This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Bargain Theater: A Dramaturgical Analysis of a Flea Market




Medlin, Allison

Type of Degree





More than five thousand flea markets are conducted each year in the United States alone (Karch, Andriola and Berman 2002). Of those five thousand plus, little is known of their visitors, their vendors, their management, their behind-the-scenes operations and other features of social and economic importance. Flea markets are, therefore, an untapped resource of insight into human behavior of sociological significance. Much can be learned of social interaction through the scope of the flea market setting, but little has been researched thus far. For the purpose of this thesis, the Lee County Flea Market was observed and analyzed employing Erving Goffman?s Theory of Dramaturgy, a perspective that utilizes the metaphor of drama and theater to interpret human behavior in everyday life (Turner and Edgley 1976). Through this dramaturgical analysis, this thesis elicits: The types and functions of social interaction found in the flea market setting, in hopes of gaining new insight into patterns of social interaction of everyday life.