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By Athanasia Chalari (auth.)

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Additional resources for Approaches to the Individual: The Relationship between Internal and External Conversation

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According to Simmel’s approach, the different parts of the individual can be in conflict (Spykman, 1965: 30). As previously stated, internal and external conversation can be in conflict and, in all likelihood, this happens very often. The relationship between internal and external conversation might take the form of a confrontational relationship. In everyday life, the individual faces a struggle between her inner orientations and social directions. This struggle does not result in a single decision that will place the individual on one or other bank of the river; rather, the continuous struggle forms the relationship between the individual’s internal needs and external forces (or internal and external conversation).

In any case, the mediator ‘knows’ both sides, that is, what the individual does not say and what she externalises. This is exactly how the Goffmanian mediator functions.

Ultimately, if one team can keep a secret from another team, so an individual can surely keep a secret from her own team. Who knows what the secrets are and who keeps secrets from whom? Goffman introduces another discrepant role which he calls the ‘go-between’ or ‘mediator’. The go-between learns the secrets of each side and gives each side the impression that she will keep its secrets. According to Goffman, the role of go-between seems to be especially significant in informal, convivial interaction.

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