In this course you have seen the importance of the shared meanings that we construct together – how they enable us to act collectively within social situations. In particular, you have explored Goffman’s ideas about how those meanings are constructed through:
the way we present ourselves within social situations
the way we respond to other people’s presentation of themselves and help to shore up their performances.
It is particularly important in a care context to understand the way meanings are negotiated within relationships. Caring activities often cut across the ordinary everyday meanings we project into relationships. This is particularly the case when care activities involve the body. So awkward situations can arise, where there is confusion about who is supposed to be doing what, and for what reason. Understanding the scenes set for relationships, the roles people adopt, and the scripts and props used to create the meanings that impact on caring relationships is helpful for understanding the difficulties and supporting an effective relationship.