Ethnography Study In The Sports Sector: Dramaturgical Theory Essay


Discuss about the Ethnography Study in the Sports Sector for Dramaturgical Theory.


The dramaturgical theory by Erving Goffman

In his work, Erving Goffman has covered multiple concepts which affect our social norms and our social settings. He covers some concepts such as the prominence of the people, front and backstage, the role distance, decorum, a fa?ade and the social interactions, and these are among the major constitutive parts of his dramaturgical approach. According to Goffman, the interactions of the people help them to adjust consciously or even unconsciously to different roles and facades which are suitable in the social settings or contexts of interactions (Goffman, 1963). When people interact with the other people from different social settings and who have different social norms, their social lives are adjusted in a way as the people will always try to accommodate the other people who have different settings and norms and in the accommodation process we have some adjustments in the social lives of both groups of people (Becker et al., 2004, pp.264-276).

Observation and interviews

Observations and interviews are very important methods which should be employed in ethnographic studies. The person interested in the ethnographic studies should be the one doing the direct observation for him/her to observe different people from different ethnic settings who have different social norms and behaviors. In this case, I was the observer who joined the other spectators in the field with the aim of observing the social norms and the behaviors of different ethnicities which could help me to understand them well. I was very keen to observe their dressing modes, the common foods and drinks they came with, their songs and dances as they celebrated their teams, their reactions and their communications as they watched their teams play, among other common behaviors which are normally portrayed by football fans when watching football (Hammersley and Paul, 2017). Keen observation of these people who came from different social settings helped me to understand so much about them.

On top of using the observation method to learn more about different ethnic groups, I decided to interview some of them which could help to clarify some of the aspects which could not be understood through mere observation. I preferred to use semi-structured interviews which could help me to understand some perceptions about these people. The semi-structured interviews also helped me to understand the reality of lives of these people who came from different social settings and who had different social norms (Silverman, 2016, pp.125-139). I was very friendly when conducting the interviews, and my friendliness helped me to interact with the respondents well, and we shared some of their life ideas and experiences freely which made the interviews very successful (DeVault and Liza, 2003).

The ethical considerations and dilemmas

Before collection of any data for whatever reason, it’s always important to consider ethics which govern the people and respect all the rights of the people to make sure the data collection process won’t cause any harm or discomfort to the respondents. In my case, to make sure I observed ethics and respected all the rights of all the people who participated in the research, I made sure I introduced myself fully to the participants and explained to them the reasons I was collecting the data. I also made sure to remain very friendly and open to each of the respondents and was ready to answer every question which could be asked by each of the respondents. I also made sure I followed all the ethical principles and claims stipulated by the Swedish Research Council to make sure I couldn’t cause any harm or discomfort to any of my respondents (The Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs, 2003).

There were some dilemmas which I encountered in my ethnography studies. Some of the dilemmas which I faced include, should I have approved permission before collecting the data of the respondents? What can happen to me if am caught collecting the data of the people without the approval of the Swedish Research Council? How should I deal with the people who refuse to participate in my data collection process? These are just a few of the many dilemmas which faced me when I was collecting the data of different spectators (respondents) in the field (Lamont and Ann, 2014).

Analytical framework, coding procedures, and the theoretical framework

After the observation and the interviews, we were able to get a total of 100 codes and identify several some major themes. One of the main themes which I learned from the whole research process is the theme of the social contextual norms which helps to explain different behaviors of the people in different occasions. I was able to understand some of the dances and the songs of different ethnic groups especially those performed in times of happiness and celebrations after winning. Through the interviews, I was also able to understand some of the beliefs and different cultural practices which are undertaken by different ethnic groups. Generally, the observation and the interviews I conducted were very helpful as they helped me to understand the behaviors of different people in different occasions. I also came to understand that the social settings of different ethnicities are very important in their lives as they help to shape their behaviors and their entire lives (Wilson, Julius, and Animol, 2009, pp.8-15). It’s also good to note that people can develop different norms and behaviors when in new social settings and these new norms and behaviors are highly dependent on the new people we interact with when in the new social settings.

The final theoretical discussions

From the discussion above, we can see that the social settings and the social norms of the people play a great role in determining the kind of lives they live. The social norms help to define different ethnic groups and the way they behave when on different occasions. The social settings or the social environments and contexts of the people are also very important as they influence the behavior of the people in different occasions. The ethnographic study helped us to understand that we have different norms which govern different societies and these norms are different in different ethnicities and also change with different occasions or social settings (Willis and Mats, 2002, pp.5-16). For instance, the norms which apply in games are different from the norms which prevail in wedding occasions, and these norms which prevail the weddings are different from the norms which apply in spiritual meetings, and so on. Each of the social settings or social ceremonies or occasions is normally coupled with certain norms which are purposely meant for that specific setting or occasion. We can conclude by saying that the ethnographic study we conducted is very important to us as students as it helps us to understand the social norms and the social settings of different ethnicities in details and this knowledge is very important to us as students studying social science.


Becker, S., Gans, H., Newman, K., and Vaughan, D., 2004. On the value of ethnography: sociology and public policy: a dialogue. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 595(1), pp. 264-276.

DeVault, M., and Liza, M., 2003. Institutional Ethnography: Using interviews to investigate ruling relations. California: Sage Publishers.

Goffman, E., 1963. Behavior in Public Places. Notes on the social organization of gatherings. New York: The Free Press.

Hammersley, M., and Paul, A., 2017. Ethnography. Principles in Practice. 3rd edition ed. London: Routledge.

Lamont, M., and Ann, S., 2014. Methodological Pluralism and the Possibilities and Limits of Interviewing. Qualitative Sociology, 37(2), pp. 153-171.

Silverman, D., 2016. The "inside" and the "outside": Finding realities in intervies . In: In Qualitative Research: Theory, Method and Practice. California: Sage Publications, pp. 125-139.

The Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs, 2003. Ethical Review Act. [Online]
[Accessed 20 2 2018].

Van Maanen, J., 2011. Ethnography as Work. Some Rules of Engagement. Journal of Management Studies, 48(1), pp. 218-234.

Willis, P., and Mats, T., 2002. Manifesto for ethnography. Ethnography, 1(1), pp. 5-16.

Wilson, W., Julius, and Anmol C., 2009. The Role of Theory in Ethnographic Research. Ethnography, 2(1), pp. 8-15.

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