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Christian O.Caron

SOC448H1s: PRESENTATION WEEK 7— READINGS: HEISE/MACKINNON— THEORIES OF IDENTITIES AND SELVES—CHAPTER 7 (163-197) • In this chapter, Heise and MacKinnon looked to establish the distinctiveness of their theory of self and identity and to identify continuities and dis-continuities with other theories. • Compare and contrast their theory with seven others: o Social psychology of Mead (1934), o 3 theories exemplifying the structure school within symbolic interactionism; 1. McCall and Simmons (1966; 1978), 2. Stryker (1968; 1980), 3. Burke (e.g., 1980; 1991), o Theories representing the process school of symbolic interactionism; 1. Perinbanayagam (2000) 2. Wiley (1994), o 2 identity theories from psychology; 1. Social identity theory (e.g., Tajfel 1969, 1970) 2. Self-categorization theory (Turner 1985; Turner et al. 1987). Cybernetic thinking: relevant to the study of systems, such as mechanical, physical, biological, cognitive, and social systems. Seen in feedback loops Structure: Summarize the prior theory, Compare it to theirs,  Whether the prior theory takes affect as well as cognition into account:  How it explains human motivation:  Whether it incorporates cybernetic and semiotic perspectives:  How it explains the integration and stability of self: Author’s View: MEAD Theory: Social Psychology Points of theory: Concept of reflexive self: ­ A reflexive mind and consciousness ­ Shown in delayed response to stimuli and contemplation, selection, and rehearsal of actions that characterizes purposeful human behaviour “The act”: a functional, goal-directed, and time bounded segment of behaviour ­ Used as unit of analysis for the reflexive self ­ The act is also a process of negative feedback and control ­ “The thing that you are going to do is playing back on what you are doing now”. Language: significant symbols evoke the same cognitive response or meaning in the communicator as in the recipient. Symmetry of response. ­ Objective: build a genuine social psychology that could not be reduced to individual or general psychology Whether the prior theory takes affect as well as cognition into account: Takes a cognitive approach. Mead excluded emotions from his theory because he saw that as lacking this symmetry of response How it explains human motivation: Mead emphasized the functions of social conflict and the evolutionary nature of social change focused on conflict between individuals or groups, rather than between individuals and the larger society. Motivation is therefore brought about by the reflexive consciousness; leading to conflict resolution and social change Whether it incorporates cybernetic and semiotic perspectives: Mead anticipated the cybernetic control principle of modern systems theory long before the term was invented He developed social psychology on the bedrock of language: significant symbols How it explains the integration and stability of self: Mead viewed the self as integrated because the self is a small-scale version of the larger society. By implication, the stability of individual selves is also a function of the stability of society itself Author’s View: Mead failed to develop a theory of human motivation because he dismissed affect from his social psychology. They adopt Mead’s view that the organization of self-conceptions is influenced by the organization of society itself. Their theory: self- conceptions mobilize self-confirming identities and identity confirming actions only indirectly through the self-sentiments that they evoke. M CC ALL AND S IMMONS Theory: Symbolic Interactionism Points of theory: “The content of a given role-identity continually changes as alters and institutions enter and pass out of the person’s life stream” Emphasize the situational improvised nature of an identity and its corresponding role. ­ Interactive role: a combination of the conventional and the idiosyncratic, cultural expectations and individual personality. ­ Role-identities: allow vicarious (learning through observing the experience of others) performances of a role before actually execution an action; role-identities serve as personal criteria for assessing one’s thoughts and actions. Performances enacted in a situation depend on a fluid hierarchy of identities, which they refer to as a salience hierarchy Whether the prior theory takes affect as well as cognition into account: Theory is mostly cognitive. Looks the changing of role identity based on expectations and feedback How it explains human motivation: Distinction between internal and external factors. ­ Internal: the imaginative views of oneself in social situations tend to be idealized and exaggerated. One’s conduct is consistent with the imaginative view of oneself in a social position ­ External: identity legitimation requires the social support of external audiences. Due to imperfect performances and demanding audiences this is not always achieved. Tension results when the reality of one’s identity does not match with the impressions from the external world. Reduction of this tension becomes the basis for human motivation. Additional motivation arises from one’s wish to fulfill his role and live according to his role identities so to fit their social position. Mechanisms: ­ Individual’s selective perception of his or her own actions, ­ Selective interpretation of the response of an external audience to these actions. The failure of these mechanisms results in self-derogation and a sense of unworthiness Whether it incorporates cybernetic and semiotic perspectives: This theory is described as lacking cybernetic perspective How it explains the integration and stability of self: Determinants of an identity’s location in the salience hierarchy include its location in the prominence hierarchy, the person’s need for support of the identity, and the intrinsic and the extrinsic gratification derived from its enactment With this in mind, McCall and Simmons argue that the salience hierarchy shifts with the rewards obtained in an encounter, ­ That is with the exception of prominence, which is not affected by a single encounter. ­ Thus, prominence is predictive of long-term behaviour while salience is predictive of short-term behaviour. They also present a Dramaturgical metaphor: (Goffman –stage, actors, and audience) As a social object, a character can become a “persona” if repeatedly assigned to the person in encounters with specific others. McCall and Simmons associate the self as actor with the I; the self as audience with the me; and they treat identities as a third analytical aspect of the self, the self as character. Author’s View: McCall and Simmons’ theory is very similar to the author’s theory (although theirs lack the exchange metaphor and the limited use of the dramaturgical metaphor) Main similarities: ­ Their emphasis on the reflexive nature of the self as an internal dialogue mirrors Heise and McKinnon’s Conceptualization of self and their model of the self-process. ­ Both place emphasis on constructionism -the construction of social reality, and the construction of self as a social object, a product of social acts. Differences: ­ Heise and MacKinnon do not emphasize the dramaturgical metaphor and the exchange metaphor ­ McCall and Simmons’ theory of self is mostly a cognitive one while Heise and MacKinnon’s is formulated in terms of the affective associations evoked by cognitions of self ­ Absence of cybernetic thinking in McCall and Simmons’ work. ­ Heise and MacKinnon locate the organization and stability of self in the self- sentiments attached to an individual’s persona, rather than to identity prominence or salience per se like McCall and Simmons so. STRYKER Theory: Symbolic Interactionism Points of theory: “In a world in which societies are highly differentiated, the selves that are produced will be equivalently differentiated” Proposes that differential commitment to various role-identities provides much of the structure and organization of self-concepts. To the extent that individuals are committed to a particular role identity, they are motivated to act according to their conception of the identity and to maintain and protect it. –Role performance implicates their self-esteem Whether the prior theory takes affect as well as cognition into account: Stryker flirted with the notion of “affective salience”: the ranking of identities in terms of the feeling or affect associated with them. More on this point is expanded in his later work. He defines identities as “cognitive categories in terms of which individuals respond to themselves” he proposes that “the more a given identity is invested with a positive affective response” the higher will be that identity in the salience hierarchy How it explains human motivation: As stated earlier, role performance is linked to identity salience and commitment leading to one’s self-esteem. This motivates the self to act in ways that will protect their conception of their identity. Whether it incorporates cybernetic and semiotic perspectives: Stryker considered the notion of feedback loops in contemplating the relation among society, self, and interaction; he opted for a linear non-reciprocal model How it explains the integration and stability of self: He says that “identity schemas . . . are cognitive bases for arriving at definitions of situations in which persons find themselves . . . the person is more likely to define situations in ways that involve one identity rather than another, and so is more likely to act out that identity in or across situations” From this perspective, identity salience becomes a personality variable carried by persons from one situation to another. He argues that identity salience affects behavioural choice, particularly in structurally complex situations where a number of identities become candidates for invocation. Identity salience is affected by commitment. Stryker identifies two dimensions of commitment ­ Extensively, the number of relationships predicated upon a particular identity, ­ Intensively, (later called affective commitment) the intensity of affect associated with relationships foregone, given the loss of a role and associated identity Author’s View: Identity salience in Heise and MacKinnon’s approach differs from Stryker’s in two major respects. ­ First, identity salience in their approach varies by institution. (Identities become “available” according to the situation or institutional setting in which people find themselves) I.e. we come to work and our occupational identity becomes salient; then we go home and a different identity is taken Stryker proposes a single hierarchy of identity saliencies, imbedded as an aspect of an individual’s personality, and that is trans-institutional and trans-situational. ­ Second, they propose that the salience of identities changes, not only with institutional setting, but also with recent experiences of inauthenticity. Differences: ­ Heise and MacKinnon’s focus on the affective meaning of identities and self- sentiments, while Stryker’s theory is, for the most part, restricted to the cognitive meaning of identities and self- perceptions. ­ Stryker focuses on identities associated with roles derived from the social structure of a society, while Heise and MacKinnon extend the concept of identities to broader social and psychological bases of identification. B URKE Theory: Symbolic Interactionism Points of theory: Identity Control Theory (ICT): proposes that the activation of an identity establishes a feedback loop. The theory focuses on the measurement of identities -a set of meanings applied to the self in a particular social role or situation The goal is to match the environmental or situational inputs (perceptions of self- relevant meanings) to internal standards (identity meanings). Burke and Cast suggest two mechanisms leading to changes in an identity standard: ­ The acquisition of new roles (e.g., parent) ­ Role-taking (e.g., imagining the identity standard of one’s spouse). Identity change occurs when congruence between identity standards and situational self- perceptions cannot be achieved by changing behaviours (outputs in the ICT model) and situational self-perceptions (inputs). Whether the prior theory takes affect as well as cognition into account: Burke applies Powers’ cybernetic control theory to the cognitive meanings of an identity. How it explains human motivation: According to this model, neither the input meanings nor the identity standards by themselves cause behaviour; instead, behaviour is a product of a comparison between the two Earlier work (Such as Stryker’s) locates the motivation for identity-confirming behaviour in identity salience and commitment; later work (e.g., Stets and Burke) defines motivation in terms of self- esteem, self-efficacy, self-consistency, and self-regulation motives derived from other literatures in social psychology. Whether it incorporates cybernetic and semiotic perspectives: Burke’s more recent theory of identity change proposes that identity change takes place at a higher order of cybernetic control than behaviour processes, but this theory of identity change -comparable to affect control theory’s approach to re-identification changes the current identity to accommodate current experience, rather than selecting a new identity to actualize the ‘self’ better. How it explains the integration and stability of self: Burke accounts for the integration and stability of self by adopting the principle of organization proposed by Stryker: identities are organized in a hierarchy of salience, where “identities at the top of the hierarchy act to organize and order identities lower in the hierarchy” Author’s View: Similar to points made about Striker Author’s critiques” ­ Burke’s theory of emotions adds further ambiguity to his theory of motivation. ICT views emotions as consequences of the identity- control process, yet Burke and Stets propose that “emotions, in turn, help to motivate the process of self-verification.” This departs from the other explanations of motivation in terms of identity salience and commitment, and in terms of self-esteem, self-efficacy, and so on. ­ Like Stryker, Burke is criticized because, instead of dealing with multiple identities and measures of their relative salience or likelihood of invocation across situations, Burke and his associates study one identity at a time (e.g., college student) in a single institutional setting, employing crude proxy measures of that identity’s salience in that setting. ­ Thus, they fail to deal with the problem of multiple identities PERINBANAYAGAM Theory: Symbolic Interactionism Points of theory: ­ Influenced mainly by Burke Perinbanayagam proposes a semiotic interpretation of Mead’s social psychology. The objectification of self essentially entails the operation of semiotic processes because the names and words individuals use to identify self and other “need to be articulated as signs and read as signs” Such “signs of identity” are employed in four rhetorical modes: ­ Reflexively, to identify ­ Individual to himself; ­ Addressively, to identify the other; ­ Referentially and answerably, respectively, to refer to and answer the other . Acts of identity: This process enables an individual to claim both a continuity of self over time and a differentiation from the selves of others. He defines it as the “deliberate moves made by an individual to classify himself or herself, or another, in culturally given categories.” And “once the self has been identified in this manner, the particular signs of identification become a meaning for the self and are used to achieve his or her presence in the world through these vocabularies” Whether the prior theory takes affect as well as cognition into account: While his theory explicitly discusses the relation between emotion and identities, his overall theory emphasizes self-concepts rather than self-sentiments, providing a cognitive explanation of the continuity and integration self. How it explains human motivation: Provides an extensive discussion of the relation between identity and emotion but fails to depict an explicit theory of motivation based on this connection What he does say about identity and emotion is: Human acts are not only “the means by which an individual seeks to influence the world around him or her” they are also used to “announce his or her own presence in the world.” Actions become identities by identifying with and classifying oneself as the agent of these actions. Whether it incorporates cybernetic and semiotic perspectives: It is a semiotic analysis of the self. It contains no evidence of cybernetic perspectives. How it explains the integration and stability of self: This perspective attributes the integration of the self to the narrative organization of an individual’s actions, and the continuity of the self to the sedimented consequential meanings of past acts embodied in identities and stored in memory. Author’s View: Both theories have mutual emphasis on Mead’s social psychology, the personal agency of the individual, the distinction between identities and self, the role of language in their development, the intimate connection between categorization and identification, a view of identity as the product of both inner and outer dialogues, the situational and biographical aspects of identity, and the role of emotions in identity processes. The self emerges from action, according to Perinbanayagam; it is present in an individual’s identification with his or her acts; derives its continuity from the meanings of past acts embodied in identities and stored in memory; and draws its organization from the organization of action itself Differences: ­ Heise and MacKinnon have added persona and personal possessions and traits to multiple biographical me’s ­ Their theory of the self focuses on affective meanings, and we locate the organization and stability of self in the self-sentiment. ­ Perinbanayagam’s theory of self diverges most notably from Heise and MacKinnon’s in containing no reference to the self as a system of cybernetic feedback and control. W ILEY Theory: Symbolic Interactionism Points of theory: Wiley distinguishes between self and identities to counter the dismissal of the concept of self by counter-enlightenment writers. He argues that self is to identities, as structure is to content. Wiley’s I-me-you triadic model adds the “third leg” to each theory of self ­ This gives Peirce the ‘me’ he needed to complete his structural triad [of self ] and Mead the ‘you’ he needed to complete his’ Wiley’s I-me-you semiotic triad of self is dynamic, depicting the self as a continual process of self- interpretation: this process is described as: ­ The agent or ‘I’ of the present interprets
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