No. 096


John F. Welsh 




Distributed as part of the TRANSFORMING SOCIOLOGY SERIES of The Red Feather Institute, 8085 Essex, Weidman, Michigan, 48893.




redfeth.gif (6856 bytes)ARCHIVES

of  the


of the





The Privatized Dramaturgy of Capitalist Society.

Sauntering through the typical franchise bookstore in the typical
suburban shopping mall, the radical social psychologist cannot help
chuckling and grimacing at the titles of the  slick paperbacks
usually found in the "self-improvement" and "Psychology"   sections.

A battery of titles exist giving evidence of a preoccupation with
mastering the principles of human relations as they exist in their
current  alienated forms.   

How to Sell Yourself,
The Power of Positive Thinking,
Winning Through Intimidation,
Looking Out For Number One,
Dress For Success,
The Executive Look,
Office Politics,
Power! How to Get It, How to Use It,
Your  Erroneous Zones and
Guerilla Tactics in the Job Market

are titles of books and workshops which speak of a concern on the
part of those in bureaucratic and/or  capitalist societies attempting
to succeed.   Furthermore, all of these indicate that interpersonal
strategies exist which can make success easier to attain.  

Of course, "success" in the present American lexicon refers
typically  to the crude possession of power, money, prestige and
the commodities which  accrue from these.    In addition, these
titles and their contents suggest that  the person can affect - to
some quantitative extent - the course of his/her  fortunes through
the development of a style, an image or a presentation of self that
is acceptable to those who control access to success and the valued 
commodities.    In these so-called self-improvement books are all
of the  elements of a fraudulent dramaturgy at the level of
interpersonal relations in  everyday life.    With the specific
reference to popular culture these provide  one of the best
illustrations of the existence of a dramaturgical society  (Young
and Massey, 1977).    Certainly, they indicate that human
interaction has become reduced in many instances to a ritualistic
acting out of externally  prepared scripts.   
 To the extent that persons read these self-improvement books,
attend the  various workshops and seminars, and generally orient
their thoughts and  behaviors as they are so taught, the efforts
constitute an important part of  the socialization process as they
offer detailed instruction on the mechanics  of self presentation. 
  Those who participate in the instruction of these  mechanics can
be referred to as "presentation coaches.  "  All socialization 
processes entail some form of presentation coaching since the self
is the  product of socialization and since the social process
requires the presentation of self to others.   
 In the presentation coaching found in the socialization processes
at the  ordinary human drama, significant others such as parents,
teachers,and peers  tend to encourage a form of self which is
capable of and oriented to authentic  social intercourse, social
bonding and human reciprocity.    In the presentation  coaching
offered by these "how to" guides to financial success, a technical 
cadre of behavioral experts encourages a form of self which is more
oriented  to privatizing, not sharing, human meanings, is more
oriented to external  guides for behavior such as money and
bureaucratic rules, is more oriented to  exploitation and private
advantage than equity and human reciprocity and is  much more
oriented to fraud and manipulation as modus operandi in everyday 
interactions (Young and Massey, 1977).   
     Consequently, although Benjamin Spock's books on child care
(1974; 1976)  and Judith Martin's "Miss Manners" guides on child
rearing (1983; 1984) can be  considered to be mass produced
examples of presentation coaching just as much as anything written
by Dale Carnegie, Wayne Dyer or Robert Ringer, it is clear that
there are substantial differences between them.    The personnel
and management training seminars offered by corporations such as
Padgett and Thompson (Kansas City Times 1984:) must be understood
as a qualitatively different form of presentation coaching than
that of parents attempting to teach a child table manners.   
     We can suggest that these socialization processes differ in
the following respects: 
     a)   the form of presentation coaching the socialized receive;
     b)   the social contexts in which they occur;
     c)   the social uses to which the forms of self-presentation
          are oriented and to which they are put; 
     d)   the forms of self they produce; and
     e)   the forms of interactional encounters which result.   
     There can be little doubt that Dale Carnegie, the grandfather
of capitalist, rationalized presentation coaching, is a major
ideologue in the mass inculcation of the principles of the
sociology of fraud at the interpersonal level.    Carnegie achieved
this through his books, lectures and the Institutes and seminars
which bear his name and method, in short, through his attempts and
technology for teaching persons "how to win friends and influence
people.  "
His personal story is often presented as a testament          to
the putative morality and validity of his methods.    The extent to
which the Carnegie technology has permeated interpersonal relations
is staggering.    At the present hundreds of Carnegie Institutes
exist internationally.    Thousands of Carnegie lectures are given
yearly in the U.  S.  A.   and in at least 45 other countries.   
How to Win Friends and Influence People (1981) has sold over
15,000,000 copies (Kansas City Times, 1981:C1) and even dated
paperback editions have gone through over one hundred printings
(Carnegie, 1964:III).   
     However, Carnegie's influence as a presentation coach does not
stop there, it continues in the imitative "how to" books and
workshops mentioned earlier. This analysis is about the
Carnegiesque form of presentation coaching, its social origins and
its consequences for human relationships.   
     At the outset it must be made clear that while my focus is on
Carnegie, especially what he presents in How to Win Friends and
Influence People, the basic argument pertains to any of these "how
to" guides to "self-improvement.  "All such efforts will be
referred to as "Carnegieism."  The enormity of the influence of
Carnegieism, its social base and its dramaturgical content make
this phenomenon an object of interest for a critical dramaturgical
     In attempting to ground Carnegie's work in an organizational
base, Charles Perrow (1979:67) is correct in positing that
Carnegieism began to flourish in an atmosphere of a shift of
capitalist legitimations from Chester Barnard's explicitly
authoritarian and exploitative management theory to the
"exploitation with a smile" perspective of Elton Mayo and the human
relations school of organization management theory as American
workers organized and developed social power.    However, it is not
enough to dismiss Carnegieism as a technique management uses to
induce workers to cooperate with the goals and values of the
capitalist organization.    Certainly Carnegieism does that, but
much more is involved.    Critical social psychology must examine
the content of this ideology and its social base.    To the extent
that it becomes an accepted part of the ideological culture,
Carnegieism serves as a guide with which to structure social
action.    Although every example of Carnegiesque presentation
coaching I reviewed promised its students a happier, fuller, more
rewarding life in ways additional to the pecuniary, it is clear
that pupils of Carnegieism suffer many forms of psycho-social abuse
as a consequence of their search for financial and personal rewards
(Hochschild, 1983a; 1983b).   
    Furthermore, it is clear that Carnegieism legitimates
destructive and alienative social relationships and it deserves to
be known as such.    The society in which such a falsification of
interpersonal relations can thrive and help reproduce itself needs
to be radically changed.   
 How to Win Friends and Influence People is the quintessence of
Carnegieism and it is the classic statement on capitalist
presentation coaching.    As presented in that book, Carnegie's
method is a clever and easily understood guide for dramaturgical
presentments in everyday life.    The "everyday life" mentioned
here is that of capitalist civil society.    In the social theories
of Thomas Hobbes (1982), Georg Hegel (1967) and Karl Marx (1970),
civil society is that form of social existence in which the
individual is pitted against every other individual, the bellum
omnium contra omnium.   Civil society need not be understood as the
will to physical battle or violence implied in the expression, "the
war of each against all.  "  However, within civil society
individuals eagerly and actively pursue their particular privatized
interests and do so without concern or regard for the collective
good or the well-being of other human individuals.    Some of
Carnegie's imitators are openly disdainful of such concerns
(Ringer, 1973; 1977).   
In capitalist civil society, freedom is freedom from common 
concerns, freedom from the public sphere, freedom from sociality
and freedom for privatized greed, avarice and privatized wealth.
The assumption is that the common good emerges out of the sum of
privately negotiated individual 'good.'    If wealth and social power
distributed equally among negotiating private parties, this
assumption might be valid, but even so, there are serious
structural flaws in this concept of freedom.    Civil society is a
system which elevates the rights of the egoistic individual, mainly
toward the protection of private property.    It is not really a
society, since the bonds between people are not social, nor is
there any guarantee that it is civil.   
     Among other things, Carnegieism assumes (1) that persons exist
within the objective facticity of capitalist civil society, (2)
that money or profit is the legitimate arbiter of social worth, and
(3) that each individual pursues a course of action which s/he
believes will lead to the maximization of money.   Theft and
physical violence are also roads toward making money.    The
presentation coaching of Carnegieism, however, emphasizes not fear
and threats but, instead, upon inducement and manipulation.    The
person who is forced to survive, make do or succeed within the
confines of capitalist civil society confronts a social and
economic environment that is essentially hostile and s/he is
dependent upon the judgments and decisions made by others - those
who control access to survival and success.    One can, therefore,
be successful - make money - or get promoted in a state or
corporate bureau by attempting to influence the attitudes and
decisions made by more powerful others.   
     Impression management, the art of staging one's self in order
to create a desired image of self for other, which was so
skillfully analyzed by Goffman (1959), becomes an overriding
concern of those attempting to survive and become successful in
capitalist civil society.    How to Win Friends and Influence
People is a compendium of impression management strategies for
making money or being successful in capitalist civil society, as
are all of the allied presentation coaching strategies.    Its
title might be more appropriately changed to How to Manage
Impressions in Order to Make Money.   This "self-improvement" book
instructs its readers and students in the fine art of "how to make
people like you" and "how to win people to your way of thinking. 
"  To be sure, the book comes off as a collection of simplistic
bromides and anecdotes, but the intention and overall effect is
clear:  if one is to achieve financial success under the conditions
of capitalist civil society, one must learn the "fundamental
techniques in handling people.  " 
 Carnegieism is an ideology which legitimates and encourages people
to interact strategically rather than with reciprocity.    It does not encourage 
those who must suffer the social conditions of capitalist civil society to
question or to oppose those conditions, but it does show people the
underlying logic of the social system and how to use this logic for
private advantage.    Carnegieism further assumes that there is an
essential and natural harmony between the value of making money,
which is the commonsense expression of the underlying logic of the
capitalist system, and other human values, including:  enthusiasm,
friendliness, helpfulness, cheerfulness and sincerity.    Thus, the
book and the capitalist presentation coaching movement has been
able to present Carnegieism in a proud tone and with a vocabulary
which almost succeeds in making the privatized dramaturgy appear
     For instance, Carnegie tells us to become genuinely interested
in other people (1964:110).    Being genuinely interested in other
people is a human value that is not always in harmony with the
capitalist value of making money.    It is obvious that the values
of making money and being genuinely interested in other people are
frequently in conflict.    What Carnegie is really saying is that
if one wants to make money, becoming genuinely interested in others
helps.    Genuine interest in others is not a value except that it
helps one to make money.    This genuine interest is an instrument
to be used to make money.    Functionally, since Carnegieism
assumes the ahistorical givenness of the logic of capitalist civil
society, it necessarily subordinates genuine interest to the making
of money and, thus, in situations in which conflict between the two
arise, making money wins out.   
 There is a very real sense in which Carnegieism reflects the basic
instability and contradiction of capitalism:  people cannot
indefinitely subordinate human values to making money, but if they
do not, the very existence of capitalism is threatened.   
Historically, capitalism has developed a variety of
rationalizations of legitimations attempting to smooth over these
contradictions and maintain at least a semblance of equilibrium.  
 It should not be surprising that Carnegieism, which is one of
these, instructs people in everyday life how to smooth over the
contradictions which threaten to tear the system apart.   
Carnegieism accomplishes this by means of thorough training in
manipulating what sociologists call "vocabularies of motive"
(Mills, 1940).   
     With selected vocabularies of motive one can legitimate,
either authentically or fraudulently, one's behavior and/or impel
another to a desired behavior through the careful selection of
words or rhetoric the other will accept.    One of Carnegie's rules
for "making people like you" is to talk "in terms of the other
person's interests" (1964:94-97).    Under capitalist conditions of
production and distribution, the overriding concern of the
isolated, egoistic individual is just making money.    Why, then,
talk in terms of the other's interests?  The answer is, to
manipulate them in order to take private advantage.    
In capitalist civil society wealth is not understood to be
collectively produced and it is certainly not collectively enjoyed. 
Instead, wealth is accumulated by individuals pursuing their
privatized interests and it is "enjoyed: as such.    Thus, when the
Carnegie Pupil talks in terms of the other's interest one does so
for the purpose of making money.
Furthermore, since there is no necessary harmony between making
money and other human values, one's talk does not have to match
with the reality of the situation.    Carnegie is simply saying
that if we want to make money, then we must develop a rhetoric or
a vocabulary of motive which appeals to the other's interest.   
Corporations which peddle noxious, dangerous products such as
Coca-Cola, attempt to sell their wares through advertising slogans
which talk in terms of the other's interest.    "Coke adds life,"
is one example of talk in terms of the other's interest, but it is
not matched by the chemical capacity of the beverage.    
     It is probably true that all successful forms of exploitation
and manipulation either arise from or are maintained by the
powerful other talking in terms of the exploited's interests.    
The logic of capitalist commodity relations, that is, the
extraction of surplus value, is good for the workers.
	Ask any capitalist.
Ghettoes build character for Blacks.
	Ask any slum lord.
Women want and need subordinate roles.
	Ask any sexist.
Blessed are the meek...
	Ask any religious functionary.
     So, when Carnegie urges us to talk in terms of the other
person's interest he is simply saying:  in order to make money we
must adopt whatever rhetoric or vocabulary that the other will
accept.    Within capitalist civil society, altruistic, collective
and nonpecuniary relationships will not work to accumulate wealth
nor will such vocabularies; appeals to egoistic, privatized and
pecuniary interests will.   Conflict, exploitation, injustice and
confrontation are excluded as manifest concerns of the interaction
Once one understands that Carnegieism (1) elevates making money
above all other human values and (2) legitimates the orientation of
all interaction toward that end, the illusion that the ideology is
about self-improvement, making friends and influencing people
becomes apparent.    It may be useful to translate some of
Carnegie's rules on the basis of these very points.    What follows
is an attempt to do this by listing Carnegie's rule and
interpreting the rule from the standpoint of a critical
dramaturgical analysis.
What Carnegie Says: 
Critical Interpretations: 
You can affect the impressions others have of you if you master
these six rules. Remember, you want to succeed, others control the
things that determine your success, so act strategically, not
1.    Become genuinely interested in other people.   
This has value because it can enable you to make money.    Do not
bother with genuine interest in persons who cannot help your
career, who cannot buy your product, or who demand equity or  
 advantage in negotiations.   
2.    Smile.   
This is a ploy.    It is not intended to express a state of
happiness nor is it an attempt to create a social bond.    It is an
expression which disarms others.    Take advantage of this.   
Smile even when you do not feel like it.    You'll make more money.   
3.    Remember that a person's name is to him/her the  
   sweetest and most important sound in any language.   
If you are going to impress someone positively, you must attempt
to create the dramaturgical impression that the other really exists
as a significant entity.    They do not count for much to you but
saying their names makes them believe that.   
4.    Be a good listener.  
   Encourage others to talk about themselves.    The more you learn
about others, the better you'll be able to interact strategically. 
  Encouraging them to talk about themselves will cause them to
believe that they are the center of your concern.   Moreover, it
will enable them to massage their own egos and, thus, it will
disarm them further.   
 5.    Talk in terms of the other person's interest.   
 Vocabulary is very important in strategic interaction.   In
capitalist civic society, other's motives tend to be of a crude,
pecuniary sort.   You can appeal to these by carefully selecting
how you will say things.    If other believes s/he will benefit by
the ensuing relationship, s/he will be very likely to endorse it. 
  Remember, the other's interests do not have to be served, they
only have to appear to be served.    Thus, although the other might
be inconvenienced, exploited or ruined by the ensuing action, they
will agree to the script if you are clever enough in your
presentation of it to create an impression that their interests are
being served.   
 6.    Make the person feel important and do it sincerely.   
In capitalist civil society people are measured by power and money
and the prestige which results from these.    Your own pecuniary
interest will be served by conveying to others that you  
 believe them to be important.    Others will be more likely to see
their interests being served if you do so.    Oh, yes, the
concomitant presentation of security is crucial in this effort.   
Your success in a market society is dependent upon what others
think.    By following these guides you can have considerable
control over what others think.    If you are clever, you can
control the definition of the situation and thereby control the
interactional encounter.   
1.    The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it. 
Capitalism is full of contradictions and conflicts of interest.   
Arguments are bad because they indicate and clarify conflicts of  
interests.    You will benefit if you act as if your interests are
in harmony with those of others.   
2.    Show respect for the other person's opinions.    Never tell
a person s/he is wrong.   
This is a ploy.    If you tell a person s/he is wrong you will
appear to dominate the situation  and other will be uncomfortable
in your  presence.  You can avoid this and still dominate  the
situation by always appearing to be respectful.  Your craft is to
determine how successfully you can appear to find merit in other's
ideas and still have yours dominate.   
3.    If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.   
Another ploy here.    When you admit error you create the
impression of honesty and people respect honesty and are disarmed
by it.  Others will feel comfortable in your presence if you do
this.  Remember, you are doing this not out of love of any truth,
but because appearing to be honest will get you farther.   
4.    Begin in a friendly way.
Recall the importance of the symbolic environment in controlling
the social definition of the situation. You are out to control
minds. If you begin in an impersonal way, others will realize that
you are not really interested in them in human terms.  If you begin
in a friendly way, others will be disarmed.  Although their needs
may be opposed to yours, you can win them over through this type of
spurious disarmament.
5. Get the other saying "yes, yes"immediately.  
The more successful you are at establishing the appearance of
agreement, intersubjectivity and common ground, the harder it will
be for your adversary to separate his/her interests from yours. 
Thus, the easier it will be for your definition of the situation to
dominate in the interactional encounter.   
6.  Let the other person do a great deal of talking. 
You can quickly learn their vulnerabilities and avoid revealing
7. Let the other person feel the idea is his/hers.   
You are out to make money.  Under capitalist processes of
accumulation you have to turn other people into instruments of your
will in order to accomplish this. Just think how much easier the
problems of control and domination are when the subordinates not
only accept their domination but feel that it was their own idea! 
8. Try honestly to see things from the other person's point of
This form of honesty is an important means to making money. If you
try honestly to see things from the other's view point, numerous
benefits will accrue. You will have an accurate idea whether they
will be of use to you. You don't want to waste time on others if
they aren't useful. Further, the information will better enable you
to interact strategically. Inaccurate understanding of another's
needs and weaknesses foils one's own goals.
9. Be sympathetic with the other person's ideas and desires. 
This ploy has a number of justifications. Sympathy creates the
appearance of common ground and intersubjectivity. In any event,
your sympathy is purposive-rational, it is a means toward making
money. Sympathy will elicit sympathy from the other for your own
10.  Appeal to the nobler motives.
This is a strategic use of a higher immorality to succeed and
influence people. Few like to think of one's own self as an immoral
opportunist whose primary value is money.  Thus, the goal of making
money can often be furthered better by appealing to personal
growth, human development, community, freedom and justice than by
avarice and competition. So, legitimate your business deals by
appealing to more human, personal and social vocabularies. Chances
will be better in getting others to accept that your motives are
commendable. To the extent that they accept these, they will not
complain about unequal exchange. In Goffman's terms, the mark will
be "cooled out by your use of ethics, morality and cherished social
values.  The Higher Immorality often trumps everyday moralities.
11. Dramatize your ideas.
Here we are speaking of a particular type of drama; that of
involved in the sociology of fraud. In order to be successful you
must be in control of the situation. To be completely on top  of
the situation you must stage it effectively.  The better you can
construct the environment, both physically and symbolically, the
better your chances of positively influencing those who are useful
to your purposes.
12.   Throw down a challenge.
In capitalist civil society, people are motivated not only by
vocabularies of self and social mobility, they are also motivated
by vocabularies of competition, victory and conquest. They like to
think of self as "rugged individualists."  Your strategy for
success, getting others to do what you want, can be enhanced if you
make other imbue the task with "real" meaning. "Successful"
individuals in capitalist cum civil society learn to dominate,
whether it involves persons, situations or nature.  If you can
verbalize the task as one demanding superior skill, endurance or
brains, the other will be likely to accept the challenge.  Note
that you do not have to think that the task is worth while or
involving meaning or accomplishment, except that it helps to
achieve your interests, you only have to get the other to define it
as such.  
     As with all ideologies, Carnegieism makes certain assumptions
about human nature and further assumes that these are valid
throughout all time and space.  Paramount among these assumptions
is that the aim of all human activity is for profit or making
money.  Carnegieism thus assumes that capitalist civil society
encompasses the totality of all possible human relations.  It is
significant that How to Win Friends and Influence People was
originally a textbook or manual for one of Carnegie's courses for
businesspeople.  Originally, its title was Public Speaking and
Influencing Men in Business.  Carnegie assumes that all human
interaction boils down to attempts to profit at the expense of
others; if he did not assume that the capitalist format of
entrepreneurial relations informed every social occasion, he would
not have attempted to generalize his guide--intended for
influencing people in business--to every domain of life
     Once the universality of the relations of the clearly
capitalistic civil society is assumed, the goal of private,
personal profit is reified into the fixed and absolute end of human
activity without any thought of its dereification.  Thus, although
Carnegie says that we should be genuinely interested in others and
sincere in our approach, it must be emphasized that these become
empty invocations as the moral rules are eternally contingent on
profit and financial success.  One does not take Carnegie's course
in order to make friends and influence people for the sake of
friendship and human community.   One takes the course to learn
principles of human relations in capitalist civil society in order
to make money or maximize profit.
     It is clear that Carnegie's sermons on the sociology of fraud
depend upon and are oriented toward profit.  He does not tell us to
do as we feel.  He does not tell us to smile if we feel like
smiling and frown if we feel like frowning.  Instead, he tells us
to smile even if we do not want to smile because smiling is a more
certain avenue to success than is frowning.  Carnegieism does not
value authenticity, genuineness and sincerity because these are
ultimately good or because they are part of an unalienated human
situation or because they are necessary for the formation of social
bonds and the creation of culture.  Instead, he tells us that these
have an instrumental value, they are instrumentally rational, they
can lead to money, profit and success.
     The fact that Carnegieism elevates money, profit and financial
success above all other possible human values changes the form of
human drama that will be performed in such interactional
encounters.  Because Carnegieism externalizes and reifies money,
profit and financial success, human drama loses its autonomous and
social character and is reduced to puppet theater.   In puppet
theater, the reified object pulls the strings and persons lose the
ability to create their social life-worlds and, therefore, lose
their ability to constitute themselves as species beings.
     The entire corpus of Marx's work can be interpreted as a
protest against the externalization and reification of cultural
objects such as profit and financial success.  From the critical
standpoint, this process inevitably results in the inversion of
subjects and objects and the mystification of the relations between
humans, and between humans and their environment (Marx, 1964; 1970;
     Similarly, Castoriadis (1980) has maintained that the
heteronomy or rule by external laws, principles, objects and so on
must be overthrown if the fully human condition of autonomous
society is to be realized.  From this perspective, the motto of the
fully human, fully autonomous society is:"We are those whose law is
to give ourselves our own laws" (Castoriadis, 1980:98).  Under
conditions in which laws, principles or cultural objects have
become externalized and reified, humans lose control of their world
and become mere puppets acting out a ritualistic drama in a puppet
     Shutz comments on the human losses encountered by those who
have been reduced to puppets:
     "The puppet is not born, s/he does not grow up, and s/he will
     not die; s/he has no hopes and no fears; s/he does not know
     anxiety as a chief motive of all his/her deeds.  S/he is not
     free in the sense that his/her acting could transgress the
     limits of his/her creator...(The puppet) is never a subject of
     a center of spontaneous activity.  S/he does not have the task
     of mastering the world,and, strictly speaking, s/he has no
     world at all.  His/her destiny is regulated and determined
     beforehand by his/her creator... "(1970:107-108).
     When human behavior is organized under conditions of puppet
theater, that is, when "social action"is externally controlled with
the concomitant reification of cultural objects, the inversion of
subject and object, and the mystification of social relations,
people develop strategies to meet their needs, to cope with the
situation, and to maintain the pretense of the existence of a
socially created paradigm.
     The value of the sociologies of everyday life, especially
dramaturgy and ethnomethodology, is that they give us conceptual
tools which clarify the strategies people will use in everyday life
in order to survive under alienated conditions.  One such
conceptual tool which is very helpful in understanding the puppet
theater of Carnegieism is the notion of "mutual pretense" (Glaser
and Strauss, 1975).
     Mutual pretense refers to situations in which all participants
in alienated interactional encounters do not mean what they say, or
they do not attach subjective meaning to their objective gestures. 
An easy Carnegiesque example here might be the case of an officer
and an enlisted person saluting each other and neither really
meaning the respect implied by the salute.  Both say to self, "I am
merely going through the motions of saluting.  I am doing this
because I have to, not because I want to or because I believe in
     By now, the social and human problems involved in such
processes must be apparent.  Note, however, that this is not a
fully human and social interactional frame precisely because both
are denying meaning.  Rather than being genuinely reciprocal, the
behavior of both is manipulated and controlled by the externalized
and reified rule structure of the military hierarchy.  The basic
assumptions of symbolic interaction theory and phenomenology are
not in a situation where intention is masked and meaning is not
shared.  It is an exercise in mystified research to treat such
occasions as social.
     Carnegieism involves a reduction of human drama to puppet
theater.  All of the actors, who have become cheerful deceivers,
behave not because their overt act has meaning to them but because
it is required by the externalized and reified cultural object:the
directive to make money.  Carnegieism is puppet theater since all
interactional encounters are preempted by the external and absolute
value of profit in capitalist civil society.  Inter-action
inevitably is nothing more than the ritualistic mimesis of the
externally prepared script.  Under conditions of puppet theater,
dramaturgy is abased and reduced to mere instrument or technique;
Carnegieism is a fetishism of technique which annihilates the
intentional character of human activity.  
     Following the lead of Marx, Castoriadis and Schutz, as well as
all others who protest against the reduction of persons and social
relations to the status of mere things, an authentic human drama
negates the externalization and reification of cultural objects. 
An authentic human drama would allow for the questioning by persons
of profit, making money and financial success as human values and
would insist on the absolute ability to change these.   Further, it
would allow for persons to improvise and create new norms and
values should the old be demonstrated to not meet human needs. 
Carnegieism, as evidenced by its exhortations to smile even when
you do not want to smile and to demonstrate respect for the other's
opinions even when you do not in order to make money, is a scheme
that essentially functions to alienate humans from each other and
to dehumanize the social and cultural world.  To the extent that
Carnegieism permeates the consciousness of the populace, it is a
repressive ideology which keeps people in the condition of mere
things while the reified objects continue to pull the actors here,
there and everywhere in pursuit of money.  
     The critical dramaturgical perspective attempts to maintain
the connection between the legitimations and strategies of the
sociology of fraud and their social origins.  It must be emphasized
that Carnegieism emerged from a peculiar social base and functions
to reproduce the social base by providing guides for social action. 
I suggest that Carnegieism has emerged from and legitimates three
interrelated processes of capitalist civil society:alienation,
reification and commodity fetishism.
     The Marxist understanding of capitalism maintains that the
individual is forced to sell his/her labor power on the job market
as a commodity in order to exist materially.  The Marxist critique
of the alienation and dehumanization which ensues from this process
is certainly sufficient to condemn it, however, Carnegie's
legitimation of puppet theater points to still newer dimensions of
alienation and dehumanization.
     Carnegieism instructs us that not only does the capitalist own
the labor power of the person, the capitalist owns the individual's
integrity as well, since the person is forced to further dramatize
this labor power to the capitalist or those who control access to
the conditions of material survival.
     The one theme which runs through the entirety of Marx's work
is the argument that under conditions of capitalist commodity
production humans lack control over the social forces they everyday
create.  This surrender of control is called alienation and the
basis of alienation is the private ownership of the means of
production; including the jobs and the tasks assigned to each job.
     Private property enables the corporate and bureaucratic
masters to appropriate the surplus value of the workers.  There is
nothing mysterious about the social origins of alienation in class
society.  It comes about as a consequence of the separation of the
producers from the conditions of production, and the separation of
the producers from what they produce.  When people lose control of
the means of production, when they are made dependent upon a
market, they lose control over their lives, their activity, their
products, their personal characters and their presentations of
self.  Some can regain some control by recourse to the sociology of
     These by-products of social relations come to confront people
as hostile, alien objects rather than being their fulfillment or
their authentic self-expressions.  Carnegieism is both a reflection
of and a legitimation for the alienation of capitalist society as
it is a strategy instructing persons in how to turn others into
mere instruments and how to be successful according to and under
the rules of capitalist social relations.
     Alienation accompanies two other processes which abase human
drama: reification and commodity fetishism.  When people experience
their social products, their activities and their personal
characteristics as not their own, reality becomes something which
is essentially nonhuman.  Reification is a dehumanizing process in
which inert, nonliving objects control people rather than the other
way around.  What was once a subject becomes an object and what was
once an object becomes a subject.  Under capitalism the market is
a process which is not controlled by human intervention and is not
oriented toward human need satisfaction, but is the stage on which
the objects exercise their control over people.  This process,
which reduces social relationships to commodity relationships, is
called commodity fetishism and it occurs because the human use of
objects is no longer important; it is superseded by the use of
money as a goal and as a medium of exchange.  Reification and the
fetishism of commodities indicate a transformation of the nature of
human action.  When these are present, human drama becomes puppet
theater since the actors are not autonomous but are controlled
     Carnegieism is an important element in the perpetuation of
puppet theater as it assumes that the external controls on human
behavior, such as the profit motive, are good, just, necessary
and/or absolute.  At best, Carnegieism offers a badly dis-figured
form of human drama.  Human intentionality, creativity and
rationality are everywhere subordinated to the externalized and
reified cultural constructs governing the inverted form of human
drama found in capitalist civil society.  
     It remains the task of a critical dramaturgy to dereify the
constructs and to aid in the transformation of the commodity
relations into fully social relations.  The alienation of
capitalist society, which results inevitably from the capitalist
mode of commodity production, forces upon persons a character, a
set of roles and masks that are not of their own making.  It is the
critical project to uncover the origins of the social relations of
puppet theater under which people are forced to live and the
obstacles to people living the lives of authentic human actors. 
The critical dramaturgical problematic is to expedite the social
transition of humans from unconscious puppets to the conscious
actors and authors of their own social drama.  
     The emancipated individual is an actor whose character is not
imposed by the external forces of nature or of commodity fetishism. 
The autonomous society is one which is self-directed and not
controlled by external directives from God, nature or the laws of
supply and demand.  To the extent that the process of alienation
obtains in any given socio-historical situation, the bearers of
false roles and false characters wear masks with which to cover
their authentic faces and thus present mystifying selves to the
external world.  Further, those who exist under such conditions
live by externally prepared and imposed scripts.  At the present
phase of the capitalist form of commodity production, Carnegieism
is a veritable manual for masking faces for mystifying social
relations.  Carnegieism thus aids in the literal covering of
society with a tissue of lies.  And it does so with very good
reasons.  A society which masks selves and mystifies social
relations is one that has something to hide; from the critical
Marxist standpoint, the exploitation of labor, or the fraudulent
reciprocity of labor and capital, is the hidden principle, the
origin of the dramaturgical society reflected in Carnegieism.  
     A society based upon the usurpation and alienation of social
power must disguise itself through the creation of fraudulent and
mystifying scripts.   Carnegieism, a false script, an externally
prepared ideology, functions to occlude and perpetuate the
existence of the alienated social relations by legitimating
inauthenticity, subordinating all human values to profit and
externalizing the guides for human action.  The critique of
Carnegieism, that puppet drama which precludes persons from
authentically creating their own scripts, roles and characters and
which insists that they bear false roles and masks, is part of the
theoretical means for overcoming the processes which impose an
alienated character upon the individual and society.  A socialist
revolution is the practical means by which the false drama is
replaced by an authentic drama.  
     By instructing us to alienate our subjective meanings from our
objective gestures, to interact strategically for the sole end of
profit, and to adopt falsely vocabularies of motives, Carnegieism
ensures that the heroic qualities of the oppressed will continue to
be masked by the grotesque and that the mediocre personages of the
corporate and bureaucratic stage managers will continue to play
falsely heroic roles and wear heroic masks.  The puppet theater of
capitalist civil society is not damaged, it is strengthened by the
absorption of the principles of Carnegieism into the collective
consciousness.  What can and will overthrow the false dramaturgy to
which Carnegieism speaks is the demand on the part of the oppressed
for authentic, dis-alienated and de-mystified social relations.  
     The clown, the fool, and the child have played this part in
theater history.  However, this demand is necessarily also a demand
for a qualitative change in social relations at the level of
everyday life.  Carnegieism is an ideology that mystifies
friendship and legitimates only unearned social influence. 
However, capitalism remains the basic problem and until it is
overthrown and replaced by a more humane form of social
relationships, ideologies such as Carnegieism will continue to mask
selves and mystify social bonds.  In critical theater, the
Falstaffs, the Totos and the Marx brothers can demystify pretense
and mutual deception.  For society as a whole, collective action
toward a praxis society is necessary.
The possibility of the puppet coming to realize his/her own
estrangement from the human condition, to reject authentically
social life-world is found in the objective consequences of the
puppet's life.  The drama of puppet theater is one characterized by
misery, disappointment and despair.  The alienation and commodity
fetishism of capitalist society which permeate social relations at
the level of everyday life guarantee that attempts at human social,
mutual endeavor always fail.  As with other forms of magic, failure
can be explained away.  The explanation of failure is one of the
functions of the power of positive thinking presented by
Carnegieism.  But year after year of false promise, false hopes,
false ambition and false realization creates the epistemological
break which enables the puppet to resist and transcend such a
destructive social life-world.
     Against the insincere world of Carnegieism, against management
science and the mass jockeying of each against all, there stand as
beacons the real satisfaction of authenticity, the
intersubjectivity and mutual aid in those precious fragments of
social life still insulated from the privatized, inter-personal
dramaturgy offered by Carnegieism.  Young people, newly approaching
their full sociality, can see in great clarity the meaninglessness
and false-hood of such lives.  Often this clarity of perception is
apprehended and expressed in the popular expletive, "bullshit."
     However, some young people become cynical and seek to fulfill
self only through personal accumulation and power.  For these,
Carnegieism becomes a modus operandi for everyday interactions. 
The falsity and meaninglessness is legitimated by the accumulation
or hope of accumulation of commodities and power.  Most young
people, upon appreciating the dilemma, learn to play the game in
quiet despair.  Others attempt to repair mutilated selves through
religions which promise better formats for social living.  Many
become rebels and, in the right circumstances, revolutionaries.  
     For the puppet, emancipation and the recapture of social life
is pre-figured in the story of Pinocchio.  Created as a puppet by
Geppeto, Pinocchio has all the self-centered characteristics of a
Carnegie pupil.  Frustrated by life with Geppeto, Pinocchio ran
away.  The reunification of Geppeto and Pinocchio rendered both
more congenial to the human condition albeit within the structure
of parent-dominated family life.  In the Collodi original, the
emancipatory project is to become a good boy, the path is through
love and the result is the denial of self, the very opposite of a
well-trained Carnegie pupil (Wunderlich, 1979).  While the
reciprocity between self and other is always problematic to the
situation, neither the privatized self of capitalist civil society
masked by the cheap dramaturgy of Carnegieism, nor the collapsed
self of Collodi speaking for all the anguished parents in the
deteriorated world of childish greed bespeak an adequate resolution
of the issue.  Each points clearly to the need for emancipatory
social change, but both offer only the safer politics of privatized
     There exists a third response, that of revolt, which leads to
a more human, more productive, more satisfying social life-world
than either that legitimated by Carnegie or that envisioned by
Collodi.  The third response must be that of the pursuit of
authentically socialist social relations.   Human use, community
and a competent self system rather than accumulation, profit and
private display provide the new logic of an authentically socialist
life-world.  It is toward that social life-world and against the
fraudulent, privatized use of dramaturgy that this analysis and
critique are aimed.  
     Dramaturgy is central to the human project.  However, its use
to mask interpersonal politics as in Carnegieism or societal level
politics in the public sphere destroys its human character and
potential.  Ideally dramaturgy is used to celebrate life, community
and to renew cherished human relation-ships.  Surprise, spectacle,
staging and awe do have the capacity to elevate humans from the
mundane routine of everyday life, to separate the ordinary from the
sacred, to refresh our collective memories of ancient wrongs
righted and glorious deeds done in human service.  To use this
wondrous capacity for profit and private greed, to elevate
Carnegieism and the world which it defends is a pathetic sight. 
That such a privatized dramaturgy joins with other forms of
ugliness to subvert the human condition is all the more repugnant.
Dramaturgy must be put to services more important than that of
selling cars, beers, politicians or false friendships.
     It is clear that dramaturgy can contribute to alienation and
human oppression.  It is also clear that dramaturgy can be oriented
to the human project of opening new possibilities, new insights on
the present and new ways to create and enjoy life and society. 
These uses of dramaturgy are not fore-closed by capitalism and its
linkage of dramaturgy to profit concerns.  This linkage, as
expressed in Carnegieism, does cheapen, trivialize and degrade
dramaturgy to a huckster's craft.  This degeneration of dramaturgy
points to the original meaning of the word, "profane.  "To reduce
something to the everyday routine of capitalist civil society and
to use it for private purposes is a profanity.   Carnegieism
profanes dramaturgy and, thus, cheapens human life.  It creates a
puppet theater false to the promise and delight of friendship,
sympathy, sincerity and honesty.  It is a facsimile of social life
and a cartoon of success.  Such a theater cries out for rebellion. 
Such a theater is a symptom of a pathological society.  Such a
dramaturgy is a warning, not an invitation.

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