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Understanding Goffman’s Dramaturgy through Disney’s Mulan (1998)
The Great Wall of China as seen through a stone arch.
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Keywords

Goffman
dramaturgy
self
role
identity
gender
theory
performance
culture
popular culture
film
Disney
content analysis
methods
media
discussion
lecture
group
activity
stress
anxiety
emotion
movie
animation
cartoon
entertainment
cinema
presentation of self
interaction
symbolic interaction
socialization
masculinity
femininity
conflict
military
backstage
frontstage
total institution
performer
audience
PowerPoint
family
China
social psychology
appearance

How to Cite

Ohsfeldt, Michael. 2022. “Understanding Goffman’s Dramaturgy through Disney’s Mulan (1998)”. TRAILS: Teaching Resources and Innovations Library for Sociology, March. Washington DC: American Sociological Association. https://trails.asanet.org/article/view/understanding-goffman-through-mulan.

Abstract

The theory of dramaturgy put forth by Erving Goffman in The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life is foundational for sociological understandings of the self, interaction, identity, and roles, which continue to be relevant for students in both their academic education and their everyday lived experiences. Yet, theories are complex, providing...

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Details

Subject Area(s):
Cultural Sociology, Emotions, Social Psychology, Socialization, Theory
Resource Type(s):
Class Activity, Lecture, PowerPoint, Video
Class Level(s):
College 200, College 300, College 400, Graduate
Class Size(s):
Medium, Small

Usage Notes

This resource has been designed to reinforce and extend students’ knowledge of Goffman and sociological perspectives of the self and interaction via a collaborative application of dramaturgy to a cultural text, Mulan, illustrating the dynamics of both the theory and film in the process. Theories can be difficult and abstract parts of learning...

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Learning Goals and Assessments

Learning Goal(s):

  1. Goal 1: To illustrate Goffman’s theories of dramaturgy, performance, and the presentation of the self in an engaging manner through the animated film Mulan (1998).
  2. Goal 2: To connect students’ understanding of sociological thought to both their own lives and the media or cultural products they encounter so that they can apply sociological perspectives of self throughout culture and society.
  3. Goal 3: To cultivate students’ theoretical, analytical, and methodological skills via exposing them to a theoretically informed content analysis and asking them to conduct one themselves.

Goal Assessment(s):

  1. Assessment 1: Students will be able to discuss and connect the events and dynamics of Mulan (1998) to issues of the self and its performance through the structure, arguments, and vocabulary of Goffman’s theories. For example, identifying which settings, appearances, and manners are demanded by Mulan’s performative roles.
  2. Assessment 2: Students will be able to analyze and convey how the presentation of self relates to emotions, identity, and gender through the application of Goffmanian theory. This lesson constantly asks students questions about specific cultural products and their responses to those prompts provide an in-progress evaluation of their ability to employ...
  3. Assessment 3: Students will be able to demonstrate their ability to apply theory in analysis of a cultural text. Students will express this capability through the group activity analysis of an assigned Disney song, indicating their ability to both perform and present the findings of a content analysis.

When using resources from TRAILS, please include a clear and legible citation.

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