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Embarrassment and impression management - Research Paper Example

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Identity of a person is essentially the essence that makes them who they are, but Cooley (1902) was one of the first sociologists who was able to provide a different perspective on identity that emphasized communication. …
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Embarrassment and impression management
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Download file to see previous pages His view underlined the importance of communication and suggested that identity of a person is no more than a reflection of the image of the self that is communicated to a person through his/her interactions with others. According to Cooley, people see themselves reflected in each others’ eyes and through their communications and interactions with others, gain messages about habits, physical attributes and personal tastes which influences their own judgments and perceptions about self. The control and modulation of the way in which a person chooses to present himself or herself to others is referred to as impression management. Self presentation in the context of impression management has been defined by Jones and Pittman as “the shaping of” a person’s “responses to create in specific others an impression that is for one reason or another desired by the actor.” (Jones and Pittman, 1982: 233). Every person therefore controls the kind of impression s/he wants others to gain by controlling what is revealed to others, i.e, the extent of self disclosure. Goffman(1959) supplemented Cooley’s theory about impression management by offering the view that individuals present themselves as a performance, choosing which role to play at any given time.
Mets and Grohskopf (2003) have summarized the management of the presentation of the self as “the process by which individuals, more or less intentionally, construct a public self that is likely to elicit certain types of attributions from others, attributions that would facilitate the achievement of some goal, usually to acquire social rewards or advantages, or to prevent loss of self esteem when future failure seems probable (p 360). As may be noted from the above views, social integration implies a high degree of attunement to others’ perceptions about oneself, when this yields a positive perception there is pride and integration of the individual is promoted, but when the individual seeks a negative reflection/perception of the self as gained from the impressions of others, there is shame and a feeling of alienation, which produced embarrassment. One notable example of embarrassment is politician Sarah Palin, who was the Vice Presidential candidate in the American Presidential elections of 2008. During the course of the political canvassing, Palin in a radio interview with Glenn Beck, was asked about how she would handle North Korea and responded that we would have to stand by our North Korean allies. This was yet another in a long history of gaffes, such as for example, unable to demonstrate any understanding of the separation of church and state or name a single Supreme Court case, and her claim that she was qualified to handle foreign policy because she was from Alaska which is close to Russia. In responding to the realization that she had made a serious gaffe, Palin defended herself by going on to Facebook and attacking Obama’s gaffes instead.(Stickings, 2010). It may be noted here that a considerable amount of publicity was devoted ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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