Behavior under the Condition of Anonymity: a Visual Analysis



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Taylor and Francis


Analyzing photographs of abandoned hotel rooms, we forensically classify hotel guests who left their rooms into three ideal types. Goffman’s idea of impression management is central for indicating ideal-type specific behavioral motivations. Under the condition of relative anonymity provided in hotel rooms, the audience for which guests manage impressions is either absent or the guests themselves who construct it. In the case of an audience to be seen as relevant it is either an internalized audience, guiding one’s behavior, or it is a real audience. We demonstrate that it is possible to classify guests according to forensic analysis of the clues that identify their behaviors as (1) authentic, that is independent from an audience, (2) guided internally by an imagined audience, or (3) influenced by the perception of a real audience. The sociological categories of power and status are used to systematically differentiate behaviors of our three ideal-typical classes of hotel guests.



Visual Sociology, Forensics, Impression Management, Anonymity, Photography, Ideal Types


Schneider, A., & Turner, T. (2017). Behaviour under the condition of anonymity: a visual analysis. Visual Studies, 32(2), 148-155. doi:10.1080/1472586x.2017.1323558