George Mead Theory Essay

“the self is something which has a development; it is not initially there, at birth, but arises in the process of social experience and activity, that is, develops in the given individual as a result of his relations to that process as a whole and to other individuals within that process.” * was an American philosopher, sociologist and psychologist, primarily affiliated with the University of Chicago, where he was one of several distinguished pragmatists * He is regarded as one of the founders of social psychology and the American sociological tradition in general.

* Mead is well-known for his theory of the social self, which is based on the central argument that the self is a social emergent. * Mead’s most widely read work, Mind, Self and Society, gives priority to society over the mind and highlights the idea that the social leads to the development of mental states. * Mind is a process, not a thing, and it is found in social phenomena rather than within individuals.

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* The self occupies a central place in Mead’s theory.

* Self is essentially a social structure and it arises in social experience. It is the unique combination of the roles and individual play in relation to others – the complex blending of individual motivations and socially desirable responses. * The self consists of an “I” which the active side and as object, called “me”. * Infants begin with no self. As they learn to use the language and other symbols, the self emerges through play which involves taking the roles of significant others. * Gradually children move from simpler games to more complex ones involving others such as team sports. Mead called this generalized others to refer to the general cultural norms and values people use as references in evaluating others.

* Mead defines self as the ability to take oneself as an object and identifies basic mechanism of the development of the self as reflexivity – the ability to put ourselves into the place of others and acts as they act. * Self can arise only through social experiences, and the traces its development to two stages in childhood: the play stage and game stage. * Play stage – children learn how to take the attitude of particular others themselves. * Game stage – children learn how to take the role of many others and the attitude of the generalized other. * I – is the immediate response of an individual to others; it is unpredictable and creative aspect of the self. * Me – is the organized set of attitudes of others that an individual assumes; it is how society dominates the individual and is a source of social control. Mead’s theory on social self

* The social conception of the self entails that individual selves are the product of social interaction and not the logical or biological preconditions of that interaction. It is not initially there at birth but arises in the process of social experience and activity. * Language – allows individuals to take on the “role of the other” and allows people to respond to his or her own gestures in terms of symbolized attitudes of others. * Is communication via “significant symbols” and it is through significant communication that the individual is able to take the attitudes of others toward his/herself. Language is not only a “necessary mechanism” of the mind, but also the primary social foundation of self.

* Play – individuals take on the roles of other people and pretend to be those other people in order to express the expectation of significant others. * This process of role-playing is the key to generation of self-consciousness and to the general development of the self. * In the play, the child takes the role of another and acts as though he/she were the other. This form of role-playing involves a single role at a time. Thus, the other which comes into the child’s experience in play is a “specific other” * Game – individual is required to internalize the roles of all others who are involved with him or her in the game and must comprehend the rules of the game. * Is the stage of social process at which

* Generalized other- organized and generalized attitude of a social group. * consists of a composite of all those who contribute and participate in one’s society * The individual defines his or her own behavior with reference to the generalized attitude of the social group(s) they occupy. When an individual can view him/herself from the standpoint of the generalized other, self-consciousness in the full sense of the terms is attained. * Me – represents the expectations and the attitudes of others (generalized others). It is the organized set of attitudes others that the individual assumes. * Is the social self

* The organized set of attitudes of others which one himself assumes * is that part of the “self” which comes about as a result of the individual’s internalization of society’s values and behavior expectations * I – is the response to the “me”, or the person’s individuality. * Response of the organism to the attitudes of others

* is that part of the “self” which is spontaneous
* Self – develops by internalizing the norms of one’s society * Significant other – are those with whom the individual has an “important” relationship

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