SOC388 LEC 4.doc
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Today’s Key Words
•CONVERSATION OF GESTURES
•STAGES IN DEVELOPMENT OF SELF
•What’s important is to take the attitude of other people. We see how important
social interaction is in developing our minds and sense of self. Through social
interaction we can understand our sense of self
•This is what distinguishes us from animals. We can see ourselves and others
(through social interaction). We have a sense of self whereas animals do not.
this sense of self distinguishes ourselves as human beings.
•Cooley was born in 1864, died in 1949. He developed the idea of a looking
glass self (when the perceptions of others influence how you come to per-
ceive ourselves). The idea of a looking glass self has 3 stages.
2. The imagination of our appearance to the other
3. The imagination of their judgment of that appearance
4. Some sort of self feeling.
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•A feeling of psychosis we developing being of our imagination of others’ judg-
•What’s important for us to keep in mind is that word the imagination. We’re
never sure; we never know. How others perceive us influence how we think of
•E.g., We students may not love the prof but just her assumption that we love
her will make her more confident and do a better job teaching today.
•It’s all about perception. It may not be reality but perception is very powerful
•The idea was that our mind develops through our communication with others.
So for a long time people have been writing about this. The mind is first SO-
CIAL then individual (e.g., those experiments where kids grow up amongst
animals and behave like animals. Social interaction is important for develop-
•We develop through communication. Cooley was the first to try to develop how
the mind develops through communication with others.
•A psychologist named Tarde said we imitated the attitudes and manners we
saw around us. But Cooley argued forcibly that this had nothing to do with
imitation but rather communication and gestures with others that allows us to
develop our minds. Now Mead took this idea from Cooley but a big difference
between the two (and why Mead is more important for us than Cooley) was
that Mead was a behavioralist.
•So we can place Mead with two theories: behaviorism (an important psychologi-
cal tradition) and pragmatism (an important philosophical tradition).
•Whereas Cooley went more by methods of metaphysics and introspection,
Mead was focused with behavior (looking and observing behavior closely to
see how the mind developed- and doing sociology, we follow this method of
following human behavior to observe how we develop)
•So Tarde thought we developed our self through our imitation of others (e.g.,
let’s say you think somebody is cool and so you start mirroring their prefer-
ences of music, style, speech, etc.) but Cooley said that we share some kind
of meaning to our actions and if we incorporate our meaning of others’ ac-
tions to the
•Conversation of Gestures- even if we’re not talking and you’re not looking at
me, I can still perceive what you mean. So it’s only if we learn to perceive
meaning in actions that we can learn to communicate.
•What other important thing that Mead took from Cooley is that a lot of this is
what we call relational; just as we explained we can develop a sense of who
we are through meaning, our communication is relational. We always learn
words in association with other words (happy with unhappy, love with hate).
Cooley said the idea of I develops relationally and develops in relation to oth-
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