Jan 28, 2014
The self: how do we identify ourselves?
The self is the individual viewed as both the source and the object of reflexive behavior.
The self is active (initiates reflexive behavior) and passive (object toward whom reflexive
behavior is directed)
The active aspect of the self is the I and the object of self-action is the me.
The nature and genesis of self;
The self is the source of action when we plan, observe and control our own behavior.
The self is the object of action when we think about who we are.
Mead: Action and Internal Dialogue
Mead portrays action as guided by an internal dialogue.
People engage in conversations in their minds as they regulate their behavior.
They use words and images to symbolize their ideas about themselves, others their actions and
other’s responses to them.
There are three capacities human beings must acquire in order to engage in action:
Ability to differentiate themselves from other persons
See themselves and their own actions as if through others eyes
Use a symbol system or language for inner thought.
A conception of attitudes and expectations held in common by the members of the groups
When we imagine what the group expects of us, we are taking the role of the generalized other.
WE are also concerned with the generalized other when we wonder what people would say or
what society’s standards demand Cooley: looking glass self
The most important looking glasses for children are their paernts and family and, later, their
playmates. These are a child’s SIGNIFICANT OTHERS those who’s reflected views have greatest influence
on the child’s self-concepts
Mead identified to stages of social experience leading to the emergence of the self in children
In the play stage, children imitate activities of people around them.
In the game stage, children enter organized activities such as games of house, school and team
The process of imaginatively occupying the position of another person and viewing the self and
the situation from their perspective
Through role taking, a child learns to respond reflexively.
One of the earliest signs of role-taking is the correct use of the pronouns you and I.
The meanings attached to the self by one’s self and others.
Identities are linked to social roles we enact or our membership in social groups.
Identities may be associated with in-group favoritism and out-group stereotyping.
We form self-concepts through learning and adopting role and social identities.
Concepts of self in specific roles
For each role we enact, we develop a somewhat different view of who we are – an identity. The
role identities we develop depend on the social positions available to us in society.
A definition of the self in terms of the defining characteristics of a social group
Each of us associates certain characteristics with members of specific groups
If you define yourself as a member of the group, these characteristics become standards for
your thoughts, feelings, and actions.
The adoptin of role and social indetities
Self-schemas are formed in part by adopting identities. The identities available to us depend on whether the culture is individualist or collectivist
The self we enact expresses our identities.
The student identity: the suave person at the bar, online identity etc.
We choose behaviors to evoke responses from others that will confirm particular identities.
To confirm identities successfully, we must share with others our understanding of what these
behaviours and identities mean.
Hierarchy of identities
We organized different role identities into a hierarchy according to their salience, or relative
importance to the self-schema.
This hierarchy exerts a major influence on our decision to enact one or another identity.
Hierarchy of Identities
1. The more salient an identity, the more frequently we choose to perform activities to
2. The more salient an identity, the more likely we are to perceive that situations offer
opportunities to enact that identity.
3. We are more active in seeking opportunities to enact salient identities.
4. We conform more with role expectations attached to identities that we consider the most
Factors in the importance of a role identity:
The resources we have invested in constructing the identity (time, effort, and money e