Compare and Contrast Butler’s and Goffman’s Notion of Performance in Terms of Masculinity.
Both Judith Butler and Erving Goffman have both developed theories on performance in terms of masculinity. I propose that both theories hold very similar core concepts, and while Butler’s work on gender performativity hold up as a fully compatible theory, it can be better understood through the work of Goffman.
Judith Butler’s theories and texts on gender, performativity, and subversion have been acclaimed in the field of sociology and particularly her inclusion of the subject of masculinity. Her book ‘Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity’ (1990) draws on many social theorists, most importantly Foucault. The main thesis of Butler's argument in this book is that the relationship of sex, gender, masculinity and sexuality are all culturally constructed through the repetition of stylized acts in time. These stylized and normative bodily acts, over time and with repetition establish the appearance of what Butler calls an “essential, ontological core gender.” (Butler, 1990)
Erving Goffman, and his work ‘The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life’ (1959) was one of the first texts to study face-to-face interaction in a sociological aspect. He believed that when an individual comes into contact with society and other people, that individual will attempt to control or guide the impression that others might make of him by changing or fixing his or her ‘performance’. This being a person’s setting, appearance, manner and conduct. At the same time, the person that the individual is interacting with is similarly trying to engage with the individual to obtain information about them. The first two parts of this essay will...