Behaviour under the condition of anonymity: a visual analysis

Andreas Schneider, Tom Turner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Analysing 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 behavioural 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 internalised audience, guiding one’s behaviour, 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 behaviours 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 behaviours of our three ideal-typical classes of hotel guests.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148-155
Number of pages8
JournalVisual Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 3 2017


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