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School of Business | Department of Management Studies | MSc program in Management and International Business | 2015
Thesis number: 14097
The presentation of self in theatre - An ethnographic study of people working in theatre and their identity
Author: Pöyhönen, Siiri
Title: The presentation of self in theatre - An ethnographic study of people working in theatre and their identity
Year: 2015  Language: eng
Department: Department of Management Studies
Academic subject: MSc program in Management and International Business
Index terms: johtaminen; management; kulttuurijohtaminen; arts management; organisaatio; organization; taide; arts; teatteri; theatre; identiteetti; identity; etnografia; ethnography
Pages: 115
Full text:
» hse_ethesis_14097.pdf pdf  size:2 MB (1084468)
Key terms: dramaturgical perspective; identity; theatres; art organizations; collective expertise; ethnographic research; organizational studies
Aim of the study:

The aim of this study is to explore the identity of those people, who work in theatres and co-operate in order to create the cultural products of theatres, meaning theatrical performances. In this thesis, identity is studied through the dramaturgical perspective presented by Erving Goffman (1959) in his book "The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life". Consequently, this thesis wishes to discover how the people studied present themselves in their everyday working life. In addition, this study also discusses how these people define their theatre, as well as how they interact in their everyday working life through their presentations of self. Overall, the aim of this study is to generate more knowledge of such people, who work in theatres, as well as more knowledge of theatres as art organizations.

Research method:

This ethnographic study was conducted in Kuopio City Theatre in Finland during spring 2014 with partial immersion to the field. The research methods utilized were participant observation and interviewing. The texts generated through these methods, then, were analyzed by using ethnographic analysis.


This thesis discusses the presentations of self of three different dramaturgical performance teams inside the theatre studied in this thesis. It is argued that the people, who work in this theatre, wish to be seen first and foremost as the experts of their designated field of theatrical work. Furthermore, they are argued to have strong capability to utilize collective expertise in the interaction situations of their everyday working life, as they aspire to create great theatrical performances. In addition, the study discusses several different definitions of the theatre that the people studied in this thesis promote through their presentations of self. From these promoted definitions of the theatre, it is derived that all the people working in this theatre project first and foremost such a reality, where it is of great importance that they present great theatrical performances for their spectators. Consequently, the people studied in this thesis are argued to have a strong product- and customer-orientation.
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