Putting on the Game Face: The Staging of Emotions in Professional Hockey

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Charles P. Gallmeier California State University, Long Beach

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Dramaturgical analysis is used in a participant observation study of the emotional performances of professional hockey players before, during, and after professional games. The structure for the staging of these emotional displays is briefly described, but much more attention is placed on understanding the social processes involved in the mental or emotional preparation the players undergo in getting psyched up and “putting on the game face.” The staging of emotions is seen to evolve from expectation for emotional experience, to diffuse emotional readiness, and finally to quite specific emotional displays. The staging of emotions is shown to be directed by socialization agents (i.e., coach, trainer, teammates) who evoke rapidly shifting emotional expressions for each game day situation.

An earlier version of this paper was presented at the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport, October 30–November 2, 1986, Las Vegas, Nevada.

Direct all correspondence to Charles P. Gallmeier, Department of Sociology, 1250 Bellflower Blvd., California State University, Long Beach, CA 90840.
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