Social Psychology: Lecture 1
What is Social Psychology?
⁃ This class will take a sociological perspective.
⁃ Focus is on the “self” in society. The individual relationship between the self and
How is the Self formed?
⁃ This assumes that the self forms after birth. This is different from psychology which
argues innate characteristics.
⁃ The Self is not possible without society.
Paradox of Self in Society:
• Only individuals act yet individuals act only because they acquire the capability to do
so as members of society. Which is the source of their knowledge, language,
skills, orientations, motives, etc. (Textbook)
• Goffman says the individual is an actor – someone who plays a role or performs an
• Double involvement of self and society. We are both products and producers of
• Self as a product – shaped by outside forces
• Self as a producer – make changes in society.
Language is the key to the world you live in. It is the key to understanding who you are.
Language allows us to have the same experience.
Language is verbal and nonverbal. 98% of communication is nonverbal.
Social Structure vs Human Agency
Structure: larger forces beyond our control that constrain use
Example – Block to opportunities, class, race, sex. Membership to those groups can
exclude you from certain things. Prof says to think of it like a building. Some doors are
closed to you. You are not always able to go where you want.
Agency: The human will. That which gives us hope (makes us human) the possibility to
change the wor