Backstage Sociology Definition


In The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, a book published by Erving Goffman in 1956, the concept backstage is referred to as where “the performer can relax; he can drop his front, forgo speaking in his lines, and step out of character.”

When all is said and done, and the person is returned backstage, they are relieved to know that their acts, which would not be permitted on the front stage, are now allowed to be conveyed. Actions performed behind the scenes are only for one’s own satisfaction. Since the audience is not present backstage, the performers are free to break character without worrying about tarnishing the performance.


A sociological viewpoint derived from symbolic interactionism is dramaturgy.

The back region, contrasted with the frontstage in Erving Goffman’s dramaturgy, is where individuals may unwind and let their character performances go.

People are liberated from the expectations and rules that govern conduct on stage when they behave in a backstage mode. While backstage, individuals often act in ways that mirror their unfettered or “real” selves since they are more relaxed and at ease. They abandon aspects of their look that were necessary for a front-row performance, such as business attire, in favor of loungewear and casual attire. They could even alter their speech patterns, mannerisms, or overall demeanor.

People often practice certain behaviors or interactions while the back region and otherwise get ready for impending front-stage appearances. They could practice their handshake or grin, go through a speech or discussion, or be ready to seem a specific manner in public once again. People are thus conscious of conventions and expectations even in the backstage area, which affects how they think and behave. People act in ways that they would never do in public when they are alone.

Even individuals’ private lives, such as their relationships with their roommates, lovers, and family members, are often included in the back region. One may not act as formally as expected on stage with these people, but they may not entirely down their guard either. The way people act backstage is similar to how actors perform backstage, in the kitchen of a restaurant, or in the “staff only” portions of retail establishments.

Most of the time, one’s behavior on stage and backstage is quite different from one another. Confusion, shame, and even controversy may result when someone fails to follow the rules for front and backstage conduct. Imagine if a college principal came to work wearing pajamas and slippers or the individual muttered in front of staff members and kids. The expectations associated with front-stage and backstage conduct drive most people to strive very hard to keep these two worlds separate and distinct, and for a good reason.

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