George Mead Theory

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George Herbert Mead (1863-1931)

“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. * 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...
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