Adrienne Johnson- Dramaturgy/Impression Management

Is the world our stage? Of course it is. I often use this theory to explore the the ways the birth parents of the foster children I care for practice impression management as a way to be viewed in a positive light, despite their mistakes. Often times the birth parents will enter the courtroom (Stage) and put on the best act they no how, but because the foster parent, social workers, attorneys have had close interactions we recognize the different between the person front and back stage, along with their instrumental motive. When motivated by Instrumental purposes, the birth parent is attempting to manage perceptions as a means to get what they want, ie. their child, their parental rights, etc. But the birth parents are not the only ones who have to switch back and forth based on the environment, the people you’re interacting with or situations, foster parents must perform as well. When officials are not present, we show more of a connection and bond, but when in the presence of the agency staff and birth parent it becomes more reserved in terms of the way we interact with the child because we are mindful of the birth parents perception of us as well. Foster parents are often seen as the bad guys, so at a visit for example, we are more encouraging of the birth parent, while expressing the the desire to promote reunification despite our personal judgement or beliefs. We all perform to improve our self images, but do you think you are able to identify your true self and distinguish your front and back stage? Do you believe we have a true self? or is self identity dependent upon these social interactions?

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One thought on “Adrienne Johnson- Dramaturgy/Impression Management

  1. Do we have a true self? I believe that we have certain virtues that we hold on to but we don’t necessarily hold on to them for ever. We are shaped by our environment and the way we interact with others. If there was such a thing as true self, then i believe we would remain the same at all times. However, due to biological, environmental, spiritual and social changes that occurred we have adapted. If you look back at a younger age and think about who you wanted to be when you grown up, does that hold true now? I agree that the is like a stage therefore the characters (the self) changes to match the demands of its audience (environment)

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