re ss io n s the involvement and apprecia tion
they ought to be showing, and providing them with advance
cu e s a s to whether a par t icu la r remark ought to be g ree ted
by s e r io u s n e s s , laughter , or apprec ia t ive chuck le s . Speakers
tend to ac ce p t inv ita t ions to speak on the assum ption that
the chairman will ‘ t a k e care of them,’ which he does by
being the very model of a l i s ten e r and thoroughly confirming
th e notion tha t the sp e ec h has real s ign if icance . T he cha ir
man’s performance i s effec tive partly because the l i s te n e r s
have an obligation to him, an obligation to confirm any
definition o f the s i tua t ion which he sponsors, an obligation ,
in short, to follow the lis ten ing-l ine tha t he takes . The
dramaturgical ta sk of ensuring tha t the speake r appears to
be apprecia ted and that the l i s te n e rs are enthra lled i s of
course not ea sy , and often leaves the chairman in no frame
of mind to give thought to what he i s o s tens ib ly l i s te n in g to.

The role o f go-between seem s to be esp ec ia l ly s ign if ican t
in informal conviv ia l in te rac t ion , again i l lu s tra t ing the u til ity
of the two-team approach. When one individual in a
conversational c i rc le en gages in action or speech which
rece ives the concerted a t tention of the o thers p resen t, he
def ines the s itua tion , and he may define it in a way tha t i s
not eas ily ac ce p ta b le to h is audience. Someone p resen t
will feel g rea ter responsib il i ty for and to him than the o thers
feel, and we may expect this person c lo s e s t to him to make
an effort to t ran s la te the d if fe rences between sp eak e r and
l i s te n e rs into a view that is more accep tab le co l lec t ive ly
than the orig inal projection . A moment la ter , when someone
e l se ta k es the floor, ano ther individual may find him self
tak ing on the role of go-between and mediator. A sp a te of
informal conversa tion can, in fact, be seen as the formation
and re-formation of team s, and the creation and re-creation
of go-betweens.

Some d isc re p an t ro les have been s u g g e s te d : the informer,
l See Rocchlisbcrger, op. ci t .

94

the sh il l , the spotter, the shopper, and the go-between. In
each c a s e we find an unexpected, unapparent re la tion among
feigned role, information p o s s e s s e d , and regions of a c c e s s .
And in each c a s e we deal with someone who may par t ic ipa te
in the ac tua l in teraction between the performers and audience.
A further d isc repan t role may be considered , that of the ’ non-
p e r s o n ; ’ those who play th is role are p resen t during the
in te raction but do not, in a se n se , take the role e i the r of
performer or of audience, nor do they (as do informers, sh i l l s ,
and spo tte rs ) pretend to be what they are not. 1

P e rh a p s the c l a s s i c type of non-person in our soc ie ty i s
the se rvan t. T h is person i s expected to be p resen t in the
front region while the host i s p resen ting a performance of
hosp ita l i ty to the g u e s ts of the es tab l ishm ent. While in some
s e n s e s the se rvant i s part o f the hos t’s team (a s I have
t rea ted him previously), in ce r ta in ways he i s defined by both
performers and audience a s someone who i s n ’t there. Among
some groups, the se rvant i s a lso expected to enter freely into
the back regions, on the theory tha t no im pression need be
m ainta ined for him. Mrs Trollope g ives u s some exam ples:

1 had, indeed, frequent opportunit ies of observ ing th is habitual
indifference to the p re sen c e of their s l a v e s . They calk of them, of
their condit ion , of their facu l t ie s , of their conduct, exac t ly a s if they
were in capab le of hearing. 1 once saw a young lady, who, when se a ted
a t t ab le between a male and a female, w as induced by her modesty to
intrude on the chair of her female neighbour to avoid the indelicacy
o f touching the elbow o f a man. T once saw th is very young lady
lac in g her s t a y s with the most perfec t composure before a negro
footman. A Virginian gentleman told me th a t ever s ince he had m auied ,
he had been accus tom ed to have a negro girl s leep in the same chamber
with h im self and h is wife. I a s k e d for what purpose this nocturnal
a t tendance w as n e c e s sa ry ? * Good H e a v e n 1” w as the reply, ” I f I
wanted a g la s s of water during the night, what would become of me.” 2

T h is i s an extreme example. While se rv a n ts tend to be
add re ssed only when a ‘ r e q u e s t ’ i s to be given them, sti l l
their p re se n c e in a region typically p la c e s some res tr ic t ions
upon the behaviour of those who are fully presen t, the more
so, apparently , when the soc ia l d is tance between se rvant
and served is not great. In the c a s e of other servant- like
ro les in our soc ie ty , such a s tha t o f e leva to r operator and
cab-driver, there seem s to be uncertainty on both s id e s of
the re la tionsh ip a s to what kind of in t im ac ies are perm issib le
in the presence of the non-person.

In addition to those in se rvan t- l ike ro les , there are other
standard c a te g o r ie s of p e rso n s who are som etim es t rea ted

1 l’Or a fuller trea tment o f the role see Goffman, op. c i t . , chap. xvi.
2 Nirs T ro l lope , V o m est ic Manners o f the Americans (2 v o l s . ; London:

Whittaker, T reacher , 1832), II, 56-57.

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in the ir p re se n ce a s if they were not th e re ; the very young,
the very old, and the s ick are common exam ples. Further,
we find today a growing body of techn ica l pe rso n n e l—recording
s tenographers , ‘b roadcasting techn ic ians , photographers, secre t
po lice , e t c .—who play a techn ica l role during important
ce rem onies but who are not, in a se nse , t rea ted a s if p resen t.

It would seem th a t the role of non-person usua lly carried
with i t some subordination and d is re sp ec t , but we must not
u nderes tim ate the degree to which the person who i s given
or who ta k e s such a role can u se it as a defence. And it
must be added that s i tu a t io n s can ar ise when subord ina tes
find tha t the only f ea s ib le way tha t they can handle a super-
ordinate i s to t rea t him a s if he were not p resen t. T h u s , on
the is land s tudied by the writer, when the Brit ish P ub lic
School doctor attended p a t ie n ts in the homes of poor crofters ,
the r e s id e n ts sometim es handled the d ifficulty of re la ting
th e m se lv es to the doctor by trea ting him, as bes t they could,
a s if he were not present. It may a l so be added th a t a team
can trea t an individual a s if he were not p resen t, doing th is
not b ecau se it i s the natural thing or the only feas ib le thing
to do, but a s a pointed way of ex p ress ing hosti l i ty to an
individual who has conducted himself improperly. In such
s i tu a t io n s , the important show i s to show the ou tcas t tha t
he i s being ignored, and the ac tiv i ty that i s carried on in
order to dem onstrate th is may i t s e l f be of secondary
importance.

We have considered some ty p e s of pe rsons who are not,
in a s im ple se n se , performers, audience, or ou ts iders , ‘and
who have a c c e s s to information and reg ions we would not
expect of chem. We cons ider now four additiona l d iscrepant
ro les , involving, in the main, persons who are not present
during a performance but who have unexpected information
about it.

F irs t , there i s an important role tha t might be ca lled
‘ s e r v i c e s p e c ia l i s t . ’ It is filled by ind iv iduals who sp e c ia l iz e
in the construc tion , repair, and maintenance of the show
the ir c l ie n t s maintain before other people. Some of these
workers, l ike a rc h i te c ts and furniture sa lesm en, s p e c ia l iz e
in s e t t in g s ; some, such a s d en t is ts , h a i rd resse rs , and
derm atologis ts , deal with personal front; some, such a s
s taff econom ists , accountan ts , lawyers, and resea rche rs ,
formulate the factual e lem e n ts o f a c l ie n t ’s verbal d isplay,
tha t is , h is team’s argument-line or in te llec tua l position.

On the b as is of concrete research it would seem that
se rv ice s p e c ia l i s t s can hardly attend to the n eed s of an

96

individual performer without acquiring a s much, or more
des truc t ive information about some a s p e c t s of the individual ‘s
performance a s the individual him self p o s s e s s e s . Service
s p e c ia l i s t s are l ike members of the team in that they learn
the s e c r e t s o f the show and obta in a backstage view of it.
Unlike members of the team, however, the s p e c ia l is t does
not share the risk, the guilt, and the s a t is f a c t io n of p resen ting
before an audience the show to which he h a s contributed.
And, un like members of the team, in learn ing the s e c r e ts of
o thers, the o thers do not learn corresponding s e c r e t s about
him. It i s in th is context th a t we can unders tand why
p ro fessional e th ic s often oblige the sp e c ia l i s t to show
‘ d is c re t io n , ’ i . e . , not to give away a show whose s e c r e t s
h i s d u t ie s have made him privy to. T hus , for example,
p sy c h o th e rap is ts who vicariously p a r t ic ipa te so widely in
the dom estic warfare of our t im es are p ledged to remain s i len t
about what they have learned, except to their superv isors .

When the s p e c ia l i s t i s of higher general s o c ia l s ta tu s
than the ind iv iduals for whom he provides a se rv ice , his
general so c ia l valuation of them may be confirmed by the
particu lar th ings he must le am about them. In some s i tu a t io n s
th is becomes a s ign if ican t factor in maintaining the status
quo. T h u s in American towns upper-middle c l a s s bankers
come to see that the owners of.som e small b u s in e s se s present
a front for tax pu rposes that is incons is ten t with their banking
t ransac t ions , and th a t other businessm en p resen t a confident
public front of solvency while p rivately reques ting a loan in
an abject, fumbling manner. M iddle-class doc to rs on charity
duty who must trea t shameful d i s e a s e s in shameful surround
in g s are in a similar position, for they make it im possib le
for a lo w er-c la ss person to protect him self from the intimate
ins igh t of h is superord ina tes . Similarly, a landlord le a rn s
tha t all of his te n an ts ac t as if they were the sort who always
paid their rent on time but tha t for some te n a n ts th is ac t i s
only an ac t. P e r so n s who are not se rv ice sp e c ia l i s t s are
sometim es given the same d is i l lu s ion ing view. In many
organizations, for example, an executive officer is required
to observe the show of bustl ing competence tha t the personnel
m ain ta ins , although he may secretly p o s s e s s an accura te
and low opinion of some of those who work under him.

Sometimes we find, of course , that the general soc ia l
s ta tu s of the c l ien t i s higher than tha t of the s p e c ia l i s t s
who are reta ined to attend to h is front. In such c a s e s an
in te res t ing dilemma of s ta tu s occurs , with high s ta tu s and
low information control on one side, and low s ta tu s and high

97

information control on the other. In such c a s e s it is p o s s ib le
for the s p e c ia l i s t to become overim pressed with the weak
n e s s e s in the show th a t h is b e t te rs put on and to forget the
w e a k n e sse s in h is own. In consequence , such s p e c i a l i s t s
som etim es develop a ch a rac te r is t ic ambivalence, feeling
cy n ica l about the ‘ b e t t e r ‘ world for the sam e re a so n s that
make them v icariously intimate with it. Thus the janitor,
by vir tue of the se rv ice he provides, le a rn s v hat kind of
liquor the te n a n ts drink, what kind of food they ea t , what
le t te r s they rece ive , what b il ls they leave unpaid, and whether
the lady of the apartment is m enstruating behind her un
contaminated front, and how clean the te n a n ts keep the
k itcheh, bathroom, and other back regions. 1 Similarly, the
American f illing s ta t ion manager is in a posit ion to learn
tha t a man who a f fe c ts a new C ad il lac may buy only a d o l la r ’s
worth of gas, or buy a cut-price variety, or seek to wotk the
s ta t io n for free service. And he a lso knows that the show
som e men put on of masculine know-how about ca rs is false,
for they can nei ther d iagnose the trouble with their car
correctly , ahhough cla im ing to, nor drive up to the gaso line
pumps in a com petent way. So, too, pe rsons who sell d re s se s
learn that cus tom ers of whom they would not have expected
it som etim es have dirty underwear and that cus tom ers
unabashed ly judge a garment by i t s capac ity to m isrepresen t
the fac ts . T hose who se ll men’s c lo th ing learn tha t the gruff
show men maintain of being l i t t le concerned with how they
look i s merely a show and that strong, s i l e n t men will try
on su i t af ter suit , hat af te r ha t , until they appear in the mirror
exactly a s they want to see them se lves . So a lso , policemen
Iea m from the th ings that reputable bus inessm en want them
to do and not do that the p il la rs of so c ie ty have a s l igh t
ti l t . 2 Hotel maids learn that male gues ts who make p a s s e s
at them u p s ta i r s are not quite what the s e e m l in e s s u* their
dow nsta irs conduct sugges ts . 3 And hotel security officers ,
or house dicks, a s they are more commonly c a l i . d , Ieam
tha t a w as tebaske t may conceal two re jec ted drafts of a
su ic ide note :

Darling—
B y the time you ge l this I wil l be it here nothing you ran
do wil l hurt m e –
l i y the time you read th is , nothing yo u con do wil l be
able to h u r t4

l See Ray Gold, *The Chicago F la t J a n i to r ’ (Unpublished ‘Master’s th es is ,
Department of Sociology, Universi ty of Chicago, 1950), espec ia l ly chap.
iv, ‘T h e G arbage .’

2 Wesdey, op. c it . , p. 131.
3 Writer’s srudy of an island hotel.
4 C o llans , op . c i t . , p. 156.

98

showing that the final fee lings of a d espera te ly uncompromis
ing person were somewhat rehearse:! in order to s tr ike just
the right note mid in any c a s e were not final. Service
s p e c ia l i s t s of ques tionab le repute who maintain an office in
the back reg ions of a city so tha t c l ie n t s will not be se en
seeking a s s i s ta n c e c learly provide another example. In Mr
H ughes’ words:

common sc e n e in fiction d ep ic ts a lady of degree seeking,
veiled and alone, the a d d re s s of the fortunetel ler or dte midwife of
doubtful p rac t ice in nn obscure corner of the ci ty . The anonymity of
certain se c t io n s of c i t ie s a l lows people to se ek spe c ia l ized se rv ices ,
leg it im ate but embarrass ing a s well a s il lejtimate , from persons
with whom they would not want to be seen by members o f th e i r own
soc ia l c i rc le . •

The s p e c ia l is t may, of course , carry his anonymity with
him, as does the exterminator who adve r tise s that he will
c o m e to the c l ie n t ’s house in a van that w ears a plain wrapper.
Any guarantee of anonymity is , of course , a rather b la tan t
claim tha t the c l ien t has need of it and is willing to make
use of it.

While it i s plain that the s p e c ia l i s t whose work requires
him to take a backstage view of other people’s performances
will be an em barrassment to them, it must be apprecia ted
that by changing the performance which se rves as a point of
reference other consequences can be seen. We regularly
find that c l ien ts may reta in a s p e c ia l i s t not in order to obtain
help with a show they are putting on for o thers but for the
very act that i s provided by having a sp e c ia l i s t attend them—
espec ia l ly if he has a higher general s ta tu s than his c l ien ts .
Many women, it seems, go to beauty parlours to be fussed
over and ca lled madam and not merely because they need to
have their hair done. It has sometim es been claimed, for
example, that in Hindu India the procurement of proper se rv ice
s p e c ia l i s t s for r i tua lly s ign ifican t t a s k s i s o f crucial
s ignificance in confirming one’s own c a s te posit ion . 2 In
such c a s e s a s these , the performer may be in te rested in
being known by the sp e c ia l i s t who se rves him and not by
the show that the se rv ic e a l low s him la ter to perform. And
so we find that specia l s p e c ia l i s t s a r ise who fulfil needs
that are too shameful for the c l ien t to take to s p e c ia l i s t s
before whom he is ordinarily not shameful. T hus the perform
ance tha t a c l ient s ta g es for his doctor sometimes forces
the c l ient to go to a pharm acist for abortives, con tracep tives ,
and venereal d is e a se cures. 3 Similarly, in America, an
l E .C . Hughes and Helen M. Hughes, Where People Meet (Glencoe, 111.:

Free P r e s s , 1952), p. 171,
2 For this and other d a ta on India, and foe sugg e s t io n s in general, I am

indebted to McKim Marriott.
•’Veinlein, op. e i t p. 106.

99

individual involved in unseemly en tanglem ents may take
h is t roub les to a Negro lawyer because of the shame he might
lee l before a white one. 1

It is apparent tha t se rv ice s p e c ia l i s t s who p o s s e s s
en tru s ted s e c r e t s are in a posit ion to exploit their knowledge
in order to gain c o n c e s s io n s from the performer whose s e c re ts
they p o s s e s s . The law, p ro fessional e th ics , and enlightened
se lf – in te res t often put a stop to the g ro sse r forms of black
mail, but small c o n c e s s io n s de l ica te ly requested are frequently
unchecked by th e se forms of soc ia l control. P e rh a p s the
tendency to p lace a lawyer, accoun tan t , economist, or other
s p e c ia l i s t s in verbal fronts on a retainer, and to bring those
who are on a retainer into the firm partly rep resen ts an effort
to ensure d isc re t io n ; once the verbal s p e c ia l i s t becomes
|>art of the organization , presumably new methods can be
employed to ensure Jbis trus tw orth iness . By bringing the
s p e c ia l i s t into one’s o rganization and even one’s team, there
i s a lso g rea ter a s su ra n ce that he will employ h is s k i l l s in
the in te res ts of one’s show and not in the in te re s t s of p ra ise
worthy but irre levant matters such a s a balanced view, or
the p resen ta t ion of in te res t ing theore tica l da ta to che sp e c ia l
is t ‘s p rofess iona l audience. 2

A note should be added about one variety of sp e c ia l is t
role, the role of ‘ t r a in in g s p e c ia l i s t . ’ Ind iv idua ls who take
th is role have the com plicated ta sk of teach ing the performer
how co build up a des irab le im pression while at the same
time taking the part of the future audience and il lustrating
by punishm ents the conseq u e n ces of improprieties. P a ren ts

1 William H. Hale, ‘T h e Career Development of the Negro L aw y er ‘ (Un-
published P h . D. d isse r ta t io n , Department of Sociology, University of
Chicago, 1949), p . 72.

2 The s p e c ia l i s t in verbal fronts who is brought into the organization will
be expected to a s sem b le and p resen t data in such a way a s to lend
maximum support to the claims the team is making at the t i n e . The fac ts
o f the c a s e will ordinari ly be an incidcnral matter, merely one ingredient
to be considered a long wich others , such as the l ike ly arguments of
o ne ‘s opponents , the p red ispos i t ion of the public ac large to which the
team may want to appeal for support, che p r inc ip les co which everyone
concerned will feel obliged to give l ip -se rv ice , e tc. In teres t ingly enough,
the individual who h e lp s co l lec t and formulate the army of faces used
in a team ’s verbal show may a ls o be employed in che d is t in c t ly different
ta s k of p resen t ing or conveyiag t h i s tronc in person co the audience .
It i s rhe dif ference between wri t ing th e ceremony for a show and
performing the ceremony in che show. Here there i s a potencial dilemma.
The more the s p e c ia l i s t can be made to se t as ide h is p rofessional
s tandards and cons ider only che in te re s t s of the team which employs
him, the more useful may be che arguments he formulates for them;
but the more he has a reputat ion for being an independent p rofess ional ,
in te res ted only in the ba lanced fac ts of the c a s e , che more effeccivc
he i s l ikely to be when he appears before the audience and presencs
h i s f inJings. A very rich source of data on th e s e matters is to be
found in Wilensky, op. cil .

100

and sc h o o l te a c h e rs are perhaps the b as ic exam ples of th is
role in our so c ie ty ; the se rg e a n ts who drill officer cade ts
provide a further example.

Perform ers often feel uneasy in the p resence of a trainer
whose l e s s o n s they have long s in c e learned and taken for
granted. T ra in e rs tend to evoke for the performer a vivid
image of h imself that he had rep ressed , a se lf-im age of some
one engaged in the clumsy and em barrassing p ro ce ss of
becoming. The performer can make him self forget how foolish
he once w as , but he cannot make the tra iner forget. As
R iez le r s u g g e s ts about any shameful fact, * if o thers know,
the fac t i s e s ta b l ish e d and h is image of h imself i s put beyond
his own power of remembering and forgetting .’ 1 P erh ap s
there is no c o n s is te n t e a sy s ta n d that we can take to pe rsons
who have seen behind our current front—p erso n s who ‘ knew
u s w h e n ’—if a t the sam e time they are pe rsons who must
symbolize the au d ie n c e ’s response to u s and cannot, therefore,
be accep ted a s o ld team-mates might be.

T h e se rv ic e sp e c ia l i s t has been mentioned a s one type
of person who i s n o t a performer yet h a s a c c e s s to back-
regions and d es t ru c t iv e information. A second type is the
person who p la y s the role o f ‘c o n f id a n t . ‘ Confidan ts are
pe rsons to whom the performer c o n f e s s e s his s in s , freely,
de ta il ing the s e n se in which th e impression given during a
performance w as merely an im pression. T yp ica lly confidan ts
are located ou ts ide and par t ic ipa te only v ica r io u s ly in back
and front region ac tiv i ty . It i s to a person of t h i s kind,
for in s tan c e , that a husband brings home a daily ta le of how
he fared in office s tratagem s,, in tr igues, unspoken feelings,
and b lu ffs ; and when he writes a le t te r requesting , res igning
from, or accepting a job it is th is person who will check
through the draft to make sure the le t te r s t r ik e s exact ly the
right note. And when ex-diplom ats and ex-boxers write their
memoirs, the reading public is taken behind the s c e n e s and
becom es a watered-down confidant of one of the great shows,
a lbe it one that i s by then quite over.

A person in whom another confides, unlike the se rv ice
sp e c ia l is t , d o es not make a b u s in e s s of receiv ing such con-
f id an c es ; he a c c e p ts the information without accepting a
fee, a s an expression of the friendship, trus t , and regard
the informant fe e ls for him. We find, however, that c l ien ts
often attempt to transform th e i r se rv ice s p e c ia l i s t s in to
con f idan ts (perhaps a s a m eans o f ensuring discretion),

R ie z le r , op. c it., p. 458.
101

esp ec ia l ly when the work of the s p e c ia l i s t i s merely to lis ten
and ta lk , a s i s the c a s e with p r ie s t s and psycho therap is ts .

A third role rem ains to be cons idered . Like the role of
s p e c ia l i s t and confidant, the role of co lleague affords those
who play ir some information about a performance they do not
at tend.

C o l leagues may be defined a s persons who presen t the
sam e routine to the same kind of audience but who do not
p a r t ic ip a te together , a s team -m ates do, at the sam e time and
p la ce before the same par t icu lar aud ience . C o lleagues , >as it i s
sa id , sha re a community of face. In having to put on the same
kind of performance, they come to know each other’s d if f icu l t ie s
and po in ts of v ie w ; w hatever their tongues, they come to speak
the sam e so c ia l language . And while co l leagues who com pete
for a u d ien c es may keep some s tra teg ic s e c r e t s from one another,
they cannot very well, hide from one another ce r ta in th ings
tha t they hid from the audience. T h e front that is maintained
before o th e rs need not be m ainta ined among them se lves ;
relaxation becom es p o ss ib le . H ughes h a s recen tly provided
a s ta tem en t of the com plexe ties o f th is kind of co lleague
so lidar i ty .

Parc of the working code of a p o s i t io n i s discretion*, it a l low s the
c o l le a g u e s co exchange con f idences concerning their r e la t io n s co ocher
p eople . Among th e s e conf idences one finds e x p re ss io n s of cynicism
concerning their m iss ion , cheir competence, and the fo ib les of cheir
su p e r io rs , th em se lv e s , their c l ien ts , their subordinates , and the public
a t large. Such e x p re ss io n s take the burden from one’s shoulders and
se rve a s a defence a s w el l . The unspoken mutual conf idence n ecessa ry
to them r e s t s on two assum ptions concerning one’s fellows. The f irs t
is that the c o l leg au e will not m isunders tand , the second is that he
■viil not repeat to uniniated ea r s . T o be sure that a new fellow will
not misunders tand requires a sparring match of soc ia l ges tu res . The
z e a lo t who turns the sparring match into a real battle, who ta k e s a
friendly in i t ia t ion too se rious ly , is not likely to be trusted with the
l igh te r sort of comment on one ‘s work or with doubts and m isg iv ings ;
nor can he learn those par ts of the working code which arc communicated
only by h in t and gesture . He is not to be trus ted , for, though he i s
not fit for s t ra tagem s, he is su sp ec ted of being prone to treason. In
order chat men may communicate freely and conf identia l ly they must
be able to take a good deal of each other ‘s sen t im en ts for granted.
They must feel e a s y about the ir s i l e n c e s a s well a s about their
u t te rances . 1

A good s ta tem ent of some other a s p e c ts of co llegial so lid
arity i s given by Simone d e B eauvoir ; her intention i s to
desc r ibe the pecu l ia r s i tua tion of women, her e ffec t i s to tell
us about all co l leg ia l groups:

I he female f riendships tha t she s u c c e e d s in keeping or forming
a re p rec ious to a woman, but they are very different in kind from
re la t io n s between men. The la t ter communicate a s individuals through
id eas and p ro jec ts of personal in te re s t , while women are confined
within their general feminine lot and bound together by a kind of immanent
complici ty. And what they look for f irs t of all among them se lves

1 Hughes and Hughes, K’Aere People Meet, pp. 168-169.

102

is the affirmation of the universe they have in common. They do not
d i s c u s s opin ions and general i d e a s , hue exchange conf idences and
r e c ip e s ; ihcy a re in league co create a kind of countcr-universe, the
v a lu e s of which will outweigh m asculine va lues . Col lec t ive ly they
find s t reng th to shake off their c h a in s ; they negate the sexual domination
of the m ales by adm itt ing their frigidity to one another, while der iding
the men’s d e s i r e s or the ir c lu m s in e s s ; and diev question ironically
the moral and in te l lec tual superiori ty of their husbands, and of men
m g e n e r a l . _ –

They compare e x p e r ie n c e s ; p regnanc ies , bir ths , the ir own and cheir
ch i ld ren ’s i l l n e s s e s , and household c a re s become the e s s e n t ia l e v e n ts
o f the human story . T he ir work is not a techn ique ; by p a s s in g on
r ec ip es for cooking and the l ike , they endow it with the dignity of
a s e c re t s c ien ce founded on oral tradition. *

It should be apparent, tlien, why the terms used to d es ig n a te
one’s co l leagues , l ike the terms used to des igna te o n e s team
mates, come to be in-^group terms, and why terms used co
des ignate aud iences tend to be loaded without group sentiment.

it i s in te res t ing to note that when team-mates come in
con tac t with a stranger who i s their co lleague, a sort of ce re
monial or honorific team membership may be temporarily
accorded the newcomer. There is a sort of visiting-fireman
complex whereby team-mates trea t their v is i to r a s if he had
.suddenly come into very intimate and long-standing re la t ionsh ip s
with them. Whatever their a s soc ia t iona l prerogatives , he
tends to be given club r ights. T h e s e c o u r te s ie s are espec ia l ly
given when the v is i to r and the h o s ts happen to have received
their training in the same e s tab l ish m e n t or from the same
tra iners , or both. Graduates of the sam e household, the same
professional school, the sam e penitentiary , the sam e P ub lic
School, or the same small town provide c lea r exam ples . When
‘ old b o y s ’ meet, it may be difficult to su s ta in backs tage horse
play and the dropping of one’s customary pose may become
an ob liga tion and a pose in i tse lf , but i t i s more difficult to
do anything e lse .

An in te res t ing implication of th e se su g g e s t io n s i s that
a team which constan tly performs i t s rou tines to the same
aud ience may yet be soc ia l ly more d is tan t from th is audience
than from a co lleague who momentarily com es into contac t
with the team. T h u s the gentry in the is lan d community
previously mentioned knew their crofter neighbours very well,
having played out the gentry role to them s ince childhood.
Vet a gentry v is i to r to the i s land , properly sponsored and
introduced, could, in some s e n s e s , become more intimate with
the is land gentry in the course of an afternoon te a than could
a crofter during a lifetime of con tac t with h is gentry neighbours.

It may be suggested tha t the good will one co lleague ce re
monially ex tends to another is perhaps a kind of peace offering:

1’ic Henuvoir . «;». c i t . , p. M 2 .

103

‘Y o u don’t cell on us and we won’t te l l on you.’ T h is partly
ex p la in s why docto rs and shopkeepers often give professional
c o u r te s ie s or reduc tions in price to those who are in some
way connected with the trade. We have here a kinvl of bribery
of those who are well enough informed to become spo tte rs .

T he nature of co l leaguesh ip a l low s us to understand some
thing about the important so c ia l p ro ce ss of endogamy, whereby
a family of one c l a s s , ca s te , occupation, religion, or e thnicity
tends to r e s tr ic t i t s marriage t ie s to fam ilies of the same
s ta tu s . P e rso n s who are brought together by affinal t i e s are
brought to a posit ion from which they can s e e behind each
other ‘s front; th is i s a lways em barrassing but it i s l e s s
em barrass ing if the newcomers backs tage have them se lves
been maintaining the sam e kind of show and have been privy
to the same des truc tive information. A m isa ll iance is something
tha t brings backs tage and into the team someone who should
be kept ou ts ide or at l e a s t in the audience.

It is to be noted tha t pe rso n s who are c o l lea g u es in one
capac ity , and hence on term s of some reciprocal familiarity,
may not be co l lea g u es in other r e sp e c ts . It i s sometim es felt
tha t a co l league who i s in other r e s p e c ts a man of le s se r
power or s t a tu s may over-extend his c la im s of familiarity and
th rea ten the soc ia l d is tan c e that ought to be maintained on
the b a s i s of these other s ta tu s e s . In American soc ie ty , middle-
c l a s s p e rso n s of low minority-group s t a tu s are often threatened
th is way by the presumption of their low er-c lass brethren.
As H ughes s u g g e s ts in regard to in te r-rac ia l co l league
r e la t io n s :

The dilemma a r i s e s from che face that , while it i s bad for the
p ro fess ion to le t laymen s e e r if ts in their ranks, it may be bad for che
individual to be a s s o c ia te d in the eyes of h is ac tua l or po ten t ia l p a t ien ts
with p e r so n s , even co l leagues , of so d e s p ise d a group a s the Negro.
T h e favoured way of avoiding the dilemma is co shun c o n ta c t s with
the Negro p ro fess io n a l . 1

Similarly, em ployers who patently have low er-c la ss s ta tu s ,
a s do some American filling s ta t io n managers, often find that
their em ployees expect tha t the whole operation will be
conducted in a bac k s ta g e manner and tha t commands and
d irec tions will be i s s u e d only in a p lead ing or joking fashion.
Of course , th is kind of threat i s increased by the fact tha t
non-co lleagues may s im ila r ly simplify the s i tua tion and judge
th e individual too much by the co l leg ia l company he keeps.
But here again we deal with i s s u e s tha t cannot be fully explored
u n le s s we change the point of re ference from one performance
to another.
1 Hughes and Hughes, KAere People Meet, p. 172.

104

Ju s t a s some p e rso n s are thought co c a u s e difficulty by
n>aking too much of their co l leaguesh ip , so o the rs ca u se trouble
by not making enough of it . It i s a lw ays p o s s ib le for a
d isa ffec ted co l league to turn renegade and sell out to the
audience the s e c r e t s of the ac t that h is onetime brethren are
sti l l performing. Every role has i t s defrocked p r ie s t s to tell
us what g o es on in the monastery, and the p ress has always
shown a l ive ly in te r e s t in th e se c o n fe ss io n s and expose’s.
Thus a doctor will descr ibe in print how h is co l lea g u es sp l i t
fees, s te a l each o ther’s pa t ien ts , and sp e c ia l iz e in unnecessary
opera tions rhar require the kind of appara tus which g iv e s the
pat ien t a dramatic medical show for h is money. 1 In Burke’s
term, we are thereby supplied with information about the
‘ rh e to r ic of m ed ic ine .’ J Of course , in a very limited se n se ,
whenever any non-co lleague i s allowed to become a confidant,
someone will have had to be a renegade.

R enegades often take a moral stand , say ing that it is
bet ter to be true to the id e a ls of the role than to the performers
who fa lse ly p resen t them se lves in it. A different mode of
d isaffection occ u rs when a co lleague “goes n a t i v e ’ or becomes
a backslider , making no at tem pt to maintain the kind of front
which h is authorized s ta tu s makes or leads his c o l lea g u es
and the audience to expect of him. Such d ev ian ts are sa id to
‘ l e t down the s id e . ’ T hus in the island community studied
by the writer, the inhab itan ts , in an effort to p resen t them se lves
a s p rogress ive farmers to v is i to rs from the ou ts id e world, felt
somewhat h os t i le to the few crofters who apparently didn’t
care and who refused to shave or wash, or cons truc t a front
yard, or to supplan t the thatched roof of their co ttage with
something l e s s symbolic of trad itional p e a sa n t s ta tu s .
Similarly, in Chicago there i s an organization of blind war
ve te ran s who, militant in their d es ire not to ac c e p t a p itiab le
role, tour the c i ty in order to check up on fellow blind men
who let down the s ide by appealing for a lm s on s t ree t corners.

L ew is G. Arrowsmith, ‘T h e Young Doctor in New York,’ The American
‘lercury, XXII, 1-10.

^Kenneth iJurlcc, A Rhetoric o f M otives (New York: P re n t ic e – l la l l , 1953).
r . 171.

Applying th is s ta tement to our p u rposes , we could o bse rve tha t even
the medical equipment of a doctor ‘s office i s not to be judged purely for
i t s d iag n o s t ic u se fu ln e s s , hue a l s o hfi3 a function in the rhetoric of
niedicine. Uliatevef it i s a s app a ra tu s , i t a lso a p p ea ls as imagery; and
1 f ‘» man has been trea ted to a fulsome sc ries of tapp ings , sc tu tin iz ings ,
and l i s ten ings , with the aid of var ious scopes , meters, and g au g es , he.
may fee l con ten t to have par t ic ipa ted a s a p a t ie n t in such h istr ionic
ac tiun , though absolute ly no material th ing has been done for him, whereas
he might count h im self chea ted if he were given a t e a l cure, but without
the pagean try .’

105

A final note must be added about co l leaguesh ip . There
are some co l league groupings whose members are rarely held
respons ib le for ea ch other’s good conduct. T h u s mothers are
in some r e s p e c t s a co l league grouping, and yet ordinarily the
m isdeeds of one, or her c o n fe ss io n s , do not seem to affect
c lo se ly the resp e c t tha t is accorded the other members. On
the other hand, there are co lleague groupings of a more
corporate cha rac ter , whose members are so c lo se ly identified
in the e y e s of other people tha t to som e degree the good
reputa tion of one p rac ti t ioner depends on the good conduct of
the o thers. If one member is exposed and c a u s e s a scanda l,
then all lo se some public repute. As c a u se and effect of
such iden tif ica tion we often find tha t the members of the group
ing are formally organized into a s in g le co l lec t iv i ty which is
allowed to rep resen t the profess iona l in te re s t s of the grouping
and a llpw eJ to d isc ip l ine any member who th rea tens to d isc red i t
the defin ition of the s iruation fostered by the other members.
Obviously, c o l le a g u e s of th is kind co n s t i tu te a kind of team,
a team th a t differs from ordinary team s in tha t the members of
i t s audience are not in immediate face-to-face con tac t with
one another and must communicate the ir re sp o n se s to one
another at a time when the show s they have seen are no longer
before them. Similarly, the co l leg ia l renegade is a kind of
traitor or turncoat.

T h e im plica tions of th e se fa c ts about co l league groupings
force us to modify a l i t t le the original framework of defin itions.
We must inc lude a marginal type of ‘ w e a k 1 audience whose
members are not in face-to-face co n tac t with one another during
a performance, but who come eventua lly to pool their resp o n se s
to the performance they have independently se en . Colleague
groupings are not, of course , the only s e t s of performers who
find an au d ien c e of th is kind. For example, a department of
s ta te or foreign office may lay down the current official line
to d ip lom ats who are .sca t te re d throughout the world. In their
s tr ic t m aintenance of th is line, and in the intimate co-ordination
of the ch a rac te r and timing of their ac tions , these d ip lom ats
obviously function, or are meant to function, a s a s ing le team
pu tt ing on a single world-wide performance. But of course , in
such c a s e s , the severa l members of the audience are not in
immediate face- to -face con tac t with one another.

106

C I I A P T K R V

COMMUNICATION OUT OF CHARACTER

When two team s p resen t them se lves to each o the r for
purposes of in te ract ion , the members of each team tern! to
(Maintain the l ine tha t they are what they claim to be; they
tend to s tay in charac ter . B acks tage familiarity i s suppressed
le s t the interplay of p o ses c o l la p s e and all the p a r t ic ipan ts
find them se lves on the sam e team, a s it were, with no one
left to p lay to. Each part ic ipan t in the in terac t ion ordinarily
endeavours to know and keep h is p lace , maintaining whatever
balance of formality and informality has been e s ta b l ish e d for
the in teraction , even to the point of extending th is treatment
to his own team-mates . At the sam e time, each team tends to
su p p ress i t s cand id view of i t s e l f and of the other team,
pro jec ting a conception of s e l f and a conception of other that
i s re la t ive ly ac ce p ta b le to th e other. And to ensure th a t
communication will follow es tab l ish ed , narrow channels , each
team is prepared to a s s i s t the other team, tac it ly and tactfully ,
in maintaining the im pression it is attem pting to foster. Of
course , at moments of great c r is i s , a new s e t o f motives may
suddenly become effec tive and the es tab l ish ed soc ia l d is ta n c e
between the team s may sharply inc rease or d ec rease , i but
when the c r i s i s i s pas t , the previous working co n sen su s is
likely to be re -es tab l ish ed , a lbeit bashfully.

Underneath and behind th is working c o n s e n su s , and the
gentlem an’s agreement not to disrupt the in teraction upon
which th is limited co n sen su s is based, there are, typ ically ,
l e s s apparen t cu r ren ts of communication. If these curren ts
were not undercurrents , if these concept ions were officially
communicated in s te a d of communicated in a su r rep ti t ious
way, they would contradict and d isc red i t the defin i t ions of
the s i tua tion offic ia lly projected by the par t ic ipan ts . When

‘A n example i s found in a r ecen t study of a hosp i ta l ward on which
experimental treatment was given to vo lunteers suffering from metabolic
d iso rd e rs about which li t t le w as known and for which l i t t le could be done.
In face of the r esea rch dem ands made upon the p a t ien ts and the general
leel ing of h o p e le s s n e s s about prognosis , the usual sharp line between
doctor and pat ien t was blunted. Doctors respec tfu lly consulted with
tliuit p a t i e n t s a t length about symptoms, and p a t ien ts came to think of
them se lves in par t a s research a s s o c i a t e s . See Kenee C laire Fox, M
■Sociological Study of S tre ss : P h y s ic ian and P a t i e n t on a R esearch Ward,’
Unpublished Ph. L). d isse r ta t io n , Department of Social Re la t ions , Kadcliff
Col lege , 1953 .

107

we study a so c ia l e s tab l ishm en t , th e se d isc repan t se n t im e n ts
a re almost a lw ays found. T hey dem onstra te th a t while a
performer may ac t a s i f h i s response in a s i tua t ion were
immediate, unthinking, and spon taneous , and while he him self
may think th i s to be the c a s e , s t i l l it will a lw ays be p o ss ib le
for s i tu a t io n s to a r i s e in which he will convey to one or two
persons p re se n t the understanding tha t the show he i s mainta in
ing i s only and merely a show. The p re sence , then, of
communication out o f cha rac te r p rov ides one argument for the
propriety of s tudying perform ances in te rm s of team s and in
terms of potentia l in te ract ion d isrup tions . It may be repea ted
th a t no claim i s made tha t su r rep ti t ious com m unications are
any more a ref lec tion of the rea l rea li ty than are the official
communications with which they are in c o n s is te n t ; the point
i s tha t the performer i s typ ically involved in both, and th is
dual involvement must b e carefully managed l e s t offic ia l
p ro jec tions be d isc red i ted . Of the many ty p e s of communication
in which the performer en g a g es and which convey information
incom patib le with the im pression offic ia lly maintained during
in terac t ion , four ty p e s will be c o n s id e red : treatment o f the
absen t, s tag ing ta lk , team co l lus ion , and temporary re
a l ignments.

Treatment of the Absent

When t h e members of a team go backstage where the
aud ience canno t see or hear them, they very regularly derogate
the aud ience in a way tha t i s in c o n s is te n t with the (ace-to-face
treatment th a t i s given to the audience. In se rv ic e trades ,
for example, cu s tom ers who are t rea ted respectfu lly during
the performance are often ridiculed, g o ss ip ed about, car ica tured ,
cursed , and c r i t ic iz ed when the performers are b ac k s ta g e ;
here, too, p lans may be worked out for ‘ s e l l i n g ’ them, or
employing ‘ a n g l e s ’ a g a in s t them, or pacify ing t h e m . 1
Similarly, the re are very few friendship re la t ionsh ip s in which
there i s not some occas ion when a t t i tu d e s e x p re ssed about
the friend- behind h is back are grossly incom patib le with the
o n es ex p re ssed about him to h is face.

Sometimes, o f course , the opposite of derogation occurs,
and performers p ra ise their aud ience in a way that would be
im perm issib le for them to do in the ac tua l p re se n c e of the
audience. But se c re t derogation seem s to be much more common
than se c re t p ra ise , perhaps because such derogation se rves
1 See, for example, the c a s e report on ‘C e n t r a l H aberdashery ‘ in Robert

Dubin, ed., Unman R e la tions in A dm in is tra tion (New York: Prentiec-M all ,
1951) pp. 560*563.

108

to maintain the so lidar i ty of the team, dem onstrating mutual
regard a t the expense of th o se absen t and com pensating,
perhaps, for the l o s s of se lf – respec t that may occur when the
audience must be accorded accommodative face-io-face
treatment.

Two common tech n iq u e s of derogating the absen t audience
may be suggested . F irs t , we often find that when performers
are in the region in which they will appear before the audience,
and when the audience has left or not yet arrived, the performers
will som etim es play out a sa tire on their interaction with the
audience, and with some members of the team taking the role
of the audience. F ra n c e s Donovan, for example, in descr ib ing
the so u rce s of fun ava i lab le to sa le s -g i r ls , su g g e s ts the
fo llow ing:

Dot u n le s s they are busy the g ir ls do noc remain long apart. An
i r re s is t ib le a t trac tion draws them together a^ain . At every opportunity
they p lay the game of ‘ customer,* a game which they have invented and
of which they never seem to t i te—a game which for caricature and
comedy, 1 have nevet se e n su rp a s se d on any s ta g e . One girl ta k e s the
par t of the sa lesw om an, another that o f the customer in se a rc h of a
d r e s s , and together they put on a n ac t tha t would del igh t the heart of a
vaudevil le audience . 1

A similar s i tua tion i s descr ibed by Dennis K incaid in h is
d iscuss ion of the kind of soc ia l contac t tha t nat ives arranged
for the British during the early part of British rule in Ind ia :

If the young factors found l i t t le p leasu re at th e s e enterta inments ,
the i t hosts» for a l l the sa t is fac t io n they would a t other t imes have
derived from Raji ‘s grace and K al ian i ‘s wit, were too uneasy to enjoy
their own party ti l l the g u e s ts had gone. T hen followed an entertainment
o f which few English g u e s ts were aware. T he doors would be shut,
and the dancing gir ls , ex c e l l e n t mimics like all Indians, would give
an imitation of the bored gues ts who had ju s t lef t , and the uncomfortable
tens ion of the l a s t hour would be d isp e l led in bu rs ts of happy laughter .
And while the English p h ae tons c la t te red home Raji and ka l ian i would
be d re ss e d up to car ica ture E nglish costume ana be executing with
indecen t exaggeration an Orienta l ized version of English dances , those
minuets and country d a n c e s which seemed so innocent and natural to
E nglish e y e s , so different from the provocative posturing of Indian
nau tch-g ir ls , but which to Indians appeared utterly scan d a lo u s . 2

Among other things, th is ac tiv i ty seem s to provide a kind of
ritual profanation o f th e front region a s well a s o f the
audience, 3

Secondly, we quite regularly find tha t a c o n s is te n t
difference appears between te rm s of reference and te rm s of

1 F ra n ces Donovan, The Sa le s la d y (C h icago : Universi ty o f Chicago P re s s ,
1929), p. 39. Specif ic exam ples are given on pp. 39-40.

2 Dennis Kincaid , Bri t ish Socia l L i fe in India , 1608-1937 (London: Routledge,
1938), pp. 106-107.

3 A re la ted tendency may be mentioned. In many offices chat are divided
into ranked regions, the lunchtime break will find the topmost level
leaving the s o c ia l e s tab l ishm en t and everyone e l s e in it moving up a
region for lunch or for a few moments of a f t e r lu n c h talk . Momentary
p o ss e s s io n of the work-place of one ‘s superord inates se em s to offer,
among o ther th ings, an opportunity to profanize-i t in some ways.

109

address . In the p rese n ce of the audience, the performers tend
to u se a favourable form of ad d re ss to them. T h is involves,
in American so c ie ty , a po li te ly formal term, such a s ‘ s i r ’ or
‘M r — or a warmly familiar term, such a s first name or nick
name, the formality or informality being determined by the
w ishes of the person addressed . In the ab s e n c e of the audience,
the audience te n d s to be referred to by bare surname, first
name where th is i s not perm iss ib le to their fac es , nickname,
or s lighting pronunciation of full name. Sometimes members
of the audience are referred to not even by a s l igh ting name
hut by a code t i t le which a s s im i l a te s them fully to an ab s trac t
ca tegory . T hus docto rs in the a b sen c e of a patien t may refer
to him a s ‘ the c a r d i a c ’ or ‘ t h e s t r e p ; ’ barbers privately refer
to the ir cu s tom ers a s ‘ h e a d s of ha i r . ’ So, too, the audience
may be referred to in their a b sen c e by a co l lec t iv e term combin
ing d is ta n c e and derogation, sugges t ing an ingroup-outgroup
sp li t . T h u s m u s ic ian s will ca ll cu s tom ers s q u a re s ; nat ive
American o ffice g ir ls may sec re t ly refer to the ir foreign
c o l lea g u es a s ‘G . R.’s ; ’ 1 American so ld ie r s may secre tly
refer to Eng lish so ld iers with whom they work a s ‘L i m e y s ; ’ 2
pitchmen in ca rn iva ls p resen t their sp ie l before pe rsons whom
they refer to in private , a s rubes, n a t ives , or tow ners; and
Je w s act out the rou tines o f the parent so c ie ty for an aud ience
which i s ca l le d the goyim. P e rh ap s th e c ru e le s t term of all
i s found in s i tu a t io n s where an individual a s k s to be ca lled
by a familiar term to h i s face, and th is i s to lerantly done, but
in h is ab sen c e he is referred to by a formal term. Thus on
th e is land s tudied by the writer any v is i to r who asked the
local c rofters to ca ll him by h is f irs t name was som etim es
obliged to h is face, but in the ab sen ce of the v is i to r a formal
term of re ference would push him back into what was felt to
be h is proper p lace .

1 have sugges ted two standard ways in which performers
derogate th e ir a u d ie n c e s—mock role-playing and uncomplimentary
te rm s of reference. T here are other standard ways. For
example, when no member of the audience i s p resen t, the

German R e fu g ees .’ See Gross , op. c i l ., p. 186.
2 S c e Daniel G laser , ‘A Study of R e la tions between British and American

hnlisced Men a t ‘SM A H F’, ‘ Unpublished Master ‘s th e s is , Department of
Sociology, University of Chicago, 1947. Mr Glaser sa y s , p. 16:

‘ T h e term ‘ l i m e y , ’ a s u se d by the Americans in p lace of ‘B r i t i s h ,
was generally employed with derogatory im plica tions. They would refrain
from u s in g i t in the p resence of the British though the la t te r usually
cither d id n ’t know what it meant or d id n ’t give it a derogatory s ign if icance .
Indeed, the Americans’ ca re in this r e sp e c t was rnuch like tha t of Northern
whiles who use the term ‘n igger* but refrain from using it in front of a
Negro. T h is nickname phenomenon i s , of course , a common feature of
ethnic r e la t ions in which ca tegor ic co n tac ts p revail . ‘

110

members o f the team may refer to a s p e c t s of their routine in a
cyn ica l or purely techn ica l way, giving forceful ev idence to
th e m se lv es that they do not take the sam e view of their ac tiv i ty
a s the view they m aintain for the ir audience. A further standard
derogation may be c i ted . When team-mates are warned that
the audience is approaching, the team-mates may hold off
their performance, purposely , until the very la s t minute, until
the aud ience almost c a tc h e s a g lim pse of backstage activ ity .
Similarly, the team may race in to backstage re laxation the
moment the audience has departed. By means of th is purposely
rapid sw itch into or out of their act, the team in a s e n s e can
contam inate and profanize the aud ience by bac k s ta g e conduct,
o r rebel ag a in s t the obligation of maintaining a show before
the audience, or make extremely c lea r the d iffe rence between
team and audience, and do all of th e s e th ings without quite
being caught out by the audience. Still another standard
ag g re ss io n a g a in s t those ab sen t occu rs in the k idding and
ribbing a member of the team re c e iv e s when he i s about to
leave (or merely d e s i re s to leave) h is team-mates and r i s e or
fall or move la te ra l ly into the ranks of the aud ience . At such
tim es the team-mate who is ready to move can be trea ted a s
if he has a lready moved, and abuse or familiarity can be heaped
upon him with impunity, and, by implication, upon the audience.
And a final in s tan c e of aggression is found when someone
from the audience i s officially brought into the team. Again,
he may be jokingly m istreated and ‘g iv e n a hard t im e ,’ for
much the sam e reason tha t he was abused when he departed
from the team he h a s just left. 1

The techn iques of derogation which have been considered
point out the fac t that, verbally, ind iv iduals a re trea ted
re la t ive ly well to the ir faces and re la tive ly badly behind their
backs. T h is se em s to be one of the basic genera liza t ions
tha t can be made about in te raction , but we should not seek in
our all-too-human nature an explanation of it. As previously
suggested , backstage derogation of the audience se rv e s to
maintain the morale of the team. And when the audience is
p resen t, cons idera te treatment of them is n ec essa ry , not for
the ir sake, or for the ir sake merely, but so that cont inuance
of peaceful and orderly in te rac t ion will be assured . T he
‘ a c tu a l ’ (ee lings of the performers for a member of the aud ience
(.whether pos i t ive or negative) seem to have l i t t le to do with
rhe question, ei ther a s a determinant of how th is member of
the audience is trea ted to h is face or as a determinant of how
1 Cf. Kenneth Burke, A Rhetoric o f Motives, p. 234 ff., who g ives a soc ia l

a n a ly s i s of the individual being in i t ia ted , u s in g a s a key word ‘h a z in g . ‘

H I

he i s trea ted behind h is back. It may be true that b acks tage
ac tiv i ty often ta k es the form of a council o f war; but when
two team s meet on che field of in teraction it seem s chat they
generally do not meet for peace or for war. They meet under
a temporary truce, a working c o n se n su s , in order to get the ir
b u s in e ss done.

Staging Talk

When team -m ates are out of the p resence of the audience,
d isc u ss io n often turns to problems of s tag ing . Q ues t ions
a re ra ised about the condition of sign equipm ent; s ta n d s , lines ,
and pos i t ions are ten ta t ive ly brought forth and ‘ c l e a r e d ‘ by
the assem bled mem bership; the merits and dem erits of ava i lab le
front reg ions are an a ly z ed ; the s iz e and charac ter of p o ss ib le
a u d ien c es for the performance are co n s id ered ; pas t performance
d isrup tions and likely d is rup tions are ta lked about; news about
the team s of one’s co l lea g u ès i s transm itted ; the reception
given one’s l a s t performance i s mulled over in what are some-
tim es ca lled ‘ p o s t m ortem s;’ wounds are licked and morale
i s s trengthened for the next performance.

S taging talk, when ca lled by other nam es such a s gossip ,
‘ s h o p ta lk ,’ e tc . , i s a well-worn notion. I have s t r e s s e d it
here because it he lps point up the fac t that ind iv iduals with
widely different soc ia l ro le s l ive in the sam e climate of drama
turgical exper ience . The ta lk s that com edians and sc h o la rs
g ive are quite different, but the ir talk about the ir work i s quite
similar. To a su rp ris ing degree, before the talk , ta lk e rs ta lk
to the ir friends about what will and will not hold the audience,
what will and will not give offence ; af ter the ta lk , all ta lk e rs
ta lk to their friends about the kind of hall they spoke in, the
kind of aud ience they drew, and the kind of reception they
obta ined. S taging talk has a lready been referred to in the
d is c u s s io n of backs tage ac tiv i ty and collegial so lidarity and
will not be further d i s c u s s e d here.

Team Collusion

When a partic ipan t conveys something during in teraction,
we expect him to communicate only through the l ip s of the
charac ter he has chosen to project, openly add ress ing all of
h is remarks to the whole in te ract ion so that all pe rsons present
are given equal s ta tu s a s rec ip ien ts of communication. T hus

112

whispering, for example, i s often considered improper and i s
prohibited, for it can destroy the im pression tha t the performer
i s only what he appears to be and that th ings a re a s he has
claim ed them to .be. 1

In sp i te of the expectation that everything said by the
performer will be in keeping with the definition of the s itua tion
fos tered by him, he may convey a great deal daring an inter
ac tion chat i s out of cha rac te r and convey i t in such a way a s
to prevent the audience a s a whole from rea liz ing that anything
out of keeping with the definition of the s itua tion has been
conveyed. P e r s o n s who are admitted to th is sec re t commun
ication are p laced in a co l lu s ive re la t ionsh ip to one another
v is-a-v is the remainder of the par t ic ipan ts . By acknowledging
to one another that they are keeping relevant s e c re t s from the
o the rs present, they acknowledge to one another that the show
of candour they maintain, and the show o f being only th e
ch a rac te rs they off ic ia l ly project, i s merely a show. By means
o f such by-play, performers can affirm a b acks tage so lidar i ty
even while engaged in a performance, exp ress ing with impunity
unaccep tab le th ings about the aud ience a s well a s th ings about
them se lves that the aud ience would find unaccep tab le . I shall
ca ll ‘ t e a m c o l lu s io n ’ any co l lus ive communication which i s
carefu lly conveyed in such a way as to ca u se no threat to
the il lusion that i s being fostered for the audience.

One important kind of team collusion is found in the system
of se c re t s ig n a ls through which performers can su rrep ti t ious ly
rece ive or transm it pertinent information, r eq u e s ts for a s s i s t
ance, and o ther m atters of a kind relevant to the suc ce ss fu l
p resen ta t ion of a performance. Typically , th e s e s tag ing cu e s
come from, or to, the director of the performance, and it greatly
s im plif ies h is ta sk of managing im pressions to have such a
subterranean language ava ilab le . Staging c u e s often re la te
those engaged in presen ting a performance to th o se who are
offering a s s i s t a n c e or direction backstage . T hus, by means
of a foot-buzzer, a h o s te s s can g ive d irec tions to her kitchen
s ta f f while ac ting a s If sh e i s fully involved in the meal-time
conversa tion . Similarly, during radio and te lev is ion productions
a vocabulary of s igns i s employed by th o se in the control room
l fn recrea t ional games, whispered hudd les may be defined a s acce p ta b le ,

a s they may before aud iences such a s children or foreigners to whom
l i t t le cons idera t ion need be given. In so c ia l a rrangements in which kno ts
or c lu s te r s of pe rsons hold se para te conversa tions in each o ther ’s v is ib le
p re sen c e , an effort i s often made by the p ar t ic ipan ts in each c lu s te r to
a c t a s i f what they are saying could be sa id in the other c l u s te r s eveïi
though i t i s not.

113

to guide performers, e sp ec ia l ly a s regards their timing, without
allowing the au d ien c e to become aware that a system of control
communication i s in operation in addition to the communication
in which performers and aud ience are off ic ia l ly partic ipa ting .
So a lso , in b u s in e s s o ff ices , e x e cu t iv es who want to terminate
in te rv iew s both rapidly and tactfu lly will train the ir s e c re ta r ie s
to interrupt in te rv iew s at the proper time with the proper excuse .
Another exam ple may be taken from the kind of soc ia l e s ta b l i s h
ment in America in which sh o e s a re commonly sold . Sometimes
a cus tom er who w ants a shoe of la rge r s i z e than th e one that
i s av a i la b le or the one tha t f i ts may be handled a s fo llow s:

To im press the cus tom er as to the e f fe c t iv e n e ss of h is s t re tch ing
th e shoe , the sa le sm an may te l l the customer chat he is going to s t rc tch
the s h o e s on the thirty-four last . T h is phrase te l ls the wrapper not to
s t r e tc h the sh o e s , but to wrap them up a s they are and hold them undet
the counter for a short while. ‘

S tag ing c u e s are, of course , employed between performers
and a sh il l or confedera te in the audience, a s in the c a s e of
‘ c r o s s fire* between a pitchman and h is p lan t among th e
su ck ers . More commonly we find th e s e c u e s employed among
team-mates while engaged in a performance, th e se c u e s in
fact providing us with one reason for employing the concept
of team in s tead of ana lyz ing in teraction in terms of a pattern
of individual performances. T h is kind of team-mate co l lusion ,
for example, p lays an important ro le in im pression management
in American shops . C lerks in a given s to re commonly develop
their own c u e s for handling the performance presented to the
customer, although ce r ta in terms in the vocabulary seem to be
r e la t ive ly s tandard ized and occur in the sam e form in many
shops a c ro s s the country. When c le rk s are members of a foreign
language group, a s is sometim es the c a se , they may employ
th is language for s e c r e t communication—a p rac t ice a lso
employed by paren ts who spe ll out words in front of young
children and by members of our better c l a s s e s who talk to
each o ther in F rench about th ings they do not want their
children, the ir dom estics , or their tradesm en to hear. However,
th is tac t ic , like whispering, is cons idered crude and im polite ;
s e c re ts can be kept in th is way but not the fact that s e c re t s
are being kept. Under such c ircum stances , team-mates can
hardly maintain the ir front of s in c e re so l ic i iu d e for the customer
(or f rankness to the ch ild ren , e tc . ) . Harmless-sounding ph rases
which the cus tom er th inks he unders tands are more useful to
s a le sp e rso n s . F o r example, if a custom er in a shoe s tore
deeply d es ire s , say , a B width, the sa lesm an can convince
the customer tha t that is what she i s get t ing :

‘D a v id Geller , ‘L in g o of the Shoe Sa lesm an, ‘ tmerican ‘tprerh. I \ , -KV
.14

. . . . the sa lesm an will ca l l to another sa lesm an down the a i s le
and sa y , ” B e n n y what s i z e I s th is s h o e ?’1 By ca l l ing the sa lesm an ,
‘ Benny ‘ he implies that the an sw er should be tha t the width i s B. 1

An engaging i l lus tra t ion of th is kind of co l lusion i s g iven in
a paper on the Borax furniture house :

Now rhat the customer i s in the s to re , suppose sh e c a n ’t be sold?
T h e p r ice i s too high; she must consu l t her husband; she is only
shopping. To let her walk, ( i .e . , e s c a p e without buying) i s treason in
a Borax House. So an S.O.S. i s sent out by the sa lesm an through on e
o f the numerous foot-pushes in the store . In a f lash the ’ m anager ‘ is
on the sc e n e , preoccupied with a su i te and wholly obliv ious of the
Aladdin who sen t for him.

” P a rd o n me, Mr Dixon,” s a y s the sa le sm an , s im ula ting re lucrance
in d isturb ing such a busy personage . ” I wonder if you could do something
for my customer. She thinks the pr ice of th is suite is too high. Madam,
t h i s i s our manager, Mr Dixon.”

Mr Dixon d e a r s his throat im press ive ly , l ie i s a l l of six fee t , h a s
iron-grey hair and w ears a Masonic pin on the lapel of h i s coat- Nobody
would s u s p e c t from h is appearance tha t he i s only a T .O. man, a specia l
sa lesm an ro whom difficult cus tomers are turned over.

” Y e s , ” sa y s Mr Dixon, stroking b is w ell-shaven chin, *1 see.
You go on, Bennett. I’ll take care of madam myself . Pm not so busy
■u the moment anyhow.*

The sa lesm an s l ip s away, va le t- l ike , though h e ’ll give Dixoo hell
if he muffs chat s a le . 2

The prac tice desc r ibed here of 1 T .O . ’in g ’ a customer to another
sa lesm an who takes the role of the manager is apparently
common in many re ta il es tab l ishm en ts . O ther i l lu s tra t io n s
may be taken from a report on th e language of furniture
s a le s m e n :

‘G iv e me the number of th is a r t i c le , ’ i s a ques t ion concerning the
price of the a r t ic le . T he forthcoming r e sp o n s e i s in code. T he codc
i s universa l throughout the U nited S ta te s and is conveyed by simply
doubling the c o s t , the sa lesm an knowing what percentage of profit to
add on to tha t . 3

Verlier i s used a s a command . . . . meaning ‘ l o s e yourse lf . 1 It i s
employed when a sa lesm an wants to let another sa le sm an know thar the
la t te r ‘s p re sen c e i s interfering with a sa le . 4

In the sem i-illegal and h igh-pressure fringes of our
commercial life, it is common to find that team-mates use an
expl ic i t ly learned vocabulary through which information crucial
to the show can be secre tly conveyed. Presum ably th is kind
of code i s not commonly found in thoroughly respec tab le
c i rc les . 5 We find, however, that team-mates everywhere employ
̂David Gel ier, op. c i t . t p. 284.

2 Conant, op. c t t . , p. 174.
■^Charles Miller, ‘ Furniture L ingo , ‘ American Speech, VI, 128.
Alb id .% p. 126.
5 An excep t ion , of course , i s found in the boss -sccre ta ry relation in

r e sp ec ta b le e s tab l ishm en ts . Esquire E tique t te , for example, approves
the following; p. 24 .

Mf you share youc office with your secre ta ry , you will do well to
arrange a signal which means you’d l ike her to get out while you ta lk to
a v isi tor in p r iva te . “Will you leave u s a lone for a while, MissSmich*”
em b arra sses everybody; it ‘s e a s ie r a ll around if you can convey the same
idea , by prearrangement, with something like, * Will you s e e if you can
se t t le that b u s in e ss with the merchandising department, Miss Smith?” ‘

115

an informally and often unconsc ious ly learned vocabulary of
g es tu re s and looks by which co l lu s ive s tag ing c u e s can be
conveyed.

Sometimes th e se informal cu e s or ‘h ig h s i g n s ‘ will in i t ia te
a p h ase in a performance. T hus, when ‘ in com pany,1 a husband
may convey to h is -wife, by su b t le shad ings in h is tone of
vo ice , or a change in his posture, that the two of them will
defin ite ly now s ta r t making the ir farew ells . The conjugal
team can then maintain an appearance of unity in ac tion which
looks spon taneous but often p resu p p o se s a s tr ic t d isc ip l ine .
Sometimes c u e s are av a i la b le by which one performer can
warn another that the o ther is beginning to a c t out of l ine .
The kick under the ta b le and the narrowed eyes have become
humorous exam ples. A piano accom panis t su g g e s ts a way by
which deviating concert s in g e rs can be brought back into tune :

He (the accom panis t ) d o e s th is by gett ing more sh a rp n e s s into his
tone, so that h i s tone will p en e tra te to the s in g e r ’s ea rs , over or rather
through h is voice. P e rh a p s one o f the no tes in the pianoforte harmony
i s the very note that the singer should be s inging, and so he m akes
th is note predominate. When th is a c tu a l note i s no t writcen in the
pianoforte par t , he must add i t in the treb le c lef , where i t will p ipe
loud and c lea r foe the s inge r to hear. If the la t ter i s s inging a quarter
of a tone sharp , or a quarter o f a tone f la t , i t will be an extraordinary
feat on h i s p a r t to continue to s in g out of tune, e s p e c ia l ly i f the
accom pan is t p lay s the vocal line with him for the whole ph rase . Once
having seen the danger s igna l the accom panis t will con t inue to be on
the qui v ive and will sound the s inge r ‘s note from time to time. 1

T he same writer goes on to say something tha t ap p l ie s to
many kinds of perform ances:

A s e n s i t iv e s inger will need only the most d c l ica tc of c u cs from
h is partner. Indeed they can be so d e l i c a te chat even die s inge r h im self
while profiting by them will not be c o n s c io u s ly aware of Cnem. The
l e s s s e n s i t iv e the singer, the more poin ted and therefore the more
obvious th e s e c u e s will have to be. 2

Another example may be c i te d from Dale’s d isc u ss io n of how
civil se rvan ts during a meeting can cue their minister that
he i s on treacherous g ro u n d :

But in the course of conversa tion new and unforeseen points may well
a r i se . If a c iv il se rvant at the committee then s e e s h i s Minister talcing
a line which he th inks wrong, he will nor say so f la t ly ; he will e i ther
sc r ibb le a note to the Minister or he will d e l ica te ly pu t forward some
fa c t or su g g e s t io n a s a minor modification of h i s M inister ‘s view. An
exper ienced Minister will perce ive the red light a t once and gently
withdraw, or at l e a s t postpone d isc u ss io n . It will be c lear that the
mixture of Minis ters and civil se rvan ts in a Committee requ ires on
occas io n some ex e rc ise of tac t and some qu ickness of perception on
both s id e s . 3

Very frequently informal s tag ing c u e s will warn team-mates
tha t the audience has suddenly come into their p re se n ce ; 4

1 Moore, op. c i t . , pp. 56-57.
p. 57.

3 Dale, op. c i t . , p. 141.

A well-known formally-leamed cue of t h i s kind i s found in the v isua l signal
116

or that the c o a s t i s c l e a r and thar relaxation of one’s front i s
now p o s s ib le ; or that while it may seem all right to drop o ne’s
guard of d isc re tion , there are in fac t members of the aud ience
presen t, making it in a d v isa b le to do s o : 1 o r that an innocent-
‘ook ing member of the aud ience i s really a spo tte r or shopper
or someone who is in o ther ways more or l e s s than he seem s.

It would be d ifficu lt for any team—a family, for example—
to manage the im press ions it fo s te rs without such a s e t of
warning s ig n a ls . A recen t memoir concerning a mother and
daughter who l ived in one room in London provides che
following exam ple :

On the way p a s t Gennaro ‘s 1 became filled wich apprehension about
our lunch, wondering how my mother would take to Scotty (a manicur ist*
co l leag u e sh e w as bringing home to lunch for the f i r s t time) and what
Scotty would think of my mother, and we were no sooner on the s ta i r c a s e
than 1 s ta r ted to ta lk in a loud voice to warn her chat 1 w as not a lone .
Indeed, th is w as quite a s ignal between us, for when two people live
in a s in g le room there i s no te l l ing what so r t of un t id iness can meet
the unexpec ted v i s i t o r s eye. There w a s nearly a lw ays a cookin§-pan
or a dirty p la te where it should not be, or s to c k in g s or a p e t t ico a t
drying above the s tove . My mother, warned by the ra ised voice o f her
ebu l l ien t daughter , would rush round l ik e a c i rcus dancer hiding the
pan or the p la te or the s to c k in g s , and then tum herse lf in to a p i l la r of
frozen dignity, very calm, all ready for the v isi tor . If she had c lea red
th ings up too qu ickly , and forgotten something very obvious, 1 would
s e e her v ig ilant eye fixed upon it and I would be expected to do some*
thing about i t without exc i t ing the v is i to r ‘ s a t ten t ion . 2

It may be noted, f inally , that the more unconsc iously th e se
cu e s a re learned and employed, the e a s ie r it will be for the
members of a team to concea l even from them se lves that they
do in fact function a s a team. As previously suggested , even
to i t s own members, a team may be a se c re t soc ie ty .

C lose ly a s s o c ia te d with s tag ing cues, we find tha t team s
work out ways of conveying extended verbal m e ssag e s to one
another in such a way a s to protect a projected im pression
chat might be d isrupted were the aud ience to app rec ia te that

employed in b roadcas ting s tud ios which lireral ly or sym bolica lly r e a d s :
‘ You a re on the a i r . ‘ Another broad ges tu re i s reported by Ponsonby,
np, c i t , p. 102 :

‘ T h e Queen (Victoria) often went to s le e p during th ese ho t dr ives,
an d in order that she should not be se en l ike th is by a crowd in a v i l lage ,
1 used to dig my spu rs in to the ho rse whenever 1 saw a large crowd ahead
and make the as to n ish ed animal jump about and make a no ise . P r in c e s s
[Beatrice a lw a y s knew that th is meant a crowd, and if the Queen d id n ‘ t
wake with the no ise 1 made, she woke her he rse l f . ‘

A typical warning cue i s i l lu s t ra ted by Katherine Archibald, op, c i t . ,
in her study of work in a sh ipyard :

* At t imes when work w as e s p e c ia l ly s lack I have myself stood guard
a t the door o f a tool sha ck , ready’ to warn of the approach of a super*
in tendent or a front-office boss , while for day af ter day nine or ten le s se r
b o s s e s and workmen played poker with p a s s io n a te absorp tion . ‘

C r i m i n a l s commonly employ s ig n a ls of th is kind to warn their co l leagues
tha t ‘ l e g i t ‘ e a r s are l i s ten ing to them or leg i t e y e s are watch ing them;
in criminal argot th is warning i s ca l led ‘g iv in g the o ff ice . ‘

2 Mrs Robert l lenrey , Madeleine Grown Up (New York : Dutton, 1953), PP*
’16-47.

117

information of th is kind w as being conveyed. Again we may
c i te an il lus tra t ion from the B rit ish civil s e rv ic e :

It i s a very dif ferent matter when a civ i l se rvan t is ca l led on to
watch over a Dill in i t s p a s s a g e through Par l iament, or to go down to
e i th e r H ouse for a deba te . He canno t sp e a k in h is own pe rso n ; he can
only supply the Minister with m ater ia l and su g g e s t io n s , and hope th a t
he will make good use o f them. It need hardly be sa id that the Minister
i s carefully * briefed* beforehand for an y se t speech , a s on the second
or third read ing o f a n important Dil l, or the introduction o f the
Department ‘s annual e s t im a te s : for such an o c cas io n the Minister i s
supplied with full n o te s on every poin t l ike ly to be r a i se d , even with
a necdo te s and Might r e l i e f 1 of a decorous o fficial nature. He himself,
h is P r iv a te Secre ta ry , an d the Perm anent Secretary probably spend a
good deal of time and labour in se le c t in g from th e s e n o te s the most
ef fec t ive p o in ts to em phas ize , arranging them in the bes t order and
dev is ing an im press ive perora tion . All this i s ea sy both for the Minister
and h is o f f i c i a l s ; it is done in quiet and a t le i su re . Dut the crux is
the reply a t the end of a debate . T here the Minister m ust mainly depend
on h imself . It i s true th a t the c iv i l s e rv a n ts s i t t in g with pa t ien t
endurance in the l i t t le gallery on the Speaker ‘s right or ac the entrance
to the House of Lords , have noted down in a c c u ra c ie s and d is to r t ions
of fact, f a l se in fe ren c es , m isunders tand ings of the Government p roposa ls
and s im ila r w e a k n e s s e s , in the c a s e p r e sen ted by Opposit ion s p e a k e r s :
but ir i s often d if f icu l t co get th is ammunition up to the firing-line.
Sometimes the Minis ter’s Par l iamenta ry P riva te Secre tary wili r ise from
h i s s e a t j u s t behind h is chief , s t ro l l c a re le s s ly a long to the official
ga l ie ty and hold a w hispered conversa tion with the civ il s e rv a n t s :
som e tim es a no te will be p a s s e d along to the M in is te r : very ra re ly he
h im se lf will come for a moment and a s k a question . All th e s e l i t t le
communications must go on under the e y e s of the House , and no Minister
c a r e s to seem l ike an ac to r who does not know h is part ar.d requires
to be prompted. 1

B u s in e s s e t iquet te , p e rh ap s more concerned with s tra teg ic
s e c re ts than with moral ones , offers the following s u g g e s t io n s :

. . . Guard your end of a phone conversa tion if an o u ts id e r i s within
ea rsho t . If you are tak ing a m essage from someone e l s e , and you want
to be sure y o u ’ve got i t s t ra igh t , don ‘ t r epea t the m es sag e in the usual
fash io n ; in s te a d , a s k the c a l l e r to r epea t i t , so your clarion tones
w on ‘t announce a p o ss ib ly p r ivate m essage to a l l bys tanders .

. . . Cover your p a p e r s before an ou ts ide c a l l e r a r r ives , or make a
habit of keeping them in folders or under a cover ing blank sheer.

. . . If you must speak to someone e l s e in your organ iza t ion when
lie i s with an ou ts ider , or with anyone who is not concerned with your
m e s sa g e , do it in such a way chat che chird person d o e s n ’t p ick up any
information. You might use the interoff ice te lephone ra ther than the
intercom, say , or write your m essag e on i note you can hand over
in s tea d of speak ing your p iece in pub l ic . 2

A vis i to r who is expec ted should be announced immediately . If you
are c lo s e ted with another person your secre tary in te r rup ts you to say
something l ike , q Your three o ’clock appointment is here. I thought
y o u ’d l ike to know ,” (She d o e s n ‘ t mention the v i s i to r ’s name in the
hear ing of an ou ts ide r . If you arc not likely to remember who your
‘ three o ’clock a p p o in tm en t’ i s , sh e w ri tes the name on a s l ip of papet
and hands it to you, or u se s your p r iva te phone in s tea d of the loudspeaker
sys tem .) 3

Staging cues have been su g g e s ted a s one main type of
team co l lu s io n ; another type invo lves communications which
function chiefly to confirm for the performer the fact that he

i D a le , op. c i t . , pp. M8-149.
2 Esquire E tique t te , op. cif . , p. 7. E l l i p s i s d o ts the au th o rs ’.
* Esquire Etiquette , op. cit. , pp. 22-23.

118

does not really hold with the working co nsensus , thac the
show he p u ts on i s only a show, thereby providing himself
with at l e a s t a private defence ag a in s t the c la im s made by the
audience. We may labe l th is ac t iv i ty ‘d e r i s iv e c o l lu s io n ; ‘ it
typ ically involves a sec re t derogation of the audience although
sometim es concept ions of the aud ience may be conveyed that
are too complimentary to fit within the working co n sensus .
We have here a furtive public counterpart of what was descr ibed
in the seccion ca l le d ‘T re a tm e n t of the A bsen t . ’

D erisive co llusion occu rs most frequently, perhaps, between
a performer and hi nisei f. School children provide examples of
th is when they c ro ss their f ingers w hile te l l ing a l ie or s tick
out their tongues when the teach er momentarily moves to a
posit ion where sh e cannot s e e the tr ibute. So, too, employees
will often grimace a t their boss , or g e s t ic u la te a s i len t cu rse ,
performing th e se a c t s of contempt or insubordination at an
a n g le such tha t those to whom th e s e ac ts are directed cannot
se e them. P erhaps the most timid form of th is kind of co l lus ion
i s found in the prac tice of ‘d o o d l in g 1 or of ‘ going a w a y ’ to
imaginary p le asa n t p la ce s , while s t i l l maintaining some show
of performing the part of l is tener .

D eris ive co l lusion a l s o occurs between members of a
team when they are presen ting a performance. T hus, while a
se c re t code of verbal in su l t s may perhaps be employed only
on the luna tic fringe of our commercial life, there i s no
commercial e s tab l ishm ent so repu tab le tha t i t s c le rks do not
c a s t each other knowing looks when in the presence of an
undes irab le c l ien t or a des irab le c l ien t who conduc ts h imself
in an undes irable way. Similarly, in our so c ie ty it is very
d ifficult for a husband and wife, or two c lo se friends, to spend
an evening in convivial in te rac t ion with a third person without
a t som e time looking a t each other in such a way a s to
con trad ic t se cre tly the a t t i tude they are offic ia lly maintaining
toward the third person.

A more damaging form of th is kind of aggress ion against
th e aud ience is found in s i tu a t io n s where one member of a
team performs his part for the sp e c ia l and se c re t amusement
of his team -m ates ; for example, he may throw himself into
h is part with an a f fec tive en thusiasm that is at once exaggerated
and p rec ise , but s o c lo se to what the audience expects that
they do not quite rea lize , or are not sure, that fun is being
made of them. 1 A somewhat sim ilar form of co llusion occurs

’ Suggested by Howard S. Beckcr in a personal communication. Mr Becker
s r a te s rliat jazz m usic ians obliged to play ’ c o rn y ’ music will sometimes
play it a l i t t le more corny than n eces sa ry , the s l ig h t exaggeration serving
ns a m eans by which the m usic ian s can convey to each other their contempt
for the audience.

119

when one team member a t tem tps to te a se another while both
are engaged in a performance. T h e immediate object here
will be to make o n e ’s team-mate alm ost burst out laughing,
o r a lm ost tr ip, or a lm ost lo se h i s po ise in other ways. For
example, in the is lan d tour is t hote l s tud ied by th e writer, the
cook would som etim es s tand a t the k itchen en trance to the
front regions of the hotel and solem nly answ er with dignity
and in standard E ng lish the q u es t io n s put to him by hotel
g u e s t s , while from within the k itchen the maids, s tra igh t- faced ,
would s e c re t ly but p e rs is te n t ly goose him. By mocking the
the audience or te a s in g a team-mate, the performer can show
not only tha t he i s not bound by the o ffic ia l in te rac t ion but
a l s o th a t he has th is in te rac t ion so much under control that
he can toy wirh it a t will.

A final form of d e r is iv e by-play may be mentioned. Often
when an individual is in te rac t ing with a second individual
who is offensive in som e way, he will try to ca tc h the eye
of a third ind iv idual—one who i s defined a s an ou ts ider
to the in te rac t io n —and in th is way confirm that he i s not to
be held r e sp o n s ib le for the ch a rac te r or behaviour of the second
individual. It may be noted in conclus ion that al l o f th e se
forms of de r is ive co l lu s ion tend to a r ise almost involuntarily,
by cu e s tha t are conveyed before they can be checked.

Reoligning Actions

It has been su g g e s ted tha t when ind iv iduals come together
for the purpose of in teraction , each adheres to the part that
h a s been c a s t for him within his team’s routine, and each
jo in s with h is team -m ates in m ainta ining the appropriate mixture
of formality and informality, o f d i s t a n c e and intimacy, toward
the members of the other team. T h is does not mean th a t team
m ates will openly trea t one another in the sam e way a s they
openly t rea t th e aud ience , but i t does usually mean tha t team
m ates will t rea t one another differently from the way th a t would
be most ‘ n a t u r a l 1 for them. C o l lu s iv e communication h a s been
su g g e s ted a s one way in which team -m ates can free them se lves
a l i t t le from the re s t r ic t iv e requirem ents of in te rac t ion between
te a m s ; it is a kind of dev ia tion from type which the audience
i s meant to remain unaware of, and it tends , therefore, to leave
the status quo in tac t . However, performers rarely seem content
with sa fe channels for ex p re ss in g d iscon ten t with the working
c o n s e n s u s . T hey often at tem pt to sp e ak out of charac ter in
a way tha t will be heard by th e audience but will not openly
th rea ten e i the r the integrity of the two team s or the soc ia l

120

d is ta n c e between them. T h e s e temporary unofficial, or
contro lled realignments, often ag g ress iv e in character, provide
an in te re s t in g area for study.

When two team s e s tab l ish an official working consensus
a s a guaran tee for sa fe so c ia l in teraction , we may usually
d e tec t an unofficial l ine of communication which each team
d irec ts a t the other. T h is unofficial communication may be
carried on by innuendo, mimicked a c c e n ts , well-placed jokes,
s ign if ican t p auses , ve i led h in ts , purposeful kidding, ex p re ss iv e
overtones, and many other sign p rac t ice s . R ules regarding
th is laxity are quite s tr ic t . The communicator has the right to
deny tha t he ‘m e a n t a n y th in g 1 by h is ac tion , should h is
rec ip ien ts a c c u s e him to his face of having conveyed something
unaccep tab le , and the r ec ip ien ts have the right to ac t a s if
nothing, or only something innocuous, has been conveyed.

In many kinds of so c ia l in te rac t ion , unofficial communication
provides a way in which one team can extend a defin ite but non
compromising invitation to the other, requesting that soc ia l
d is tan c e and formality be in c re ase d or dec reased , or tha t both
team s shift the in te ract ion to one involving the performance
of a new se t of ro les . T h is is sometim es known a s ‘p u t t in g
out f e e l e r s ’ and involves guarded d is c lo su re s and hinted
demands. By means of s ta te m en ts tha t are carefully ambiguous
or that have a se c re t meaning to the in it ia te , a performer is
ab le to d iscover , without dropping his defens ive stand , whether
or not i t is s a fe to d isp e n se with the current definition of the
s i tua tion . For example, s in c e it is not nec es sa ry to retain
soc ia l d is tan c e or be on guard before those who are o ne’s
co l lea g u es in occupation, ideology, e thn ic i ty , c l a s s , e tc . , it
i s common for c o l lea g u es to develop s e c re t s ig n s which seem
innocuous to non-co lleagues while a t the sam e time they convey
to the in i t ia te that he is among his own and can relax the
pose he m ainta ins toward the public. T hus the murderous
Thugs of n ineteenth-century India, who hid th e i r annual
depredations behind a nine-month show of civic-minded ac tions ,
p o s s e s s e d a code for recognizing one another. As one writer
s u g g e s t s :

When T hugs meet, though st rangers , there is something in their
manner which soon d isc o v e rs i t se l f to each other, and to a s s u re the
surmise thus excited , one exc la im s ‘A l e e K h a n ! ‘ which, on being
repeated by th e other party, a recognition of each o th e r ’s h ab i t t a k e s
p lace . . . *

Similarly, men of the British working c l a s s can be found who
st i l l ask a s t ranger ‘h o w far E a s t ’ i s h e ; fellow F reem asons
‘ Col. [ .L .S l e e m a n , Tkugs or a Million Murders (London: Sampson Low,

n. d.), p. 79.

121

know how to answ er th is passw ord and know tha t af ter they
do an sw e r it those presen t can r e la x into in to lerance for
C a th o l ic s and the effe te c l a s s e s . In Anglo-American soc ie ty
th e surname and the appearance of persons to whom one is
introduced serve a s im ila r function, te l l ing one which of the
segm ents o f th e population i t will be im politic to c a s t
a s p e rs io n s aga in s t .

T he guarded d isc lo su re by which two members of an intimate
so c ie ty make th e m se lv es known to each other is perhaps the
le a s t sub tle version of d is c lo s iv e communication. In everyday
l ife , where ind iv iduals have no se c re t so c ie ty to d is c lo se
the ir membership in, a more d e l ic a te p rocess is involved.
When ind iv idua ls are unfamiliar with ea ch o ther’s opin ions
and s t a tu s e s , a feeling-out p ro c e s s occu rs whereby one
individual adm its his v iew s or s t a tu s e s to another a l i t t l e at
a time. After dropping h is guard ju s t a l i t t l e he w aits for the
o ther to show reason why it is sa fe for him to do th is , and
af te r th is r ea ssu ra n ce he can sa fe ly drop h is guard a l i t t le
b i t more. By phras ing each s te p in the adm ission in an
ambiguous way, the individual i s in a posit ion to halt the
procedure of dropping h is front at the point where he ge ts no
confirmation from the other, and at th is point he can ac t a s if
h i s l a s t d isc lo su re were not an overture at a l l . T hus when
two persons in conversa tion are a t tem pting to d iscover how
carefu l they are going to have to be about s ta t ing the ir true
po li t ica l opinions, one of them can halt h is gradual d isc losure
o f how far left or how far r ight he is ju s t a t the point where
th e other has come to the fu rthes t extreme of his ac tua l beliefs .
In such c a s e s , the person with the more extreme v iew s will
tac tfu l ly act a s if his views are no more extreme than the
o ther’s.

T h is p rocess of gradual guarded d isc lo su re i s a l so
i l lu s tra te d by some of the mythology and a few of the fac ts
a s s o c ia te d with sexual life in our soc ie ty . The sexual relation
i s defined a s one of intimacy with in it ia t ive superordination
for the male. In fact, courting p rac t ice s involve a concerted
aggress ion aga ins t the alignment between the s e x e s on the
part of the male, as he a t tem pts to manoeuvre someone for
whom he m ust a t f irs t show re sp e c t into a posit ion of
subord inate in timacy. However, an even more a g g re s s iv e action
aga inst the alignment between the s e x e s is found in s i tua t ions
where the working co n sen su s is defined in terms of super-
ordination and d is tan c e on the part of a performer who happens
to be a woman and subordination on the part of a performer
who happens to be a man. T h e p o ss ib i l i ty a r i s e s that the

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male performer will redefine the sicuation to em phasize h is
sexual superordination a s opposed to h is socio-economic
subordination . 1 In our p ro le tarian l i te ra tu re , for example,
i t i s the poor man who in troduces th i s redefin ition in regard
to a r ich woman; Lady Chatterley’s J^over, a s has often been
remarked, i s a c lea r-cu t example. And when we study se rv ice
o ccupa t ions , e s p e c ia l ly lowly ones , inev itab ly we find that
p rac ti t ione rs have ane cd o te s to te ll about the time they or
one of the ir c o l lea g u es redefined the se rv ic e relacion inco
a sexual one (or had it redefined for them). T a le s o f such
ag g re ss iv e redefin i t ions are a s ign if ican t part of the myth
ology not only of par t icu lar occupat ions but a l so of the male
subculture generally .

Temporary realignments through which i irec tion of the
in teraction may be se ize d in an unofficial way by a subordinate,
or unoffic ia lly ex tended by a superordinate, a t ta in some kind
of s ta b i l i ty and inst icu t ionaliza tion in what is sometimes
ca l le d ‘ doub le -ta lk .’ 2 By th is communication technique two
ind iv iduals may convey information to one another in a manner
or on a matter chat i s in c o n s is te n t with their official rela tion
ship. Double-talk invo lves the kind of innuendo that can
be conveyed by both s id e s and carried on for a su s ta in e d period
of time. It i s a kind of co l lu s ive communication differenc
from other types of co llusion in thac the ch a rac te rs aga ins t
whom the co l lus ion i s susta ined are projecced by the very
persons who enter into the co l lus ion . Typica lly double-talk
occurs during in teraction between a subord inate and a super
ordinate concerning m atte rs which are offic ia lly ou ts id e the
the com petence and jurisdic tion of the subordinate buc which
ac tua lly depend on him. By employing double-talk the sub
ord inate can in i t ia te l in e s of action without giving open
recognition to the ex p ress iv e im plication of such in it ia t ion
and without putting into jeopardy the s t a tu s d iffe rence between
h im self and h is superord ina te . Barracks and ja i l s apparently
abound in double-talk. It i s a lso commonly found in s i tua t ions

’ P e rh a p s becau se of r e sp e c t for the Freud ian e th ic , some so c io lo g i s t s
seem to a c t a s i f it would be io bad t a s te , impious, or se lf- revela tory to
def ine sexua l in tercourse a s par t of the ceremonial sys tem, a reciprocal
r itua l performed to confirm symbolically a n exc lus ive so c ia l re la t ionsh ip .
T h is chap ter draws heavily on Kenneth Burke, who clear ly ta k e s the
soc io log ica l view in def in ing cour tsh ip a s a pr inc ip le of rheto ric through
which soc ia l es t rangem ents a re transcended . See Burke, A Grammar
o f Motives, p. 208 ff. and pp. 267-268.

2 In everyday sp e e c h the term ‘d o u b le – t a lk ‘ is a l s o u sed in two other s e n s e s :
i t i s used to refe r to s e n te n c e s in which sou n d s have been in jec ted which
seem a s if they mi^ht be meaningful but r ea l ly are no t ; i t i s used to refer
to p ro tec t ive ly ambiguous answ ers to ques t ions for which the a sk e r d es i red
a c l e a r c u t reply.

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where the subord inate h a s had long exper ience with the job
w hereas the superord ina te h a s not, a s in the sp li t which occurs
in government o f f ices between a ‘p e r m a n e n t ’ deputy m in is te r
and a p o li t ica lly appointed m inister, and in those c a s e s where
the subord inate s p e a k s the language of a group of em ployees
but h is supero rd ina te d o es not. We may a lso find double-talk
in s i tu a t io n s where two p e rso n s engage in i l l ic i t agreem ents
with ‘each other, for by th is techn ique communication may
o cc u r and yet ne i ther pa r t ic ipan t need p la c e him self in the
han d s of the other. A sim ilar form of co l lu s io n i s sometim es
found between two team s which must maintain the impression
of being re la t ive ly h o s t i le or re la t ive ly d is tan t toward each
other and yet find i t mutually profitable to come to an agreement
on ce r ta in m atte rs , providing th is d oes not em barrass the
opposit ional s tand they are ob liged to be ready to maintain
toward each other. 1 In other words, d e a ls can be made without
c re a t in g the m utual-solidari ty re la t ionsh ip which dealing
u su a l ly l e a d s to. More important, perhaps, double-talk regularly
o cc u rs in in tim ate dom estic and work s i tua t ions , a s a sa fe
m eans of making and refusing r eq u e s ts and commands that
could not be openly made or openly refused without altering
the re la t ionsh ip .

I h ave cons idered some common rea lign ing a c t io n s —move
m ents around, or over, or away from the l ine between the te am s ;
p r o c e s s e s such a s “noff ic ia l grumbling, guarded d isc lo su res ,
and double-talk were given a s in s ta n c e s . 1 would l ike to
add a few more types to the pic ture.

When the working c o n s e n su s e s ta b l ish e d between two team s
i s one involving avowed opposit ion , we find tha t the d iv is ion
of labour within each team may ultimately lead to momentary
rea lignm ents o f the kind that make us app rec ia te that not only
arm ies have the problem of fra tern ization . A s p e c ia l i s t on
one team may find that he has a great deal in common with
h is opposite number on the other team and that toge ther they
ta lk a language which tends to align them together on a s ing le
team in opposit ion to al l the remaining par t ic ipan ts . Thus,
during labour-management nego t ia t ions , opposing law yers
may find them se lves exchanging co l lu s iv e looks when a layman
on e i th e r team makes a paten t legal gaffe. When the s p e c ia l i s t s
are not permanently part of a pa r t icu la r team but ra the r hire
them se lves out for the duration of nego t ia t ions , they are likely
to be more loyal in some s e n s e to th e i r ca t l in g and the ir

l See Dale, op. c i t . , pp. 182-183, foe an i l lu s t ra t io n of t a c i t compromises
between two teams of fic ia l ly opposed to each other. See a l s o Melville
Dalton, ‘U n o ff ic ia l Uaion-Management R e la t io n s , ’ American Socio log ica l
R e v ie w , XV, pp . 611-619.

124

c o l le a g u e s chan to rhe team they happen at the time to
be serving. If, then, the im pression of opposit ion between
che team s i s to be mainta ined, the c ro ss -cu t t in g lo y a l t ie s o f
s p e c ia l i s t s will have to be su p p ressed or e x p re ssed surrep
t i t ious ly . T h u s American law yers , in s e n s in g tha t their c l ien ts
want them to be h os t i le to the opposing lawyer, may wait
until a b acks tage r e c e s s before having a friendly collegial
c h a t about the c a s e in p rogress . In d is c u s s in g the role that
c ivil se rv a n ts play in parliamentary deb a te s , Dale m akes a
s im ilar su g g e s t io n :

A sec deba te on one su b je c t . . . . a s a rule t a k e s only one day.
If a Department i s so unlucky a s to have a long and con ten tious BUI in
Committee of the whole House, the Minister and the c iv i l s e rv a n t s in
charge of it must be there from 4 p.m. ti l l 11 p.m. ( som etim es much la ter
if the 1! o ‘ c lo ck rule i s suspended), perhaps day a f te r day from Monday
ti l l Thursday every w e e k . . . . However, the c iv i l se rvan ts g e t one
compensation for their su fferings . It i s a t th is time th a t they a re most
likely to renew and ex tend the ir a c q u a in tan ce s in the H o u s e . The s e n s e
of p re s su re i s l e s s both amon£ Members and among o f f ic ia ls than during
a se t deba te of one day : i t is leg it imate to e s c a p e ftom the debating
chamber to the smoking*room ot the terrace and engage in cheerful
conversa tion while a notorious bote is moving an amendment which
everyone knows to be im poss ib le . A cer ta in camaraderie a r i s e s among
all engaged night a f te r night upon a Bil l , G overnm en t Opposit ion, and
civ il s e rv a n ts a l ike . 1

In teres t ing ly enough, in some c a s e s even backs tage frater
n iza tion may be considered too much of a threat to the show.
T hus baseba ll p layers w hose team s will represen t opposing
s id e s of fans are required by league ruling to refrain from
convivial conversa tion with one another just before the game
s ta r t s .

T h is i s a readily unders tandab le rule. It would not be seemly to
s e e p laye rs chinning a s if they were a t an afternoon tea , and then hope
to support the point chac they go af ter each other he ll-ben t for leather ,
which they do, a s soon a s the game begins . They have to ac t like
opponents all the time. 2

In all of th e se c a s e s involving fra tern ization between opposing
sp e c ia l i s t s , the point i s not tha t the s e c r e ts of the team s will
be d is c lo se d or their in te re s ts made to suffer (although th is
may occur and may appear to occur) but rather that the im
p ress ion of opposit ion that is fostered between the team s may
be d isc red i ted . The contribution of the sp e c ia l i s t must appear
to be a spon taneous response to the fa c ts o f th e c a s e , inde
pendently p lacing him in opposit ion to the other team ; when
he f ra te rn izes with h is opposite number the techn ica l value
of h is contribution may not suffer, but, dram aturgica lly speaking,
it i s shown up for what it i s —the pu rchased performance of
a routine task .

I do not mean to imply by th is d is c u s s io n tha t fraternization

1 UUe, op. cit., p. 150.
-Pinell i , op cif ., p. 169

125

o cc u rs only between s p e c ia l i s t s temporarily tak ing s id e s
a g a in s t each other. Whenever lo y a l t ie s c ro ss -cu t , a se t of
ind iv idua ls may loudly form one pair of team s while quietly
forming another.

Often, when two team s e n te r soc ia l in te rac t ion , we can
identify one a s having the lower general p res t ige and the o ther
team the higher. Ordinarily , when we think of realigning
ac t io n s in such c a s e s , we think of efforts on the part of the
lower team to a l t e r the b a s is o f in te ract ion in a direction more
favourable to them or to d e c r e a s e the soc ia l d is ta n c e and
formality between th e m se lv es and the higher team. In teres ting ly
enough, the re are o c c a s io n s when it s e rv e s th e wider goals
o f the h igher team to lower barriers and admit the lower team
to g rea te r intimacy and equa li ty with it. G ranting the con
s e q u e n c e s of ex tend ing b ac k s ta g e fam iliar ity to o n e ’s le s s e r s ,
i t may be in o n e ’s long-range in te re s t to do so momentarily.
T hus , in order to p reven t a str ike , Mr Barnard te l l s u s he
de l ibera te ly sw ore in the p re se n ce of a committee rep resen ting
unemployed workers and a l s o te l l s u s tha t he i s aw are of the
s ig n if ic an c e of th i s :

In my judgment, confirmed by o thers whose opinion I r e sp e c t ,
i t is a s a genera l rule exceed ing ly bad p rac t ice fot one In a superior
posi t ion to sw e a r at or in the p resence of those of subord inate or inferior
sta tus» even though the l a t te r have no ob jec tion to oa ths and even
though they know the superior i s accus tom ed to curs ing . I have known
very few men who could do it w ithout adye rse r e a c t io n s on rhelr inf luence.
I suppose the reason is th a t w hatever lowers the d ignity of a superior
pos i t ion m akes it more d if f icu l t to a c c e p t dif ference of posi t ion . Also ,
where a s in g le organiza tion i s involved in which the supe rio r posit ion
i s symbolic o f the w hole organiza tion , the p res t ig e of th e la t te r i s
thought to be injured. In the p resen t c a s e , an exception , the oa th was
de l ib e ra te and accom panied by hard pounding of the t a b le . 1

A sim ila r s itua tion is found in those mental h o sp i t a ls
where milieu therapy is p rac tised . By bringing the nurse and
even a t ten d a n ts into what are usua lly sa c ro san c t s ta f f con
fe rences , th e s e non-medical s ta f f pe rsons can fee l tha t the
d i s t a n c e between th e m se lv es and the doc to rs i s d ec reas ing
and may show more r e a d in e s s to take the d o c to rs ’ point of
view toward the pa t ien ts . By sacr if ic ing the e x c lu s iv e n e s s
o f th o se at the top, it i s felt tha t the morale of those at the
bottom can be inc reased . A s ta id report of th is p rocess i s
given us by Maxwell J o n e s in h is report on Eng lish experience
with milieu the rapy :

1 C hes te r I. Barnard, Organization and Management (Cambridge, M ass . :
Harvard Universi ty P r e s s , 1949), n. pp. 73-74. T h is kind of conduct must
be c lea r ly d is t ingu ished from the rough language and behaviour employed
by a supe rord ioate who s t a y s within the team made up of h i s em ployees
and ‘ k i d s ‘ them in to work.

126

In che unit we have a t tem pted co develop the role of the doctor to meer
our l imited trea tment goat and have tr ied to avoid p te ie n c e . T h is has
meant a cons ide rab le break from hospita l tradition. Vic do not d re s s
to conform co the usual concep t of the professional man. Vt’e have
avoided the white c o a t , prominent s te thoscope , and a g g re ss iv e percuss ion
hammer a s excensions of our body image. 1

Actually , when we study the in teraction between two
team s in everyday s i tu a t io n s we find that often the super
o rdinate team will be expected to unbend just a l i t t le . F o r one
thing, such relaxation of front provides a b as is for barter;
th e superordina te r ec e iv e s a se rv ic e or good of some kind,
while the subord inate r ec e iv e s an indulgent grant of intimacy.
T hus , the rese rve which upper-c lass people in Britain maintain
during in teraction with tradesm en and petty o f f ic ia ls has been
known to give way momentarily when a par t icu la r favour must
be asked of th e se subord inates . Also, such relaxation of
d is ta n c e provides one means by which a fee ling of spontaneity
and involvemenc can be generated in the in teraction . In any
c a se , in te ract ion between two teams often in vo lves the taking
o f very small l ibe r t ies , if only a s a means of te s t ing the ground
to se e if unexpected advantage might not be taken of the
opposing s ide .

When a performer re fu ses to keep his p lace , whether it
i s of higher or lower rank than the audience, we may expect
that the director, i f there is one, and the aud ience may well
become i l l -d isposed toward him. In many c a s e s , the rank
and file are a lso likely to ob jec t to him. As previously
sugges ted in re ference to ra tebus te rs , any extra concess ion
to th e aud ience on the part of one member of the team is a
th rea t to the s tand the o thers have taken and a threat to the
security they obtain from knowing and controlling the stand
they will have to take . Thus, when one teacher in a school
i s deep ly sym pathe tic to her charges , or en te r s into the ir play
during re c e ss , or i s willing to come into c lo s e contact with
the lo w -s ta tu s ones among them, the other te ac h e rs will find
that the im pression they are trying to mainta in of what
c o n s t i tu te s appropriate work i s th rea tened . 1 In fact, when
particu lar performers c ro s s the l in e that se p a ra te s the teams,
when someone becomes too intimate, or too indulgent, or too
an tagon is t ic , we may expect a c ircu i t of reverbera tions to be
s e t up which a f fec ts the subordinate team, the superord ina te
team, and the particu lar t r ansg resso rs . ___________
1 Maxwell Jo n e s , The Therapeutic Community (New York: B asic Books,

1953), p. 40.
2 Persona l communication ftom H elen Biaw, schoo l teacher .

127

A hint of such reverbera tions may be c i te d from a recent
s tudy of m erchant seamen, in which th e author s u g g e s ts that
when o f f ice rs quarrel in m atte rs regarding ship duty, the seamen
will avail them se lves of the breach by offering the ir com miser
a t io n s to the officer chey feel h a s been wronged:

In doing th i s (p lay ing up to one of the d i sp u ta n ts ) the crewmen
ex p ec ted the officer to re lax in h is su p e r io r a t t i tude and to allow the
men a cer ta in equali ty while d i s c u s s in g the s i tua t ion . T h is soon led
to their expec t ing cer ta in p r iv i l e g e s —su c n a s s tand ing in the w heel-house
in s tea d of on the wings of the bridge. They took advantage o f the
m a te s ‘ d ispu te to e a s e the ir subord inate s t a tu s . 1

Recenc t rends in psych ia t r ic trea tm ent provide us with other
ex a m p le s ; I would l ike to mention som e of these .

One in s ta n c e may be taken from the Maxwell J o n e s ’ report,
a lthough h is study purports to be an argumenc for e a s in g s t a tu s
d if fe rences between s ta ff le v e ls and between p a t ie n ts and s ta ff :

The integrity o f the n u r s e s ’ group can be upse t by the ind iscre t ion
o f any one member: a n u tse who a l lo w s her se x u a l n eed s to be met in
an over t way by the pat ien t a l t e r s the p a t i e n t ’s a t t i tude towards the
whole nurs ing group and makes th e nu rse ‘s therapeutic role a l e s s
e f fec t ive one . 2

Another i l lu s tra t io n i s found in B e tte lh e im ’s comments on h is
exper ience in cons truc t ing a the rapeu t ic m ilieu at the Sonia
Shankman O rthogenic School at the U niversi ty o f C h icago :

Within the to ta l se t t in g of the th e rapeu t ic milieu, pe rsona l secur i ty ,
ad equa te in s t in c tu a l gra t i f ica t ion and group support all s e n s i t i z e the
child to incer-personal r e la t io n s . It would, of course , de fea t the p u tp o se s
of milieu therapy i f the children were not a lso sa fegua rded from the
kind of d i s i l lu s io n m e n t they have a lready exper ienced in the ir original
se t t in g s . Staff coherency is therefore an important sou rce of personal
se cu r i ty to the ch ildren a s the s ta f f members remain impervious to the
c h i ld ren ’s at tem pts to p lay off one s t a f f member a g a in s t another.

Orig inal ly , many ch ildren win the affection of one p a ren t only a t the
c o s t o f a ffec t iona te c la im s on the other . A c h i ld ’s m eans of contro lling
th e family sicuarion by p i t t ing one p aren t a g a in s t the other i s often
deve loped on th i s b a s i s , but g ives him no more than a r e la t iv e secur i ty .
Children who have u se d th i s techn ique with p a r t i c u la r s u c c e s s are
e s p e c ia l ly handicapped in th e i r ab i l i ty to form unambivalent re la t io n sh ip s
l a t e r on. In any c a s e , a s the children r ec rea te oedipal s i tu a t io n s in the
school they a ls o form posi t ive , n eg a t iv e or ambivalent a t tachm en ts to
various s ta ff members. It is e s s e n t i a l tha t th e s e r e la t io n sh ip s between
children and indiv idual s ta f f members do not affec t the re la t io n sh ip s of
s t a f f members to ea c h other. Without coherence in th is a re a o f the
to ta l milieu such a t tachm en ts might de te r io ra te into neurotic re la t io n sh ip s
and des t ro y the b a s i s of iden t i f ica t ion and s u s ta in e d affec t iona te
a t tach m en ts . 3

A final i l lu s t ra t io n may be taken from a group therapy project,
in which su g g e s t io n s are sk e tch e d in for handling recurrent
in te rac t ion d if f icu l t ie s c a u se d by troublesom e p a t i e n t s :

Attempts are made to e s ta b l i s h a sp e c ia l re la t ionsh ip with the
doctor . P a t i e n t s often a t tem pt to c u l t iv a te the i l lu s io n of a s e c re t
unders tand ing with the d oc to r by, for exam ple , try ing to ca tch h i s eye

■Beatt ie , op. c i l . , pp. 25-26.
2 Maxwell Jo n e s , op. ciU, p. 38.
3 Bruno Betrelheim and Emmy S y lves te r , ‘ Milieu T h e ra p y , ’ P sych o a n a ly t ic

R ev iew , XXXVI, 65.
128

if one p a t ie n t brings up som ething tha t sounds ‘ c r a z y . ‘ If they suc ceed
in get t ing a response from the doctor which they can in terpre t as
ind ica t ing a specia l bond, i t can be very disrupting to the group. Since
th is type of dangerous by-play i s c h a ra c te r i s t ic a l ly non-verbal, the
doctor must e s p e c ia l ly control h is own non-verbal ac t iv i ty . 1

P erh ap s these c i ta t io n s te ll us more about the parriy hidden
social sen tim ent? of the writers than about th e general
p ro c e s se s that can occur when som eone s te p s out o f l ine, but
recen tly , in the work of Stanton and Schwartz, we have been
given a fairly de ta i led report o f the circuit of c o n seq u e n ces
which a r i s e s when the line between two team s i s c ro sse d . 2

It w as su g g e s te d tha t a t tim es o f c r i s i s l ines may
momentarily break and members of opposing teams may moment
arily forget the ir appropriate p la c e s with respec t to one another.
It was a lso sugges ted that cer ta in purposes can sometim es be
served, apparently , when barriers between teams are lowered,
and . that to ach ieve th e se p u rp o ses superord ina te team s may
temporarily join with the lower ranks. It must be added, a s a
kind of limiting c a s e , tha t in te rac t ing team s sometimes seem
to be prepared to s tep out o f the dramatic framework for their
ac t ions and give them se lves up for ex tended periods of time
to a promiscuous orgy of c l in ic a l , re lig ious, or e th ica l an a ly s is .
We can find a lurid version of th is p ro ce ss in evangel ica l
soc ia l movements which employ the open confess ion . A sinner,
sometim es admittedly not of very high s ta tu s , s tands up and
t e l l s to those who are p resen t th ings he would ordinarily attempt
to conceal or ra t ionalize aw ay ; he s a c r i f ic e s h is s e c r e t s and
h is se lf-p ro tec tive d is ta n c e from others , and th is sac r if ice
tends to induce a bac k s ta g e so lidarity among all present.
Group therapy affords a s im ilar mechanism for the building up
of team sp ir i t and bac k s ta g e so lidar i ty . A psych ic s inne t

1 F lorence B. Powdermaker and o thers , ‘P re l im in a ry Report for the National
R esearch C o u n c i l : Group Thetapy Research P r o j e c t , ’ p. 26. (T h is r e sea rch
h a s s inc e been reported by Powdermaker and’ Jerome D. Frank, Group
P sychotherapy (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Universi ty P re s s , 1953).)

Defrayal of one ‘s team by catching the eye of a member of the other
team i s , o f course , a common occurence . It may fee no ted th a t in everyday
l i fe refusa l to enter in to momentary co l lu s iv e communication of th is kind
when one has been invired to do so i s i t s e l f a minor affront ro the inviter.
One may find oneseLf in a dilemma a s to whether to betray the object of
the requested c o l lu s ion or to affront the person req u es t in g the co l lus ion .
An example i s provided by Ivy Compton-Burnett, A Fam ily and a Fortune
(London: Eyre & Sp oeti swoode, 1948), p . 13*

” B u t 1 w a s not snor ing ,” sa id B lanche, in the e a s ie r tone of lo s ing
g rasp of a s i tua t ion . * 1 should have known i t myse lf . It would not be
p o s s ib le to be awake and m a k e a n o ise and not h e a r i t . 71

’ J u s t in e gave an a rch look a t anyone who would rece ive it . Edgar
did so a s a duty and rapidly withdrew h i s e y e s a s another . 1

2 Alfred H. S tanton and Morris S. Schwartz, ‘T h e Management of a Type of
Ins t i tu t ional P a r t ic ipa tion in Mental I l l n e s s , 1 P sy c h ia tr y , XII, 13-26.
in th is paper the writers d esc r ib e nurse -sponso rsh ip of par t icu la r p a t ien ts
in terms of i t s e f fec ts upon other p a t ie n ts , the staff , and the t ransg resso rs .

1 2 9

s tands up and ta lk s about h im self and in v i te s o the rs to talk
about him in a way tha t would be im poss ib le in ordinary in te r
ac tion . Ingroup so lidar i ty tends to result, and th is ‘ s o c i a l
suppo r t , ’ a s i t i s ca l led , presumably h a s the rapeu t ic value.
(By everyday s tandards , the only thing a pa t ien t lo s e s in th is
way i s h is se lf – resp ec t . ) P e rh ap s an echo of th is i s a l so to
be found in the nurse-doctor m eetings previously mentioned.

It may be tha t th e s e sh if ts from a p a r tn e ss to intimacy
occur at t im es of chronic s tra in . Or perhaps we can view them
a s part o f an anti-dramaturgical so c ia l movement, a cu lt of
co n fe ss io n . P e rh a p s such lowering of barriers rep resen ts
a natura l p h ase in the soc ia l change which transforms one
team into ano ther : presumably opposing team s trade s e c r e t s
so that they can s ta r t at the beginning to c o l lec t a new se t
o f sk e le to n s for a newly shared c lo se t . In any c a s e , we find
tha t o cc as io n s a r ise when opposing team s, be they industria l ,
marital, na t ional , e tc . , seem ready not only to te ll the ir s e c r e ts
to the sam e s p e c ia l i s t but a lso to perform th is d isc lo su re in
th e enem y’s p resence . 1

In conc lus ion I would l ike to su g g e s t that one of the most
fruitful p la c e s to study realigning ac tions , e s p e c ia l ly temporary
be t raya ls , may not be in h ie ra rch ica lly o rganized e s tab l ish m e n ts
but during informal convivial in te rac t ion among re la t ive equals .
In fact, the sa n c t ioned occurrence of th e se ag g re s s io n s seem s
to be one of the defining c h a ra c te r i s t i c s o f our convivial l ife .
It is often expec ted on such o c c a s io n s that two persons will
engage ea ch other in a sparr ing conversation for the benefit
o f l i s te n e r s and that each will attempt, in an unse r ious way,
to d isc red i t the posit ion taken by the other. F lir t ing may
occur in which m ales will try to destroy the fem ales’ pose
of virginal unapproachability , while fem ales may attempt to
force from m ales a commitment of concern without a t the same
time weakening the ir own defensive posit ion . (Where those
who flirt are at the same time members of d ifferent connubial
team s, re la t iv e ly unse r ious be t raya ls and se l l -o u ts may also
occur.) In conversa tiona l c i rc le s of five or s ix , b as ic a l ign
ments a s between one conjugal pair and another, or between
h o s ts and g u e s ts , or between men and women, may be light-
hearted ly s e t a s id e , and the p a r t ic ip a n ts will s tand ready to
shift and resh if t team a l ignm ents with l i t t l e provocation,
jokingly joining their p rev ious aud ience ag a in s t their previous

‘A n example may be se en in the claimed role of the T av is to ck group as
th e r a p i s t s for ’ working through ‘ the antagonism of labour and management
in industr ial e s ta b l is h m e n ts . See the consu l ta t ion records reported in
E l io t Jaques , The Changing Culture o f a Factory (London: T av is tock Ltd.,
1951).

130

team -m ates by means o f open betrayal o f them or by mock
co l lu s iv e communication ag a in s t them. It may a l so be defined
a s fi t t ing if someone p resen t of high s t a tu s be made drunk and
made to drop h is front and become intimately app roachab le by
h i s somewhaC-lessers. T h e sam e ag g re ss iv e tone i s often
ach ieved in a l e s s s o p h is t ic a te d way by play ing gam es or
jokes in which the person who i s the butt will be led
unserious ly , into tak ing a posit ion tha t i s ludicrously untenable.’

QJOOOUJXUÜ

In th is ch a p te r I h ave considered four ty p e s of communi
ca tion out of ch a rac te r : treatment of the a b s e n t ; s tag in g ta lk ;
team c o l lu s io n ; and rea ligning ac tions . E ac h o f th e s e four
ty p e s o f conduct d i r e c ts a t ten t ion to th e sam e p o in t : th e
performance given by a team i s not a spon taneous , immediate
response to th e s itua tion , absorbing all of the team’s ene rg ies
and co n s t i tu t in g their so le soc ia l r e a l i ty ; the performance i s
something the team members can s tand back from, back far
enough to imagine or p lay out s im ultaneously o the r k inds of
perform ances a t te s t in g to o ther rea l i t ie s . Whether th e performers
feel the ir official offering i s the ‘ r e a l i s t ’ rea l i ty or not,
they will give surrep ti t ious expression to multiple v e rs ions
of rea lity , ea ch tending to be incompatible with the o thers.

131

C H A P T E R VI

THE ARTS OF IMPRESSION MANAGEMENT

In th is ch a p te r I would l ik e to bring to g e th er what h a s
been s a id or implied about the a t t r ib u te s tha t a re required of
a performer for the work of s u c c e s s fu l ly s ta g in g a cha rac ter ,
by referring briefly to some of the te chn iques of im pression
management in which th e se a t t r ib u te s are exp ressed . As an
in troduction to th is at tem pt, it may be well to su g g e s t , in
some c a s e s for the second time, some of the principal types
of perform ance d isrup tions , for i t i s th e s e d is ru p t io n s which
the te c h n iq u e s of im press ion management function to avoid.

In the beginning of th is report, in cons ider ing the general
c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of perform ances, it was su g g e s ted tha t the
performer must act with e x p re s s iv e re spons ib i l i ty , s in c e many
minor, inadver ten t a c t s happen to be well des igned to convey
im p re ss io n s inappropria te at the time. T h e s e e v e n ts were
ca lled ‘u n m e a n t g e s tu re s . ’ P onsonby g ives an i l lu s tra t ion
of how a d irec to r’s attempt to avoid an unmeant ges ture led
to the occu rrence of another.

O n e of the A ttachés from the L ega t ion was to c a n y th e cush ion on
which the ins ign ia were p la c e d , and in otder to p reven t the ir fal l ing off
I s tuck the pin a t the back of the Star through the velvet cush ion . T he
Attaché’, howevet, was not con ten t with th is , but sc cu re d the end of
th e pin by the ca tch to make doubly sure . The re su l t was th a t when
P r in c e Alexander, having made a su i ta b le spcech , tried to ge t hold of
th e Star, he found it firmly fixed to the cush ion and spent some rime
in g e t t ing it loose . T h is rather .spoilt the most im press ive moment of
the ccrcmony. 1

It should be added that the individual he ld respons ib le for
contributing an unmeant ges tu re may chiefly d isc red i t h is
own performance by th is , a team -m ate’s performance, or the
performance being s ta g ed by h is audience.

When an ou ts ide r ac c id en ta l ly en ters a region in which a
performance is being given, or when a member of the aud ience
inadver ten t ly en te r s the b ack s tag e , the in truder is likely to
ca tch those p rese n t flagrante delicto. Through no o n e ’s
in tention , the pe rso n s p resen t in the region may find that
they have paten tly been w itnessed in ac t iv i ty that i s quite
incom patib le with the im pression tha t they are, for wider soc ia l
rea sons , in a posit ion to maintain to the intruder. We deal
here with what are som etim es ca l le d ‘ inopportune in t ru s io n s . ’
‘P o n s o n b y , op. ef t . , p. 351.

132

The p a s t rife and cu rren t round of a c t iv i ty o f a given
performer typ ica l ly con ta in at l e a s t a few fa c ts which, if
in troduced during the performance, would d isc re d i t or a t l e a s t
weaken the c la im s about s e l f th a t the performer w as at tem pting
io pro jec t a s part o f the defin ition of the s i tu a t io n . T h e s e
f a c ts may involve w ell-kep t dark s e c r e t s or nega t ive ly -va lued
c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s tha t everyone can s e e but no one refers to.
When such f a c ts a re in troduced , em barrassm ent is the usual
resu l t . T h e s e f a c ts can, of course , be brought to o n e ’s a t ten t ion
by unmeant g e s tu re s or inopporcune in tru s io n s . However, they
are more f requently in troduced by in ten tiona l verbal s ta te m e n ts
c r non-verbal a c t s whose full s ig n i f ic an c e i s not a p p re c ia te d
by :he ind iv idua l who co n t r ib u te s them co the in te rac t io n .
Fo llow ing common usage , such d is ru p t io n s of p ro jec t ions may
be ca l le d ‘ f a u x p a s . ’ Where a performer un thinkingly makes
ari incentional contribu tion which d e s t ro y s h is own team ’s
inv-‘.£e we may speak of ‘ g a f f e s ’ or : b o n e rs . ’ Where a performer
jecps-fd izes the im age of s e l f p ro jec ted by the other team, we
may sp e ak o f ‘ b r i c k s ’ or of the performer hav ing ‘ p u t his
foot in i t . ‘ :

Unmeant g e s tu re s , inopporcune in tru s ions , and faux Das
are s o u rc e s of em barra ssm en t and d is s o n a n c e w hich are
typ ica l ly un in tended by the- person who is r e sp o n s ib le for
making them and which woa.lo be avo ided were the individual
tc ‘( the ir team . T h is
sort of th ing i s em b ar ra ss in g e’nough, but when the unguarded
r eq u e s t i s re fused to the in d iv id u a l’s face , he su f fe rs what we
can c a l l hum iliat ion .

We have co n s id e red som e major forms of perform ance
d is rup t ion—unmeant g e s tu re s , inopportune in tru s io n s , faux
p a s , and s c e n e s . T h e s e d is ru p t io n s , in everyday te rm s, a re

134

often ca l le d ‘ i n c i d e n t s . ’ When an in c id en t o cc u rs , the rea l i ty
sponsored by the perform ers i s th rea tened . The p e r so n s p resen t
a re l ike ly to rea c t by becom ing f lu s te re d , ill a t e a s e , em
b a r ra sse d , nervous , a n d th e l ike . Q u ite l i t e r a l ly , the
p a r t ic ip a n ts may find th e m s e lv e s ou t o f co un tenance . When
th e se f lu s te r in g s or sym ptom s of em barrassm ent become per
ce ived , the rea l i ty th a t i s supported by the perform ance i s
l ike ly to be further je o pard ized and w eakened , for th e s e s ig n s
of n e rv o u sn e s s in m ost c a s e s are an a s p e c t o f the ind iv idual
who p r e s e n t s a c h a ra c te r and not an a s p e c t o f the c h a ra c te r
he p ro je c ts , th u s fo rc ing upon the a u d ien c e an im age of the
man behind the mask.

In order to p reven t the occu rrence of in c id e n t s and the
em barrassm ent co n s e q u e n t upon them, i t w ill be n e c e s s a r y
for al l the p a r t i c ip a n t s in the in te rac t io n , a s well a s th o s e
who do not p a r t ic ip a te , to p o s s e s s ce r ta in a t t r ib u te s and to
e x p re s s th e s e a t t r ib u te s in p ra c t ic e s em ployed for sa v in g the
show. T h e s e a t t r ib u te s and p r a c t i c e s w ill be rev iew ed under
th ree h ea d in g s : th e d e fe n s iv e m e asu res used by performers
to s a v e th e i r own show ; th e p ro tec t iv e m easu res u se d by
aud ience and o u ts id e r s to a s s i s t the performers in s a v in g the
perform ers’ sh o w ; and, f ina l ly , the m e a su re s the performers
m u s t ta k e ill order to make i t p o s s ib le for the aud ience and
o u ts id e rs to employ p ro tec t iv e m e asu res on th e perform ers’
behalf.

Defensive Attributes and Practices

1. DRAMATURGICAL LO Y A LTY . It i s apparen t th a t i f
a team i s to s u s ta in the l ine it h a s taken , th e team -m ates
must ac t a s i f they have a c c e p te d ce r ta in moral o b l iga t ions .
T hey m ust not voluntarily betray the s e c r e t s o f the team ,
whether from s e l f – in te r e s t or p r inc ip le . They must not explo it
the ir p re se n c e in the front region in order to s ta g e the ir own
show, a s do, for exam ple , m arriageable s te n o g ra p h e rs who
som etim es encum ber the ir o ff ice surroundings with a lush
undergrowth of high fash ion . Nor m ust they u s e the ir perform
ance time a s an o c c a s io n to denounce th e ir team. T hey must
be w illing to ac c e p t minor p a r t s with good grace and perform
e n th u s ia s t ic a l ly whenever, wherever, and for whom soever the
team a s a whole c h o o s e s . And they m ust be taken in by the ir
own perform ance to the degree th a t i s n e c e s sa ry to prevent
them from sound ing ho llow and fa ls e to the au d ien c e .

P e rh a p s the key problem in m ain ta in ing loyalty of team
members (and apparen tly with members o f o th e r ty p e s of

135

c o l l e c t iv i t i e s , too) i s to p reven t th e perform ers from becoming
so sy m p a th e t ica l ly a t ta c h e d to the au d ien c e tha t th e perform ers
d i s c lo s e co them the c o n s e q u e n c e s for chem o f the im press ion
they are being g iven , o r in o ther w ays make the team a s a
whole pay for th i s a t tac h m e n t . In small com m unities in Brita in ,
for exam ple , th e m anagers o f s to r e s w ill often be loya l to the
e s ta b l i sh m e n t and will d e f in e the product being so ld to a
cu s to m e r in g low ing te rm s l inked by fa ls e a d v ice , but c l e r k s
can frequen tly be found who not only appear to ta k e the ro le
o f the cus tom er in g iv ing buy ing -adv ice but a c tu a l ly do so . 1
So, too, f i l l ing s ta t io n m anagers som e tim es d isapp rove of
t ipp ing b e c a u s e it may le ad a t te n d a n ts to give undue free
s e rv ic e to th e ch o s e n few w hile o ther cu s to m ers are le f t waiting.

O n e b a s ic te ch n iq u e the team can employ to defend i t s e l f
a g a in s t such d is lo y a l ty i s to develop high ingroup so l id a r i ty
w ith in the team , w h ile c re a t in g a b a c k s ta g e im age o f the
a u d ien c e which m a k e s the a u d ien c e su f f ic ien t ly inhuman to
a l low the perform ers to cozen them with em otional and moral
immunity. T o the d eg re e th a t team -m ates and the ir c o l le a g u e s
form a com ple te s o c ia l community which o f fe rs ea c h performer
a p la c e and a so u rce of moral support r e g a rd le s s o f whether
o r not he is s u c c e s s f u l in m a in ta in ing h is front before the
au d ien c e , to th a t deg ree it would seem th a t performers can
pro tec t th e m s e lv e s from doubt and guilt and p r a c t i s e any kind
of decep t ion . P e r h a p s we are to unders tand the h e a r t l e s s
a r t i s t ry of th e T h u g s by re fe ren c e to the r e l ig io u s b e l ie f s and
r itua l p ra c t ic e s in to which th e ir dep re d a t io n s were in te g ra te d ,
a n d p e rh a p s we are to un d ers ta n d the su c c e s s fu l c a l l o u s n e s s
o f con men by re fe re n c e to th e ir s o c ia l so l id a r i ty in w hat they
c a l l the ‘ i l l e g i t ’ world and th e i r well-formulated d e n ig ra t io n s
o f the le g i t im a te world. P e r h a p s chis notion a l lo w s u s to
u n d e rs ta n d in p a r t why groups tha t a re a l ie n a te d from or not
yet inco rpo ra ted into the community are s o a b le to go into
dirty-work t r a d e s and in to the kind of s e rv ic e o c c u p a t io n s
w hich invo lve rou tine che a t in g .

A second te ch n iq u e for co u n te rac t in g the danger o f a ffec t ive
t i e s between perform ers and a u d ie n c e i s to change a u d ie n c e s
p e r io d ica l ly . T h u s fi l l ing s ta t io n m anagers u sed to be sh if te d
p e r io d ic a l ly from one s t a t io n to ano ther to p reven t the formation
o f s trong persona l t i e s with p a r t icu la r c l ie n t s . It w as found
th a t when su c h t i e s were a l low ed to form, t h e m anager
l In the i s l a n d community referred to in th is r epo r t , I heard a clerk sa y to a

cus tom er a s the c lerk w as han d in g over a bo t t le of cherry pop to him, <( I do not s e e how you can drink th a t s tu f f .” No one p r e s e n t cons idered th is to be s u rp r i s in g f ra n k n e ss , and s im i la r com m ents cou ld be heard every day in the sh o p s on th e is land . 1 3 6 som etim es p la ce d the in te r e s t s of a friend who needed credit before th e in te r e s t s o f the s o c ia l e s tab l ish m e n t . 1 Bank m anagers and m in is te rs have been rou tine ly sh if ted for s im ila r rea so n s , a s have ce r ta in co lon ia l adm in is t ra to rs . Some female p ro fe s s io n a ls provide ano ther i l lu s tra t io n , a s the following r e fe ren c e to o rgan ized p ros t i tu t ion s u g g e s t s : T h e S yndica te h an d le s th a t th e s e d a y s . The g i r ls don’t s t a y in one p la c c long enough to rea lly p e t on spe ak in g te rm s with anybody- T h e re ^ no t so much c h a n c e of a girl fa l l ing in love with som e g u y —you know, and c a u s in g a squaw k. Anyway, the h u s t l e r who's in C h ica g o th is w eek i s in St. L o u is n e x t t or moving around to ha lf a d o zen p l a c e s in town before be ing se n t somewhere e l s e . And they never know where th ey 're going un t i l th e y ' r e to ld . 2 2. DRAMATURGICAL D ISC IPL IN E . It i s c ru c ia l for the m a in tenance of the team ’s perform ance th a t ea c h member of the team p o s s e s s dram aturgical discipline,, and e x e rc is e it in p re se n t in g h is own part. I refer to the fact that while the performer is o s te n s ib ly immersed and g iven over to the a c t iv i ty he i s performing, and i s appa ren t ly en g ro sse d in h i s a c t io n s in a sp o n ta n eo u s , u n c a lc u la t in g way, h e must none the l e s s be a ffec tive ly d i s s o c ia te d from h is p re se n ta t io n in a way tha t l e a v e s him free to cope with dram aturgical c o n t in g en c ie s a s they a r is e . He m ust offer a show of in te l le c tu a l and emotional involvem ent in the a c t iv i ty he i s p ie sen t in g , but must keep h im self from ac tua l ly being carried away by h is own show le s t th is d es troy h is involvem ent in the t a s k of pu tting on a s u c c e s s fu l perform ance. A performer who i s d i s c ip l in e d , d ram aturg ica lly speak ing , i s som eone who remembers h i s part an d -does not commit unmeant g e s tu re s or faux p a s in performing it. He i s som eone with d i s c re t io n : he does not g ive the show away by involuntarily d isc lo s in g i t s s e c r e ts . He i s som eone with ' p r e s e n c e of m in d ’ who c a n cover up on the sp u r o f th e moment for inappropr ia te behaviour on the part of h i s team -m ates , while all the time m ain ta in ing the im press ion th a t he i s merely p lay ing h is part. And if a d isrup tion of the performance canno t be avoided or co n c ea le d , the d isc ip l in e d performer will be prepared to offer a p la u s ib le rea so n for d isco u n tin g th e d is rup t ive even t, a joking manner to remove i t s im portance, or deep apology and se lf -a b ase m en t to r e in s ta te th o se held re sp o n s ib le for it. T he d is c ip l in e d performer i s algo someone with ' s e l f - c o n t r o l . ' ' O f c o u r se th is be traya l i s sy s te m a t ic a l ly faked in some commercial e s ta b l i s h m e n t s where th e customer i s given a ' s p e c ia l * cu t p r ice by a c le rk who c la im s to be doing th is in order to s e c u re the buyer a s a s teady p e r so n a l customer. 2 C h a r le s Hamilton, Men o f the Underworld (New York: Macmillan, 1952), p. 222 . 137 He can su p p re s s h is em otional re s p o n s e to h is p r ivate problems, to h i s team -m ates when th e y make m is tak e s , and to the au d ien c e when they induce untoward a f fec t io n or h o s t i l i ty in him. And he ca n s top h im self from laugh ing about m atte rs which are de f ined a s s e r io u s and s to p h im se lf from tak ing se r ious ly m a t te rs defined a s humorous. In o ther words, h e ca n s u p p re s s h is sp o n ta n e o u s f e e l in g s in order to g iv e the ap p e a ran c e of s t i c k in g to th e a f fec t iv e l ine , th e e x p re s s iv e status quo, e s t a b l i s h e d by h is team ’s perform ance, for a d isp lay of pro s c r ib e d a f fec t may not only lead to improper d i s c lo s u r e s and o ffence to the working c o n s e n s u s but may a lso im plic i t ly e x ten d to the au d ien c e the s t a tu s of team member. And the d i s c ip l in e d performer i s som eone with su f f ic ie n t p o ise to move from p r iva te p l a c e s of inform ali ty to public o n es of varying d e g re e s of formality, w ithout a l low ing su c h c h a n g e s to confuse him. 1 P e r h a p s the fo cu s of d ram atu rg ica l d is c ip l in e i s to be found in the m anagem ent of one’s face and voice. Here is the c ru c ia l t e s t of one’s ab i l i ty a s a performer. A ctual a ffec t ive r e s p o n s e m ust be c o n c e a le d and an approp r ia te a f fec t iv e r e s p o n s e must be d isp lay e d . T e a s in g , i t often se em s, i s an informal in i t ia t io n dev ice employed by a team to train and t e s t the c a p a c i ty of i t s new members to ' t a k e a jo k e , ’ that i s , tn s u s t a in a friendly manner w hile p e rh ap s not fee ling it. When an ind iv idual p a s s e s such a t e s t o f ex p ress ion -con tro l , w hether he r e c e iv e s it from h is new team -m ates in a sp ir i t of j e s t or from an unexpected n e c e s s i t y of p lay ing in a se r io u s perform ance, he can th e re a f te r venture forth a s a p layer who can tru s t h im self and be t ru s te d by o thers . A very n ic e i l lu s t r a t io n of th is i s g iven in a forthcoming paper by Howard S. B e c k e r on m arijuana smoking. B ecke r repo r ts th a t the i r reg u la r u se r of the drug h a s a g rea t fea r of finding himself, while under the in f luence of the drug, in the imm ediate p re se n ce o f p a re n ts or work a s s o c i a t e s who will ex p e c t an in tim ate undrugged perform ance from him. Apparently the irregular u s e r d o e s not become a confirmed regu la r user until he l e a m s he c a n be ' high ’ and yet ca rry off a performance before non- sm okers without betray ing h im se lf . The sam e i s s u e a r i s e s , pe rhaps in a l e s s d ram atic form, in ordinary family l ife , when a d e c is io n has to be r e a c h e d a s to th e point in the ir tra in ing a t which young members of the team can be taken to public and sem i-public ce rem on ies , for only when the ch i ld i s ready to keep control of h is temper will he be a trustworthy par t ic ipan t on such o c c a s io n s . 1 For an example s e c P a g e , op. c i l . , pp. 91-92. 138 3. DRAMATURGICAL CIRCUM SPECTION- L oya l ty and d isc ip l in e , in the dram aturg ica l s e n s e of th e s e te rm s, a r e a t t r ib u te s requ ired of team -m ates if the show they put on is to be s u s ta in e d . In addit ion , i t will be u se fu l i f the members of the team e x e rc is e fo res igh t and d es ig n in determ ining in advance how bes t to s ta g e a show. P ru d e n c e m ust be ex e rc is e d . When the re i s l i t t l e c h a n c e of being se e n , opp o r tu n i t ie s for re laxa t ion can be t a k e n ; when the re i s l i t t l e ch ance o f being put to a te s t , the co ld fac ts can be p re se n te d in a glowing ligh t and the performers can p lay the ir part for a l l it is worth, in v e s t in g ic with full d ignity . If no ca re and h o n e s ty are ex e rc ise d , then d is ru p t io n s are l ike ly to o c c u r ; i f rigid ca re and hones ty are e x e rc is e d , then the performers are not l ike ly to be understood ' only too well ’ but they may be m isunderstood , in su ff ic ien t ly understood, or g rea tly lim ited in what they can build out of the dram aturgical oppor tun i t ie s open to them. In o ther words, in the in te r e s t s o f the team , performers will be required to e x e r c i s e prudence and c i rcum spec t ion in s ta g in g the show, preparing m ad vance for l ike ly c o n t in g e n c ie s and exp lo it ing the oppor tun it ie s tha t remain. The e x e r c is e or ex p re ss io n of dram aturgical c ircum spec tion ta k e s well-known forms; som e of th e se tech n iq u e s for managing im p re ss io n s will be co ns idered her t . O bviously , one such techn ique i s for the team to choose members who are loya l and d isc ip l in ed , and a second one i s lor the team to acqu ire a c l e a r idea a s to how much loya lty and d is c ip l in e i t can rely on from th e membership a s a whole, for the deg ree to which th e s e a t t r ib u te s are p o s s e s s e d will markedly affec t th e l ike lihood of carry ing off a performance and hence the s a fe ty of in v e s t in g th e perform ance with s e r io u s n e s s , weight, and dignity . We will a l so find th a t the c i rcum spect performer will a t tem pt to s e l e c t the kind of aud ience tha t will g ive a minimum of trouble in te rm s o f the show the performer w an ts to put on and th e show he d o es not w ant to h ave to put on. T h u s it i s reported th a t te a c h e r s often favour n e i th e r lo w e r -c la s s pup ils nor u p p e r -c la ss ones , b e c a u s e both groups may make it d ifficult to m ainta in in th e c lass room the kind of def in i t ion of the s i tu a t io n which affirms the p ro fe ss io n a l te a c h e r role. 1 T e a c h e rs w ill t r an s fe r to m id d le -c la s s s c h o o ls for t h e s e dram aturgical r e a so n s . So, too, it i s reported th a t some n u r se s l ike to work in an opera ting room ra ther than on a ward b e c a u s e in the op era t in g room m easu res are taken to ensure th a t the aud ience , who numbers only one, is soon ob liv ious to the 1 Becker, 'S o c i a l C l a s s V ar ia t io n s . . op. c i t . , pp . 461-462. 139 w e a k n e s s e s of the show, perm itting the op era t in g team to re la x and devo te i t s e l f to the te ch n o lo g ica l requ irem en ts of a c t io n s a s opposed to the d ram aturg ica l o n e s . 1 O nce the au d ie n c e i s a s l e e p it i s even p o s s ib le to bring in a 'g h o s t s u r g e o n ’ to perform the ta s k s tha t o the rs who were the re will la te r c la im to h av e done. 2 Similarly, g iven th e fac t tha t husband and wife are required to e x p r e s s marital so lida r i ty by both show ing the sam e regard for th o se whom they en te r ta in , i t i s n e c e s s a r y to ex c lu d e from their g u e s t s th o se p e r s o n s about whom husband and wife feel d if fe ren tly . 3 So a l so , if a man of in f luence and pow er i s to make su re th a t he can ta k e a friendly ro le in o ff ice in te ra c t io n s , then it will be useful for him to have a p r ivate e lev a to r and p ro tec t ive c i r c le s of r e c e p t io n i s t s and s e c r e t a r i e s so th a t no one can get in to se e him whom he might have to t rea t in a h e a r t l e s s o r snobb ish fash ion . It will be ap p a ren t th a t an au tom atic way of en su r in g tha t no member of the team or no member of the au d ie n c e a c t s improperly i s to l im it the s i z e of both te am s a s much a s p o s s ib le . O ther th ings being equa l, the few er the members, the l e s s p o s s ib i l i ty of m is ta k e s , ’ d i f f i c u l t i e s , ’ and t re a c h e r ie s . T h u s s a le s m e n l ik e to s e l l to unaccom panied cus to m e rs , s in c e i t i s gen e ra l ly thought tha t two p e rso n s in the au d ie n c e are much more d if f icu l t to 1 se l l ’ than one. So, too, in some s c h o o ls the re i s an informal ru le tha t no te a c h e r is to en te r the room o f ano ther te a c h e r w h ile th e o ther i s ho ld ing a c l a s s ; ap p a ren t ly the a s su m p tio n is th a t it will be l ike ly the new perform er will do som e th ing th a t the w ait ing e y e s of the s tu d e n t au d ie n c e will s e e a s in c o n s i s t e n t with the im p re ss io n fo s te red by th e i r own te a c h e r . 4 H ow ever, the re are at l e a s t two re a so n s why th i s dev ice o f l im iting th e number of p e r so n s p re se n t h a s l im i ta t io n s i t s e l f . F i r s t , som e perfo rm ances canno t be p resen ted w ithout the te c h n ic a l a s s i s t a n c e of a s i z e a b le number of team m ates . T h u s , a l though a general s ta f f a p p r e c ia te s tha t the more o f f ice rs th e re are who know the p la n s for th e nex t p h a s e of ac t io n , the more like lihood th a t someone will ac t in such a 'U n p u b l i s h e d re se a rc h report by E d ith L e n tz . It may be noted th a t the p o l ic y so m e tim es followed of p ip ing m usic by ea rphones to the p a t ie n t who is undergo ing an opera t ion w i thou t a genera l a n e s th e t i c i s a m eans of e f fe c t iv e ly removing him a s an a u d ie n c e for the sp o k e n word. 2 Solomon, op. c i t . , p. 108. 3 T h i s p o in t h a s b een dev e lo p ed in a s h o r t s to ry by Mary McCarthy, 'A F r ie n d of the F a m i ly , ’ repr in ted in Mary McCarthy, C ast A Cold E y e (New Y o tk : H arcourt B race , 1950). 4 B e cke r , 'T h e T e a c h e t in the Authority System of the P u b l ic S ch o o l , ’ op. c i t . , p . 139. 140 way a s to d i s c lo s e s t ra te g ic s e c r e t s , the s t a f f will s t i l l have to le t enough men in on the s e c r e t to plan and arrange the event. Secondly , it a p p e a rs tha t in d iv id u a ls , a s p ie c e s of ex p re s s iv e equipment, are more e f fec t iv e in a ce r ta in s e n s e than non-human p a r t s of the se t t in g . If, then, an individual i s to be g iven a p la c e of g rea t dram atic p rom inence, it may be n e c e s s a r y to employ a s iz e a b le court-fo llow ing to a c h ie v e an e f fec t iv e im press ion of adu la t ion around him. 1 have su g g e s te d that by keep ing c lo se to the f a c ts it may be p o s s ib le for a performer to sa feguard h is show but th is may prevent him from s tag ing a very e labora te one. If an e labora te show is to be sa fe ly s ta g e d i t may be more useful to remove o n e s e l f from the f a c ts ra th e r than s t i c k to them. It i s f e a s ib le for an o ffic ia l of a relig ion to conduc t a solemn, aw esom e p rese n ta t io n , b ec au se there is no recogn ized way by which th e s e c la im s can be d isc re d i te d . Similarly , the p ro fe ss iona l ta k es the s ta n d th a t the s e rv ic e he perform s i s not to be judged by the r e su l t s i t a c h ie v e s but by the degree to which av a i la b le occupa t iona l s k i l l s have been p rofic ien tly a p p l ie d ; and, of co u rse , the p ro fe ss io n a l c la im s th a t only the co l league group can make a judgment o f th is kind. It is there* fore p o s s ib le for the p ro fe ss io n a l to commit h im self fully to h is p re se n ta t io n , with a l l h is weight and dignity , knowing that only a very foo lish m is ta k e will be c a p a b le of des troy ing the im press ion c re a te d . T hus we can unders tand the effort of tradesm en to ob ta in a p ro fe ss iona l m andate a s an effort to gain control over the rea l i ty they p resen t to the ir c u s to m e rs ; and in turn we can s e e th a t such control m akes it u n n ec es sa ry to be prudently humble in the a i r s one a s s u m e s in performing o ne’s trade . T here would appear to be a re la t ion between the amount of m odesty em ployed and the temporal leng th of a performance. If the a u d ien c e i s to se e only a brief perform ance, then the like lihood of an em barra ss ing occurrence will be re la t iv e ly small, and it will be re la t ive ly sa fe for the performer, e s p e c ia l ly in anonymous c i rc u m s ta n ce s , to m ainta in a front tha t i s rather f a l s e . 1 In American so c ie ty the re i s what i s c a l l e d a ‘ te lephone v o ic e , ' a c u l t iv a ted form of s p e e c h not em ployed in face - to -face ta lk b ecau se of the d ange r of do ing so. In Brita in , in the k in d s of con tac t between s t r a n g e r s tha t are 1 In brief anonymous s e rv ic e r e la t io n s , s e rv e r s become sk i l l e d a t d e te c t in g what they s e e a s a f fe c ta t io n , and s in c e th e i r own posi t io n i s made c le a r by the ir se rv ic e role they cannot return a f fe c ta t io n with a f fec ta t ion . At the sam e time, cus tom ers who are what they c la im to be often s e n s e tha t the se rv e r may not a p p rec ia te th is , and s o the cus tom e r may fee l asham ed b e c a u s e he fee ls a s he would feel w ere he a s fa lse a s he appea rs to be. 141 guaran teed to be very brief—the k in d s involv ing 'p le a se ,* ‘ thank y o u ,’ ' e x c u s e m e ,’ .an d 'm a y I sp eak t o ’—o n e hea rs many more P u b l ic School a c c e n t s than the re are P u b l ic School p eop le . So a l so , in A n g lo -A m er ica n so c ie ty , the majority of d o m es t ic e s ta b l i s h m e n ts do no t p o s s e s s su f f ic ie n t s ta g in g equipm ent to m ain ta in a show of po l i te h o sp i ta l i ty for g u e s t s who s ta y more than a few h o u rs ; only in th e upper-middle a n d upper c l a s s e s do we find th e in s t i tu t io n of th e week-end g u e s t , for i t i s on ly here th a t performers feel they h ave enough s ig n equipment to bring off a leng thy show. 1 T h e performer who i s to be d ram atu rg ica lly prudent will h av e to adap t h i s perform ance to the information c o n d i t io n s under which it must be s ta g e d . O bv iously , he will have to t a k e in to co n s id e ra t io n the inform ation the au d ien c e a l re a d y p o s s e s s e s abou t him. T h e more information the au d ien c e h a s abou t the performer, the l e s s l ik e ly it i s th a t any th ing they l e a m during th e in te rac t io n will r ad ic a l ly in f luence them. On th e o the r hand, where no prior information i s p o s s e s s e d , it may be ex p e c ted tha t the inform ation g le an e d during th e in te r- ac t io n will be of r e la t iv e ly g rea t im portance . H ence, on the w hole, we may expec t in d iv id u a ls to r e la x the s t r i c t main t e n a n c e of front when they are with th o se they have known for a long time, and we may ex p e c t performers to t igh ten the ir front when among p e r s o n s who are new to them. With th o se whom one d o e s not know, carefu l perform ances are required . A nother cond i t ion a s s o c ia te d with com m unication may be c i te d . T h e c i rc u m sp e c t performer will have to co n s id e r t h t a u d ie n c e ’s a c c e s s to information so u rc e s ex terna l to the in te r a c t io n . F o r exam ple , members of the Thug tr ibe of India are s a id to have given th e fo llow ing perfo rm ances during the early n in e tee n th c e n tu ry : A s a gen e ra l rule chcy p te ten d ed to be m erch an ts o r so ld ie r s , t r a v e l l in g without w ea p o n s in order co d isa rm s u s p ic io n , which gave them an e x c e l l e n t e x c u s e for s e e k in g pe rm iss io n co accom pany t rav e l le rs , for chere w as n o th in g to e x c i t e alarm in th e t r ap p e a ra n c e . Mosc T hugs w ere mild looking and pecu l ia r ly c o u r te o u s , for t h i s cam ouflage formed p a r t o f cheir s to c k - in - t ta d e , and well-armed t r a v e l le rs fe l t no fear in a l lo w in g th e s e k n ig h t s of che road co join them. T h i s f irs t s t e p s u c c e s s f u l ly a c c o m p l i s h e d , che Thugs g radua l ly won the con f id en ce of cheir in ten d ed v tccims by a demeanour of humilicy and g ra t i tude , and feigned incercs t in th e i r a f fa i r s until fam iliar wich d e t a i l s of their hom es , whether they were l ik e ly to be m is s e d i f murdered, an d if they knew anyone in the v ic in i ty . Som etim es th ey t r av e l led long d i s t a n c e s to g e th e r before a s u i t a b le opportunicy foe treachery o c c u r r e d ; a c a s e is on record where a gang journeyed with a family o f e le v e n p e r so n s for 1 On the i s l a n d s tu d ie d by th e wricer, some crofcers felc they c o u ld suscain a m id d le -c la s s show for the d u ra t ion o f a tea , in some c a s e s a m eal , and in* one or two c a s e s e v e n a w eek-end ; but many i s l a n d e rs fe lt it only s a f e to perform for m id d le -c la s s a u d ie n c e s on che front porch or, betcer s t i l l , in che community h a l l , where (he ef fo r ts and r e s p o n s ib i l i t i e s of the show could be sh a re d by many team -m ates . 142 twenty d a y s , c o v e r in g 200 m iles , before they su c c e e d e d in murderins the w hole parry without de tec t io n . 1 0 Thugs could g iv e th e s e perform ances in spice of the fa c t tha t the ir a u d ien c es were c o n s tan t ly on the watch for such per- formers (and quickly put to dea th those iden tif ied a s Thugs) partly b e c a u s e of the inform ational cond it ions of t r a v e l ; once a party s e t out for a d is t a n t d es t ina t ion , the re w as no way for them to check the id e n t i t i e s claim ed by th o se whom they en countered , and i f any th ing befell the party on the way i t would be months before they would be con s id e red overdue , by which time the T h u g s who had performed for and then upon them would be out of reach. But in the ir n a t ive v i l la g e s , the members of th e tribe, being known, fixed, and a c c o u n tab le for the ir s in s , behaved in an exemplary fashion. Similarly , c i rc u m sp e c t Am ericans who would ordinarily never c h a n ce a m is re p re sen t ation of the ir so c ia l s t a tu s may take such a c h a n c e while s tay ing for a short time a t a summer reso r t . If s o u r c e s of information ex terna l to the in te rac t ion c o n s t i tu te one contingency the c i rcum spec t performer m ust ta k e into cons idera t ion , s o u r c e s of information internal to th e in te rac t io n c o n s t i tu te another . T h u s the c i rcum spec t performer will ad ju s t h i s p re se n ta t io n accord ing to th e c h a ra c te r of the props and t a s k s out of which he must build h i s performance. F o r example, c lo th ing m erchan ts in the United S ta te s a re required to be re la t ive ly c i rcum spect in making exaggera ted c la im s , b ec au se cu s to m ers can te s t by s igh t and touch whar i s shown for them, but furniture s a l e s men need not be so carefu l , b e c a u s e few members of the* au d ien c e can judge what l i e s behind the front of varnish and ven e er th a t i s p re se n te d to them. 2 Similarly, i f a housew ife i s concerned with showing that sh e m a in ta in s c l e a n l in e s s s ta n d a rd s , sh e i s l ike ly to focus her a t ten t ion upon the g l a s s s u r fa c e s in her liv ing room, for g l a s s show s dirt all too c le a r ly ; she will g ive l e s s a t ten t ion ro the darker and l e s s revea ling rug, which may well have been ch o sen in the bel ief tha t 'd a r k co lo u rs do not show the d i r t . ’ So, too, an a r t i s t need take l i t t l e ca re with the decor of h is s tu d io —in fact, the a r t i s t ’s s tud io h a s become s te re o ty p e d a s a p la ce where th o se who work b a c k s ta g e do not ca re who s e e s them or the cond it ions in which they are s e e n —partly b ec a u s e the full v a lu e of the a r t i s t ’s product can , or ought to be, immediately av a i la b le to the s e n s e s ; portra i t p a in te rs , on the o ther hand, must prom ise to make the s i t t in g s s a t i s f a c to r y and tend to u se re la t iv e ly l S leeman, op. c i l . , p. 25. 2 Conant, op. c i t . , m akes t h i s point. 143 p re p o s s e s s in g , r ich-look ing s tu d io s a s a kind of guaran tee for th e p ro m ise s they make. Similarly , we find th a t con f idence men m ust employ e la b o ra te and m e ticu lous persona l f ron ts and often en g in ee r m e t ic u lo u s s o c ia l s e t t in g s , not so much b e c a u s e they l ie for a l iv in g but b e c a u s e , in order to get away with a l i e of th a t d im ension, one must deal with p e r so n s who h av e been and a re going to be scrangers, and o n e h a s to te rm in a te the d e a l in g s a s qu ick ly a s p o ss ib le , L eg i t im a te b u s in e ssm e n who would promote .n ven tu re under th e s e c i rc u m s ta n c e s would h av e to b e ju s t a s m e t ic u lo u s in e x p re s s in g th e m se lv e s , for it i s under ju s t such c i rc u m s ta n c e s th a t po ten t ia l in v e s to r s s c ru t in iz e the c h a ra c te r o f th o se who would s e l l to them. In short, s in c e a con m erchant must sw ind le h i s c l i e n t s under th o s e c i rc u m s ta n c e s where c l i e n t s ap p re c ia te tha t a conf idence gam e could be employed, the con man must ca re fu lly fo re s ta l l the im m edia te im press ion tha t he might be what in fac t he i s , ju s t a s the le g i t im a te merchant, under the sa m e c i rc u m s ta n c e s , would h ave to foresta l l c a re fu l ly the im m edia te im press ion tha t he might be what he i s not. It i s appa ren t tha t ca re will be g rea t in s i tu a t io n s where im portant c o n s e q u e n c e s for the performer will occur a s a resu lt o f h is conduct. T h e job - in te rv iew i s a c lea r example . Often the in te rv iew er will have to make d e c i s io n s of far-reach ing imporrance for the in te rv iew ee on the so le b a s i s o f information ga ined from the in te rv ie w e e ’s in te rv iew -perform ance. T he in te rv iew ee i s l ik e ly to feel, and with som e ju s t ic e , tha t h is every ac tion will be taken a s highly sym bolica l , and he will therefore g ive much p repara tion and thought to h is perform ance. We ex p e c t a t such tim es th a t the in te rv iew ee will pay much a t ten t io n to h is appearance and manner, not merely to c re a te a favourab le im p re ss io n , but a l s o to be on the sa fe s id e and fo re s ta l l any unfavourab le im press ion th a t might be unw ittingly co n veyed . Another example may be s u g g e s te d : th o s e who work in the f ield of radio b ro ad c as t in g and, e s p e c ia l ly , t e l e v is ion keen ly ap p re c ia te th a t the momentary im press ion they g ive will have a la s t in g effec t on the view the au d ie n c e t a k e s o f them, and it i s in th is part of the communication industry th a t g rea t care i s taken to g ive the r ight im press ion and great anx ie ty i s fe l t th a t the im press ion g iven might not be right. T he s t reng th of th is concern i s se e n in the in d ig n i t ie s tha t h ig h -p laced perform ers are willing to su ffe r in order to come off well : C ongressm en a llow th e m se lv e s to be made up and to be to ld what to w ea r ; p ro fe ss io n a l boxers a b a s e th e m se lv e s by g iv ing a d isp lay , in the manner of w re s t le r s , in s te a d of a bout. 1 1 See John L ardner 's weekly column in N e w s w e e k , F ebruary 22, 1954, p. 59. *44 C ircum spec tion on th e part of perform ers will a lso be ex p re s se d in the way they hand le re laxa t ion o f ap p e a ra n c e s . When a team i s p h y s ic a l ly d is t a n t from i t s in sp e c to r ia l a u d ien c e an d a su rp r i se v is i t i s un like ly , then g rea t re laxa t ion becom es f e a s ib le . T h u s we read tha t small American Navy in s t a l l a t io n s on P a c i f i c i s l a n d s during th e l a s t war could be run qu ite informally, w hereas a read jus tm en t in the d irec tion o f spit and po l ish w as required when the ou tf i t moved to p l a t e s th a t m embers of the a u d ien c e were more l ik e ly to frequent. 1 When in s p e c to r s h av e ea sy a c c e s s to the p la c e where a team c a r r ie s on i t s work, then the amount o f re laxa tion p o ss ib le for the team will depend on th e e f f ic iency and re l iab i l i ty of i t s warning system . It i s to be no ted tha t thorough-going re laxa tion requ ires not only a warning sys tem but a l s o an a p p re c ia b le time la p s e be tw een warning and v is i t , for th e team will be ab le to re lax only to th e d eg re e th a t c a n be co rrec ted during such a t im e l a p s e . T hus , when a s c h o o l te a c h e r l e a v e s her c lass room for a moment, her c h a rg e s can re lax into s loven ly p o s tu r e s and w h ispered c o n v e rsa t io n s , for t h e s e t r a n s g r e s s io n s can be co rrec ted in the few s e c o n d s ' warning th e p u p i ls will have tha t the te a c h e r i s about to re -en ter, but it i s unlikely th a t it will be f e a s ib le for the p u p i ls to sneak a smoke, for the smell of smoke ca n n o t be got rid of quickly . In te res t ing ly enough, pup ils , l ike o ther performers, will ‘ t e s t the l im i t s , ’ g leefully moving far enough away from the ir s e a t s so th a t when the warning co m es they will h ave to dash madly back to the ir proper p la c e s so a s not to be caugh t o ff-base . I would l ik e to mention a final way in which, dramaturgical c i rcum spection i s e x e rc ise d . When te a m s com e into each o the r 's imm ediate p re se n ce , a hos t of minor e v e n ts may occu r tha t a re a c c id en ta l ly s u i ta b le for convey ing a general im press ion tha t i s in c o n s is te n t with the fo s te re d one. T h is e x p re s s iv e t r e a c h e ro u s n e s s i s a b a s ic c h a r a c t e r i s t i c o f face- to -face in te r ac tion . One way of d ea l in g with th i s problem is , ^as p rev iously sugges ted , to s e le c t team -m ates who are d isc ip l in ed and will not perform th e i r p a r ts in a c lum sy , gauche , or s e l f - c o n sc io u s fash ion . Another method i s to p repa re in ad v a n ce for all p o s s ib le e x p re s s iv e co n t in g e n c ie s . O ne app l ica t ion of th is s t ra teg y i s to s e t t l e on a com plete agenda before the event, d e s ig n a t in g who i s to do what and who i s to do what af te r tha t . In th i s way co n fu s io n s and lu l l s can be avoided and h ence the im p re ss io n s th a t su c h h i tc h e s in the p ro ce ed in g s might convey to the audience can be avoided too. Another ap p l ica t io n of th i s programming techn ique i s to a c c e p t the fact tha t p icayune e v e n ts such a s who is to en te r a room f irs t 1 Page, op. cit ., p. 92. 145 o r who i s to s i t n ex t to t h e h o s t e s s , e t c . , will be ta k e n a s e x p r e s s io n s o f regard an d to apportion th e s e favours c o n s c io u s ly on th e b a s i s of p r in c ip le s o f judgm ent to which no one p rese n t will t a k e offence , su c h a s age , g ro s s sen io r i ty in rank, sex , temporary cerem onia l s t a tu s , e tc . T h u s in an im portant s e n s e pro tocol i s not so much a dev ice for e x p re s s in g v a lu a t io n s during in te ra c t io n a s a d e v ic e for 'g round ing* po te n t ia l ly d is ru p t iv e e x p r e s s io n s in a way th a t will be a c c e p ta b le (and uneven tfu l) to a l l p re se n t . A third ap p l ica t io n i s to r e h e a r s e the whole routine s o th a t the perform ers can becom e p ra c t is e d in th e i r p a r t s and so th a t c o n t in g e n c ie s tha t were not p red ic ted will o c c u r under c i r c u m s ta n c e s in which they can be sa fe ly a t te n d e d to . A fourth i s to o u t l in e beforehand for the a u d ien c e the l in e o f re s p o n s e they a re to take to the perform ance. When th is k ind o f b rief ing o c c u r s , o f c o u r s e , it bec o m e s d if f icu lt to d is t in g u is h be tw een perform ers and aud ience . T h is type of c o l lu s io n i s e s p e c ia l l y found where th e performer i s o f highly s a c re d s t a t u s and ca n n o t t ru s t h im self to th e spon taneous t a c t o f the a u d ie n c e . F o r exam ple , in B r i ta in , women who are to be p re se n te d a t cour t (whom we may th ink o f a s an a u d ie n c e for th e royal performers) are ca refu lly sc h o o led before h an d a s to what to wear, w hat k in d o f l im o u s in e to a rr ive in, how to cu r tse y , and what to say . Protective Practices I h a v e s u g g e s te d th ree a t t r ib u te s tha t team members must h a v e if the ir team i s to perform in s a fe ty ; loya lty , d is c ip l in e , and c i rc u m sp e c t io n . E a c h of th e s e c a p a c i t i e s i s e x p r e s s e d in many s ta n d a rd d e fens ive t e c h n iq u e s through which a s e t of perfo rm ers c a n s a v e the ir own show. Some of th e se te c h n iq u e s o f im press ion m anagem ent were rev iew ed . O th e rs , such a s th e p ra c t ic e of con tro l l ing a c c e s s to back reg io n s and front reg ions , were su f f ic ie n t ly d i s c u s s e d in ea r l ie r c h a p te rs . In th i s s e c t io n I want to s t r e s s the fac t th a t m ost o f th e s e d e fe n s iv e te c h n iq u e s o f im p re ss io n m anagem ent have a coun te r part in th e tactfu l te ndency of the aud ience and o u ts id e r s to a c t in a p ro tec t iv e way in order to help the perform ers s a v e th e ir own show. S in c e the d e p e n d e n c e of the perform ers on th e ta c t o f th e au d ien c e and o u t s id e r s te n d s to be under e s t im a te d , I sha ll bring to g e th e r he re some of the se v era l p ro tec t iv e te c h n iq u e s t h a t are commonly em ployed a l though, a n a ly t i c a l ly speak ing , ea ch p ro tec t iv e p ra c t ic e might be t te r b e co n s id e red in con junc tion with the co rrespond ing d efen s iv e p ra c t ic e . 146 F i r s t , i t should be unders tood th a t a c c e s s to the back and front reg io n s of a perform ance i s con tro l led no t only by th e perform ers but by o th e rs . Ind iv idua ls voluntarily s tay away from reg ions into which they have not been invited . ( T h i s kind o f ta c t in regard to p la c e i s a n a la g o u s to 'd i s c r e t i o n , ’ which h a s a l re a d y been d esc r ib ed a s ta c t in regard to fac ts . ) And when o u ts id e r s find they are ab o u t to en te r such a region, they often give th o s e a lready p resen t some warning, in the form o f a m essag e , or a knock, or a cough, so th a t th e in trusion can be put off if n e c e s s a r y or the s e t t in g hurriedly put in order and proper e x p r e s s io n s fixed on th e f a c e s of th o se p resen t. 1 T h i s kind of ta c t can become n ice ly e labora ted . T hus, in p re se n t in g o n e s e l f to a s t ran g e r by m eans o f a le t t e r o f in troduction , it i s thought proper to convey the le t te r to the a d d re s s e e before ac tua l ly coming into h is im m edia te p r e s e n c e ; the a d d re s s e e then h a s time to dec ide what kind of g ree ting the individual i s to r e c e iv e , and time to a s s e m b le th e e x p re s s iv e manner appropria te to such a gree ting . 2 We often find th a t when in te rac t io n m ust proceed in the p re se n ce of o u ts id e rs , o u ts id e r s tac tfu l ly a c t in an un in te res te d , uninvolved, unperce iv ing fash ion , so th a t if p h ys ica l c lo su re i s not ob ta ined by w a lls or d i s t a n c e , e f fec t ive c lo su re can at l e a s t be ob ta ined by conven tion . T h u s when two s e t s o f p e rso n s find th e m se lv e s in neighbouring boo ths in a res tau ran t , i t i s expected tha t ne i th e r group will avail i t s e l f o f the opp o r tu n i t ie s that ac tu a l ly e x is t for overhear ing th e other. E t iq u e t te a s rega rds tac tfu l ina t ten t ion , and th e e f fec t iv e privacy it p rov ides , v a r ie s , o f cou rse , from one so c ie ty and subcu ltu re to another . In m id d le -c la s s Anglo-American soc ie ty , when in a pub lic p la c e , one i s supposed to keep o n e ’s n o se out of other p eo p le ’s a c t iv i ty and go about o n e ’s own b u s in e s s . I t i s only when a woman drops a package , or when a fellow- m otoris t g e t s s ta l le d in the middle of the road, or when a baby le f t a lone in a ca r r ia g e beg in s to scream , tha t m id d le -c la ss peop le feel it i s all r ight to break down momentarily the w alls which e f fec t iv e ly in su la te them. In the rural is lan d cu l tu re stud ied by the writer, d if fe ren t ru le s ob ta ined . If any man happened to find h im self in the p re se n ce of o the rs who were engaged in a ta s k , it w as ex p e c ted tha t he would lend a hand, 1 Maids a re of ten t ra ined to en te r a room without knocking, or to k n o ck and go right in, presum ably on the theory th a t they arc non-persons before whom any p re te n c e or in te rac t ion r e a d in e s s on the par t o f those in the room n e e d not be m ain ta ined . F riendly ho u se w iv es w il l en te r ea c h o th e r ’s k i t c h e n s with s im i la r l ic e n c e , a s an e x p re ss io n of hav ing no th ing to h ide from each other . * Esquire E t iq u e t t e , op. c i t . , p. 73- 147 e s p e c ia l l y if th e t a s k w as re la t iv e ly b r ie f and re la t iv e ly s t ren u o u s . Such c a s u a l mutual aid was taken a s a matter o f c o u r s e and w as an ex p re s s io n o f no th ing c lo s e r than fellow- i s l a n d e r s ta tu s . O nce the aud ience has been adm itted to a performance, th e n e c e s s i t y of being tactfu l d oes not c e a s e . We find tha t the re i s an e la b o ra te e t iq u e t te by which ind iv idua ls guide them se lv e s in the ir c a p a c i ty a s members of the aud ience . T h i s in v o lv e s : the giving of a proper amount of a t ten t ion and in t e r e s t ; a w i l l in g n e ss to hold in c h e ck one 's own perform ance so a s not to in troduce too many co n t ra d ic t io n s , in te rrup tions , o r dem ands for a t ten t io n ; the inh ib i t ion of all a c t s or s ta te m e n ts th a t might c r e a te a faux p a s ; the d e s i re , above *li e l s e , to avoid a sc en e . Audience t a c t i s so genera l a th ing tha t we may ex p e c t to find it ex e rc ise d even by in d iv id u a ls , famous for the ir m isbehaviour, who are p a t ie n t s in mental hospicals . T h u s one r e se a rc h group r e p o r ts : Ac ano ther t im e , the s t a f f , w ithout c o n s u l t in g the p a t i e n t s , dec ided to g ive them a V a le n t in e party . Many of the p a t i e n t s did n o t w ish to go, but did s o anyway a s they felc th a t they shou ld no t hurt the fee l ings o f che s tu d e n t n u r s e s who had o rgan ized the party . T he g am es in troduced by th e n u r s e s w ere on a very c h i ld i s h l e v e l ; many of che paciencs felt s i l l y p lay ing them and were g lad when the party was over and they cou ld go back to a c t i v i t i e s of th e i r own choos ing . 1 We a lso find that when performers make a s l ip of some kind, c le a r ly exh ib it ing a d isc re p an c y betw een the fos tered im p re ss io n and a d i s c lo s e d rea l i ty , the au d ie n c e may tactfu lly ' n o t s e e ’ the s l ip or read i ly a c c e p t the e x c u se th a t is offered for i t . F u r the r , we find tha t a t moments o f c r i s i s for the perform ers, the whole au d ien c e may come in to ta c i t co l lus ion with the perform ers in order to help them out. T h u s we learn th a t in mental h o s p i t a l s when a p a t ie n t d ie s in such a way a s to re f lec t upon the im pression of usefu l trea tm en t tha t the s ta ff is a t tem pting to m ainta in , the other p a t ie n ts , ordinaiily d isp o sed to give the s t a f f trouble , will ta c tfu l ly e a s e up their warfare and with much d e l ic a c y help s u s ta in the qu ite fa l^e im press ion tha t they have not absorbed the meaning of what h a s happened . 2 S imilarly, a t t im e s of in sp e c t io n , whether in sc h o o l , in ba r racks , in the hosp i ta l , or a t home, the a u d ien c e i s l ik e ly to behave i t s e l f in a model way so th a t the performers who are being in sp e c te d may put on an exemplary show. At 'W il l ia m C a u d i l l , F reder ick C. Redlicli , Helen R. Gilmore and Kugene B. Brody, ‘S o c ia l S trucrure and In te rac tion P r o c e s s e s on a P sy c h ia tr ic Ward,’ A m erican Journal o f Or thopsych ia try , XXII, 321-322. 2 S e e T a x e l , op. c i t . , p. 118. Vl'hen two team s know an em b ar ra s s in g fact , a n d e a c h team knows the other team knows it, and y e t ncM ier team openly adm its i t s knowledge, we get an i n s t a n c e of what Robert b ub in has c a l le d 'o r g a n iz a t i o n a l f i c t io n s . ' See Dubin, op. c i t . , pp. 341-3^5- 148 su c h tim es , team l in e s are a p t to sh i f t s l ig h t ly and momentarily so tha t th e in s p e c t in g su p e r in ten d e n t , genera l , d irec to r , or g u e s t will be faced by perform ers and au d ie n c e who are in co l lu s ion . A lina l in s ta n c e of t a c t in hand l ing the performer may be c i ted . When the performer i s known to be a beginner , and more s u b je c t than o the rw ise to em b a r ra ss in g m is tak e s , the au d ien c e , f requen tly sh o w s ex tra co n s id e ra t io n , refra in ing from c a u s in g the d i f f ic u l t ie s it might o th e rw ise c re a te . I would l ik e to add a conc lud ing fac t abou t ta c t . Whenever th e a u d ien c e e x e r c i s e s tac t , the p o s s ib i l i ty will a r i s e tha t the perform ers w ill learn tha t they are being ta c t fu l ly p ro tec ted . When th i s o c c u r s , th e further p o s s ib i l i ty a r i s e s th a t the a u d ien c e will learn tha t the perform ers know they are being tac tfu lly p ro te c te d . And then, in turn, i t becom es p o s s ib le for the performers to learn tha t the au d ien c e knows tha t the performers know th e y are being p ro tec ted . Now when su c h s t a t e s of inform ation e x is t , a moment in the perform ance may come when the s e p a r a t e n e s s of the t e a m s will break down and be m om entarily r e p la c e d by a communion of g la n c e s through which e a c h team open ly adm its to the o ther i t s s t a t e of information. At such moments the whole dram aturgical s t ru c tu re of s o c ia l in te ra c t io n i s su d d e n ly and poignantly la id bare, and the l ine s e p a ra t in g the te am s momentarily d is a p p e a rs . Whether th is c lo s e v iew of th in g s brings sham e or laugh ter , the teams» are l ik e ly to draw rap id ly back in to the ir appo in ted c h a ra c te r s . Tact Regarding Tact It h a s been argued tha t th e au d ien c e c o n t r ib u te s in a s ig n i f ic a n t way to the m a in tenance of a show by e x e rc is in g t a c t o r p ro te c t iv e p r a c t ic e s on beha lf of the performers. It i s appa ren t th a t i f the a u d ien c e i s to employ t a c t on the performer’s beha lf , the perform er m ust ac t in such a way a s to make the rendering of th i s a s s i s t a n c e p o s s ib le . T h i s will require d i s c ip l in e and c i rc u m sp e c t io n , but of a s p e c ia l order. F o r exam ple , i t w as s u g g e s te d th a t tac tfu l o u ts id e r s in a ph y s ic a l po s i t io n to overhear an in te rac t io n may offer a show o f in a t te n t io n . In order to a s s i s t in th is tac tfu l w ithdraw al, the p a r t i c ip a n ts who feel i t i s p h y s ic a l ly p o s s ib le for them to be overheard may omit from their co n v e rsa t io n and a c t iv i ty anything th a t would tax th is tac tfu l r e so lv e of the o u ts id e rs , and at th e sam e time in c lu d e enough se m i-con f iden t ia l f a c t s to show th a t they do not d i s t ru s t the show of w ithdraw al p resen ted by th e o u ts id e r s . S imilarly , it a s e c re ta ry i s to te l l a v is i to r 149 ta c tfu l ly th a t the man he w ish e s to s e e i s out, i t will be w ise for the v is i to r to s te p back from the in ter-office te lep h o n e so th a t he canno t h ea r what the s e c re ta ry is being told by the man who i s presum ably not there to te ll her. I would l ik e to conc lude by m entioning two gene ra l s t r a t e g ie s regard ing ta c t with r e sp e c t to tac t . F i r s t , the performer must be s e n s i t iv e to h in ts and ready to ta k e them, for it i s through h in ts that the aud ience can warn th e performer th a t h is show is unac ce p ta b le and tha t he had be t te r modify i t quickly if the s i tu a t io n is to be saved . Secondly , if the performer i s to m is re p re se n t th e f a c ts in any way, he must do so in ac co rd an c e with the e t iq u e t te for m is re p re se n ta t io n ; he must not le a v e h im self in a posit ion from which e v e n the la m es t e x c u se and the most co -opera tive aud ience cannot ex t r ica te him. In te l l in g an untruth, the performer i s en jo ined to reta in a shadow of je s t in h is vo ice so tha t, should he be caughc out, he can d isavow any claim to s e r io u s n e s s and sa y th a t he was only joking. In m is re p re sen t in g h is p h y s ic a l appearance , the performer is en jo ined to u se a method which a l low s of an innocen t ex c u se . T h u s balding men who affec t a hat indoors and out are more or l e s s exc u se d , s in c e i t i s p o s s ib le that they have a cold , chat they , merely forgot to ta k e their hat off, o r tha t ra in can fall in unexpected p l a c e s ; a toupee, however, o ffe rs the wearer no e x c u se and the aud ience no e x c u se for exc u se . In fac t there is a s e n se in which the ca tegory of impostor, p rev iously referred co, can be defined a s a person who m akes it im p o ss ib le for h is aud ience to be tac tfu l about o bserved m is re p re sen ta t io n . aranniD In sp i t e of the fa c t th a t performers and aud ience employ a l l of th e s e tech n iq u e s of im press ion management, and many o th e rs a s well, we know, of cou rse , tha t in c id e n ts do occur and that a u d ie n c e s are inadver tan t ly given g l im pses behind th e s c e n e s of a performance. When such an inc iden t occurs , th e members of an audience som etim es learn an important le s s o n , more important to them than the a g g re s s iv e p le asu re they can ob ta in by d iscover ing som eone’s dark. • PQf'i^red. in s id e , or sc ra teg ic s e c re ts . T h e members of the aud ience may d isc o v e r a fundam ental dem ocracy tha t is u su a l ly well h idden. Whether the ch a rac te r tha t i s being p re se n ted i s sober o r ca re f ree , of high s ta t io n or low, the ind iv idua l who performs the c h a ra c te r will be se en for what he largely i s , a so li ta ry p layer involved in a harried concern for h is production. Behind 150 many m a sk s and many c h a ra c te r s , ea c h performer tends to wear a s in g le look, a naked unsoc ia l iE ed look, a look of con cen tra t ion , a look of one who i s p rivately engaged in a d ifficult , t r ea ch e ro u s ta sk . De Beauvoir, in her book on women, p rov ides an i l l u s t r a t i o n : And in sp ice o f a l l he r p rudence , a c c id e n t s will hap p en ; wine i s s D i l i e d on her d r e s s , a c ig a r e t t e burns i t ; t h i s marks the d i sa p p e a ra n c e of the luxu r ious and fe s t iv e c rea tu re who bore h e r s e l f with sm iling oride in the ballroom, fot she now a s s u m e s the se r io u s and severe look of the h o u s e k e e p e r ; it becom es a l l a t once ev iden t th a t h e r to i le t te w as no t a s e t p ie c e l ike f ireworks, a t r an s ien t burst of sp lendor, in ten d ed for the lav ish i l lumina tion of a moment. It i s ra ther a r ich p o s s e s s io n , c a p i t a l goods , an in v e s tm e n t ; i t h a s m ean t s a c r i f i c e ; i t s l o s s i s a real d i s a s t e r Spots, r e n t s , b o tc h e d d re ssm ak in g , bad h a i r d o s are c a t a s t r o p h e s s t i l l more se r ious th an a burnt roas t or a broken v a s e ; for no t onlv d o e s the woman o f fashion p ro je c t h e r s e l f into th ings , she h a s c h o se n to make h e r s e l f a th ing , and sh e fee ls d irec t ly th rea tened in rhe world Her re la t io n s with d r e s s m a k e r an d m ill ine r , her f idgeting, her s t r i c t d e m a n d s - a l l th e s e m an ife s t her se r ious a t t . tu d e and her se n se of in se cu r i ty . 1 _______________ __________________ i de Beauvoir, op. c i l . , p. 536. 151 CHAPTER Vil CONCLUSION The Framework A so c ia l e s ta b l ish m e n t i s any p la c e surrounded by fixed b a r r ie r s to percep tion in which a p a r t icu la r kind of a c t iv i ty regu la r ly ta k e s p la c e . I h ave su g g e s te d tha t any s o c ia l e s ta b l ish m e n t may be s tu d ied profitab ly from the point of v iew of im press ion m anagem ent . Within the w a l l s of a s o c ia l e s ta b l i sh m e n t we find a team of perform ers who co -o p e ra te to p re s e n t to an au d ien c e a g iven defin ition of the s i tu a t io n . T h i s will inc lude the c o n c e p t io n of own team and of a u d ien c e a n d a s su m p t io n s co n c ern in g the e th o s th a t is to be m a in ta ined by ru le s of p o l i t e n e s s and decorum. We often find a d iv is ion into back region, where the perform ance of a routine i s prepared, and front region, where the perform ance is p resen ted . We find tha t a c c e s s to th e s e reg io n s i s contro l led in order to p rev e n t the au d ie n c e from se e in g b a c k s ta g e and to prevent o u ts id e r s from coming into a perform ance th a t i s not ad d re s se d to them. Among m embers of the team we find tha t fam iliar ity p rev a i ls , that so l id a r i ty i s l ik e ly to develop, and tha t s e c r e t s th a t could g ive the show away are sha red and kept. A ta c i t ag reem ent i s m a in ta ined be tw e en perform ers and a u d ien c e to ac t a s if a g iven degree of o p p o s i t io n and of accord e x is te d b e tw een them. T y p ic a l ly , but not a lw a y s , ag reem ent i s s t r e s s e d and opposit ion i s underp layed . We find tha t the resu l t in g w ork ing c o n s e n s u s tends to be c o n t ra d ic ted by the a t t i tu d e toward the au d ie n c e which th e perform ers e x p r e s s in the a b s e n c e of the a u d ien c e aijd by ca refu lly con tro l led com m unica t ion out of c h a ra c te r conveyed by the performers while the a u d ien c e i s p re se n t . We find th a t d i s c re p a n t ro le s d ev e lo p : some of the in d iv id u a ls who are apparen tly team -m ates , or a u d ience , o r o u ts id e r s acqu ire information about the perform ance and r e la t io n s to the team which are not apparen t and which c o m p lic a te the problem of pu tt ing on a show. We find tha t som etim es d is ru p t io n s occur through unmeant g es tu re s , faux p a s , and s c e n e s , th u s d is c re d i t in g o r co n trad ic t in g th e de f in i t ion o f the s i tu a t io n tha t i s being m ainta ined. We find tha t the mythology of the team will dwell upon th e s e d is ru p t iv e e v e n ts . We find tha t perform ers , au d ien c e , and o u ts id e r s al l 152 u ti l iz e tech n iq u e s for sa v in g the show, whether by avoiding like ly d is rup t ions or by co rrec ting for unavoided ones , or by making it p o s s ib le for o th e rs to do so. Tc ensure th a t th e se tech n iq u e s will be employed, we find that the team will tend to s e le c t members who are loyal, d isc ip l in e d , and c ircum spec t , and to s e le c t an a u d ien c e tha t i s tac tfu l . T h e s e fea tu re s and e lem en ts , then, com prise the framework 1 c la im to be ch a ra c te r i s t i c of much so c ia l in te rac t ion a s it o cc u rs in natural s e t t in g s in our so c ie ty . T h is framework i s formal and a b s t ra c t in the s e n s e th a t it c an be app l ied to any s o c ia l e s ta b l i s h m e n t ; i t i s not, however, merely a s t a t i c c l a s s i f i c a t io n . T h e framework bears upon dynamic i s s u e s c re a te d by the m otivation to s u s t a in a defin ition of the s i tu a t io n which h a s been p ro jec ted before o thers . The Analytical Context T h is report h a s been ch ief ly co n cerned with s o c ia l e s ta b l i s h m e n ts a s re la t iv e ly c lo se d sy s te m s . I t h a s been assum ed th a t the re la t ion of one e s tab l ish m e n t to o th e rs i s i t s e l f an in te l l ig ib le a rea of s tu d y and ought to be t r ea ted a n a ly t ic a l ly a s part of a different order of fa c t—the order of in s t i tu t iona l in teg ra tion . It might be well here to try to p lace the p e r sp e c t iv e taken in th is report in the con tex t of other p e r sp e c t iv e s which seem to be the o n es curren tly employed, im plic i t ly or e x p l ic i t ly , in the study of s o c ia l e s ta b l ish m e n ts a s c lo se d sys tem s . F ou r su c h p e r sp e c t iv e s may be ten ta t ive ly su g g es ted . An e s tab l ish m e n t may be viewed ' t e c h n ic a l ly , ’ in te rm s of i t s e f f ic iency and ine ff ic iency a s an in ten tiona lly organized sys tem o f ac t iv i ty for the ach ievem ent o f p re-defined o b je c t iv es . An e s tab l ish m e n t may be viewed ‘ p o l i t ic a l ly , ’ in term s o f the a c t io n s which ea c h pa r t ic ip a n t (or c l a s s o f p a r t ic ip a n ts ) can demand of other p a r t ic ip a n ts , the k in d s of d ep r iva t ions and in d u lg e n ce s which can be meted out in order to enforce th e se dem ands, and the k inds of s o c ia l con tro ls which guide th i s e x e rc is e of command and u se of san c t io n s . An e s tab l ish m e n t may be v iewed ' s t r u c tu r a l l y , ’ in te rm s of the horizontal and ver t ica l s t a tu s d iv is io n s and the k inds of so c ia l r e la t io n s which r e la te th e s e se v e ra l groupings to one another . F in a l ly , an e s ta b l ish m e n t may be viewed ' c u l t u r a l l y , ’ in te rm s of the moral va lues which in f luence a c t iv i ty in the e s ta b l i s h m e n t—v a lu es pe r ta in ing to fash ions , cu s to m s, and m atte rs of t a s te , to p o l i t e n e s s and decorum, to u lt im ate ends and normative re s t r ic t io n s on m eans, e tc . It i s 153 t' Se noted tha t all the f a c t s th a t can be d isc o v e red abou t an e ^ a b l i s h m e n t are r e le v a n t to e a c h of the four p e r s p e c t iv e s but tha t ea ch p e rsp e c t iv e g iv e s i t s own priority and order to th e s e fac ts . It s e e m s to me tba t th e dram aturg ica l approach may c o n s t i tu te a fifth p e r sp e c t iv e , to be added to the te ch n ic a l , p o l i t ica l , s t ru c tu ra l , and cu l tu ra l p e r sp e c t iv e s . 1 T h e drama tu rg ica l p e r sp e c t iv e , l ik e e a c h o f the o the r four, can be em ployed a s the end-point of a n a ly s i s , a s a f inal way of order ing fa c ts . T h is would le a d us to d e sc r ib e the te c h n iq u e s of im p re ss io n m anagem ent em ployed in a g iven es tab l ish m e n t , th e p r inc ipa l p rob lem s of im p re ss io n m anagem ent in the es ta b l ish m e n t , and the id e n t i ty and in te r re la t io n sh ip s o f the se v e ra l performance te am s which opera te in the e s tab l ish m e n t . But, a s with the f a c ts u t i l iz e d in each of the o ther p e r s p e c t iv e s , the f a c ts s p e c i f ic a l ly p e r ta in in g to im press ion management a l s o play a part in the m a tte rs th a t are a concern in a l l the o ther p e r s p e c t iv e s . It may be use fu l to i l lu s t r a te th is briefly . T h e te c h n ic a l and d ram atu rg ica l p e r s p e c t iv e s in te r se c t most c lea r ly , pe rhaps , in regard to s ta n d a r d s of work. Important for both p e r s p e c t iv e s i s the fac t th a t one s e t of ind iv idua ls will be concerned with te s t in g the unapparen t c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s and q u a l i t i e s of the w ork-accom plishm ents of ano ther s e t of in d iv id u a ls , and th is o the r s e t will be concerned with giving the im press ion th a t th e ir work em bod ies th e se h idden a t t r ib u tes . T h e p o l i t ic a l and d ram aturg ica l p e r sp e c t iv e s in te r se c t c lea r ly in regard to the c a p a c i t i e s of one ind iv idual to d irec t the a c t iv i ty of another . F o r one th ing , if an individual is to d irec t another , or o the rs , he will of ten find it usefu l to keep s t r a te g ic s e c r e t s from them. Furthe r , if one individual a t tem p ts to d irec t the ac t iv i ty of o th e rs by m eans of example , en ligh tenm ent, p e r su a s io n , exchange , m anipula tion , authori ty , th rea t , pu n ish ment, or coe rc ion , it will be n e c e s s a r y , r e g a rd le s s of h is power p o s i t io n , to convey e f fe c t iv e ly w hat he w ants done and what he i s prepared to do to get it done arid what he will do if i t i s not done. P ow er of an y kind must be c lo thed in e f fec t iv e m eans of d isp lay in g i t , and it will have d iffe ren t e f f e c ts depend ing upon how it is d ram atized . (Of c o u rse , the ca p a c i ty to convey effec tive ly a def in i t ion of the s i tu a t io n may be of l i t t l e use if one i s not in a pos i t ion to give example, exchange , punishm ent, e tc . ) T h u s the most o b je c t iv e form of naked power, i . e . , p h y s ic a l coerc ion , i s o f ten ne i the r ob jec tive nor C o m p a r e the p o s i t io n taken by Osw ald Hall in regard to p o s s ib le p e r s p e c t iv e s for the s tudy o f c lo s e d s y s t e m s in h i s ' Methods and T e c h n iq u e s o f R e sea rch in Human R e la t i o n s ' (Apri l , 1952), reported in E. C- H ughes et a l., C a s e s on F ie ld Work, forthcoming. 154 naked but ra ther functions as a d isp la y for pe rsuad ing the a u d ie n c e ; i t i s of ten a means of com munication, not merely a m eans of ac tion . The s truc tu ra l and dram aturg ica l p e r sp e c t iv e s seem to in te r se c t m ost c lea rly in regard to s o c ia l d is tan c e . T h e im age tha t one s t a tu s grouping is ab le to maintain in the e y e s of an aud ience of other s t a tu s groupings will depend upon the perform ers’ ca p a c i ty to re s t r ic t com m unicative contac t with the aud ience . The cultural and dram aturg ica l p e r sp e c t iv e s in te r s e c t most c lea r ly in regard to the m ain tenance of moral s tandards . The cultura l v a lu e s of an e s ta b l ish m e n t will determine in de ta i l how the p a r t ic ip a n ts are to feel about many m atte rs and a t the sam e time e s t a b l i s h a framework of a p p e a ra n c e s tha t must be m ainta ined, w hether or not there i s fee ling behind the ap p e arances . Personolity-lnteroction-Sociefy In r e c e n t y e a rs there have been e lab o ra te a t tem p ts to bring into one framework the c o n c e p ts and f ind ings derived from th ree d iffe ren t a r e a s of inqu iry : the ind iv idual persona li ty , so c ia l in te rac t ion , and soc ie ty . I would like to su g g e s t here a s im ple addition to these in te r -d isc ip l ina ry a t tem pts . When an ind iv idual ap p e a rs before o thers , he wittingly and unwittingly p ro jec ts a defin ition of the s i tua tion , of which a concep t ion of h im se lf is an important part. When an even t o cc u rs which i s ex p re ss iv e ly incom patib le with th is fostered im press ion , s ig n i f ic an t c o n s e q u e n c e s are s im u ltaneous ly felt in th ree le v e ls o f s o c ia l reality , ea c h of which invo lves a d ifferent point o f reference and a d iffe rent order of fact. F irs t , the s o c ia l in te rac t ion , t rea ted here a s a d ia logue between two team s, may come to an em barrassed and confused h a l t ; the s i tu a t io n may c e a s e to be defined , p rev ious po s i t io n s may become no longer tenab le , and p a r t ic ip a n ts may find th e m se lv es without a ch a r ted course of ac t ion . The p a r t ic ip a n ts ty p ic a l ly s e n s e a fa ls e note in the s i tu a t io n and come to feel awkward, f luste red , and, l i te ra l ly , out of co un tenance . In o th e r words, the minute soc ia l sy s tem crea ted and su s ta in ed by orderly so c ia l in te rac t ion becom es d iso rgan ized . T h e se are the co n s e q u e n c e s tha t the d isruption has from the point o f view of so c ia l in te rac t ion . Secondly, in addition to th e se d iso rg an iz in g co n s e q u e n c e s for ac tion a t the moment, perform ance d is ru p t io n s may have co n s e q u e n c e s of a more far-reaching kind. A ud iences tend to a c ce p t the s e l f projecced by the individual performer during any current performance as a r e sp o n s ib le rep rese n ta t iv e of 155 h is co l league-g roup ing , of h i s team, and of h is s o c ia l e s ta b l ish m e n t . A ud iences a l s o a c c e p t the in d iv id u a l’s p a r t icu la r perform ance a s ev id en c e of h is c a p a c i ty to perform the routine and even a s e v id en c e of h i s c a p ac i ty to perform any routine. In a s e n s e th e s e la rge r s o c ia l u n i t s —team s, e s ta b l i s h ments, e t c . —become com m itted every time the ind iv idual performs h i s ro u t in e ; with each perform ance the leg it im acy of th e se u n i t s will tend to be te s te d anew and th e ir permanent r epu ta t ion put at s ta k e . T h is kind of commitment i s e s p e c ia l ly s t rong during some perform ances. Thus, when a surgeon and h i s nurse both turn from the opera ting ta b le and the a n e s th e t iz e d p a t ie n t a c c id e n ta l ly ro l ls off the ta b le to h is dea th , not only i s the opera t ion d is rup ted in an em b a r ra ss in g way, but the repu ta t ion of the doctor, a s a doctor and a s a man, and a l so th e repu ta tion of the h o sp i ta l may be w eakened . T h e se are the c o n s e q u e n c e s th a t d is rup t ions may have from the point of v iew of s o c ia l s truc tu re . F in a l ly , we o f ten find tha t the ind iv idual may deeply involve h is ego in h is id e n t if ica t io n with a pa r t icu la r role, e s t a b l i s h ment, and group and in h is se lf -concep t ion a s som eone who d o e s not d is ru p t s o c ia l in te rac t io n or le t down the so c ia l u n i ts which depend upon that in te rac t ion . When a d isrup tion o c c u rs , then, we may find tha t the se l f -c o n cep t io n s around which he has built h is persona l i ty may become d isc re d i te d . T h e s e are c o n s e q u e n c e s th a t d is ru p t io n s may have from the point o f view of individual p e rsona l i ty . P erfo rm ance d is rup t ions , then , have c o n s e q u e n c e s at th ree l e v e l s of a b s t r a c t io n : p e rsona l i ty , in te rac t io n , and s o c ia l s t ruc tu re . While the l ike lihood of d is rup tion will vary widely from in te rac t io n to in te rac t io n , and w hile the s o c ia l im portance of l ik e ly d is ru p t io n s will vary from in te rac t ion to in te rac t ion , s t i l l i t s e e m s th a t there i s no in te rac t ion in which the p a r t ic i p a n t s do not take an ap p re c ia b le ch ance of being s l ig h t ly em b arra sse d or a s l ig h t c h a n c e o f being deep ly hum il ia ted . L ife may not be much of a gamble, but in te rac t io n is . Further, in so far a s in d iv id u a ls make effo rts to avoid d is ru p t io n s or to co r rec t for o n e s not avo ided , th e s e e f fo rts , too, will have s im u lta n eo u s c o n s e q u e n c e s a t the three le v e l s . Here, then, we h ave o n e s im ple way o f a r t i c u la t in g th ree l e v e l s of a b s tra c t io n and th ree p e r sp e c t iv e s from which s o c ia l life has been s tud ied . Comporisons and Study In th is report, u se has been made of i l lu s t r a t io n s from s o c i e t i e s o ther th a n our Anglo-American one. In doing th is I 156 did no t mean to imply that the framework p re se n ted here i s cu l tu re-free or a p p l ica b le in the sa m e a r e a s of so c ia l life in non-Western s o c ie t i e s a s in our own. We lead an indoor soc ia l l ife . We s p e c ia l iz e in fixed s e t t in g s , in keep ing s t ra n g e rs ou t, and in giving the performer some p r ivacy in w hich to p repare h im self for the show. Once we begin a performance, we are inc lined to f in ish it, and we are s e n s i t iv e to jarring n o te s which may o ccu r during it. If we are caugh t out in a m is re p re sen ta t io n we feel deep ly hum iliated . Given our general dram aturgical ru les and in c l in a t io n s for conduc ting action , we must not overlook a re a s of life in o the r s o c i e t i e s in which o th e r ru le s a re appa ren tly followed. R eports by Western t rav e l le rs are f illed with in s t a n c e s in which the ir dramaturgical s e n s e w as offended or su rp rised , and if we are to gene ra l ize to o ther c u l tu re s we must co n s id e r th e s e in s t a n c e s a s well a s more favourab le ones . We must be ready to s e e in China th a t w h ile a c t io n s and decor may be wonderfully harmonious and cohe ren t in a p r iva te tea-room, ex trem ely e lab o ra te m eals may be s e rv e d in ex trem ely plain r e s ta u ra n ts , and shops that look l ik e hovels s ta ffe d with surly, fam iliar c l e r k s may con ta in within the ir r e c e s s e s , wrapped in old brown paper, wonderfully d e l ic a te b o l ts of s i lk . 1 And among a peop le s a id to be careful to sa v e each o th e r ’s face , we m ust be prepared to read th a t : 1‘ortunnie ly the C h in e se do not be l ieve in the p r ivacy of a home as we do. They do not mind hav ing the whole d e t a i l s of the ir da i ly exper i ence seen by everyone that c a r e s to look. How they live, what they c a t , and even the family j a r s th a t we try 10 hush up from the public are th in g s th.it se em to be common property , and not to be long exc lus ive ly to t h i s p a r t icu la r family who are most concerned . 2 And we m ust be prepared to s e e tha t in s o c i e t i e s with se t t led in e q u a l i ta r ia n s t a tu s s y s t e m s and s trong r e l ig io u s orien ta t ions , in d iv id u a ls are som etim es l e s s ea rn es t about the whole civic drama than we are, and will c r o s s s o c ia l bar r ie rs with brief g e s tu re s th a t give more recognit ion to the man behind the mask than we might find perm iss ib le . Furtherm ore, we must be very c a u t io u s in any effort to c h a ra c te r iz e our own so c ie ty a s a whole with re sp e c t to drama tu rg ica l p ra c t ic e s . For example, in cu rren t management-labour r e la t io n s , we know th a t a team may en te r jo in t consu lta t ion m e e t in g s with the opposit ion with the knowledge tha t i t may b e n e c e s s a r y to g ive the appearance of s ta lk ing out of the m eeting in a huff. Diplomatic te a m s are som etim es required to s ta g e a s im ilar show. In o ther words, while te am s m our s o c ie ty are usua lly ob liged to su p p ress the ir rage behind a working c o n s e n su s , there are t im es when te a m s are obliged 1 Macflowan, np. c i t t> pp. 178-179»
3//ni< .* t , 1/ / Ti1 L‘ p iV rr .M A .V W tH V ' .1 i ' • *i> ph-M’ r t**j• vi,*lr I

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