Throughout history, individuals and groups have attempted to manage how they are seen in the public eye. People usually play interaction games with their audiences in order to make themselves appear more positive and desirable. Some cases, however, include individuals or groups who do not want to fit in, and who do not want to appear desirable. This analysis examines Goffman's theory of impression management with the metaphor, ltfe as game.The theory is applied to two cases of differing orgatizational level-an individual, Malmard James Keenan, and a large, complex organization, the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. Theory elaboration is an integral part of studying social theories. When new social groups, patterns, or norrns emerge, new ways to think about society must be introduced. Theory elaboration is, according to Vaughan, "the process of refining a theory, model, or concept in order to specify more carefulty the circumstances in which it does or does not offer potential for explanation." Theory elaboration allows social theories to remain relevant and applicable to the societies in which they were created. Some consider that, "the examination of data with theory elaboration as the goal is seen. . . as a major (if not the major) building block of a positive science." Therefore, the "Evaluation" and "Elaboration" sections of this essay depart from the application of Goffman's ideas and examine his theory for holes or insufficiencies, so that new definitions may be created to increase the relevance of life as game to societal interaction. Through a comparative case analysis, it is discovered that Goffman's theory must be elaborated upon to include a definition of a "team" metaphor, instead of only describing individual interaction; room must also be made for individuals whose motivation is not to gain advantage by appearing desirable to an audience.
"Life as Game: A Theory Elaboration,"
Augsburg Honors Review: Vol. 4
, Article 8.
Available at: https://idun.augsburg.edu/honors_review/vol4/iss1/8