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Gavella and Goffman


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Čale Feldman, Lada. (2013). Gavella and Goffman. Dani Hvarskoga kazališta : Građa i rasprave o hrvatskoj književnosti i kazalištu, 39(1). pp. 139-170. ISSN 1849-0255

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Although Gavella could not have ever heard of Goffman’s work, since he was primarily learned in German philosophical tradition, the two theoreticians do share a common interest in the two-way relationship of theatrical acting and everyday performing. True, Gavella is in the early fifties an already well established director and thinker, while Goffman only starts to develop his dramaturgical methodology, but both in their reflections draw on the same philosophical ground, that is, on phenomenology: Gavella in order to build his theory of acting on a certain difference with respect to the everyday performing, whereas Goffman in order to build a theory of everyday performing on a certain similarity to acting. Gavella had hard time in establishing the mentioned difference, still firmly believing in the utopian aspects of his aesthetics, while Goffman was accused of cynicism, of a distopian view of the prison-house of social »language«. The stunning correlation of crucial concepts and ideas of both of these theoreticians (»face-work«; »norm«, »normalcy«, »tact«, »mask«, »sincerity«, »looking-glass self«, »misunderstanding«, etc.) testify to a common obsession with the ways in which the study of misperformances in everyday face-to-face interaction reveals a fundamental crack in social ontology, and therefore in essential, irreducible selfhood as well. Far from matching the refined spectrum of Goffman’s endlessly multiplying »frames of experience«, Gavella’s extensive anthropological digressions on tacit norms and values ruling social interaction insist on consequences of such insights for the analysis of a specific, Croatian »social atmosphere«. In his view, Croatian milieu engendered a kind of sociality that, due to various historical, economical and political factors, demonstrates symptoms of »deep disturbances« and therefore, on one hand, does not provide a »material of actor’s creativity« rich enough, while on the other, is in dire need of the actor’s help to find a way out of its cultural impasses.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Comparative literature
Departments: Department of Comparative Literature
Date Deposited: 28 Feb 2018 10:04
Last Modified: 28 Feb 2018 10:04

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