Journal Article — My Performed Identity — by Jeremy Cover




Goffman argues that there is no essential self or identity, saying “The self, then, as performed character, is not an organic thing that has a specific location, whose fundamental fate is to be born, to mature, and to die; it is a dramatic effect arising diffusely from a scene that is presented” (Goffman). In addition, he holds that “he and his body merely provide a peg on which something of collaborative manufacture will be hung for a time. And the means for producing and maintaining selves do not reside in the peg; in fact these means are often bolted down by society” (Goffman). Here is where I begin to have problems with Goffman’s conceptions of personal agency. While recognizing the importance of situational factors, I can also remember the purposeful construction and maintenance of various identities that I imagine most people engage in during adolescence. This paper is a half-narrative, half- analysis of my adolescence, focusing on the aspects of agency and situational constraints in my identity performances.

Recommended Citation

Cover, Jeremy. 2004/2005. “My Performed Identity.” Pp. 153-158 in Sociology of Self-Knowledge: Course Topic as well as Pedagogical Strategy (Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge: Volume III, Issues 1&2,  2004/2005). Belmont, MA: Okcir Press (an imprint of Ahead Publishing House).

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