Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Mead's and the formation of the self

Although Mead considers that individual and society establish a dialectical relationship (Appelrouth & Edles, 2008), he is not taking into consideration structural and social constrains that manipulate the formation of self and the individual relationships. Mead emphasizes a predominant role of individuals in society,
“The individual possesses a self only in relation to the selves of the other members of his social group; and the structure of his self expresses or reflects the general behavior pattern of his social group to which he belongs, just as does the structure of the self of every other individual belonging to this social group.” (Mead, 1934 as cited in Appelrouth & Edles, 2008, p. 343)
Thus, Mead’s theory suggests that structural conditions are not directly involved with the formation of self; on the contrary, that the self only is formed through the continuous relationship within individuals who do not suffer the influence of the social structure they live in. This vision makes it difficult to analyze the pressure that the social structures, such as government systems or religious beliefs, play in the formation of the self. Furthermore, his assumptions would lead one to consider that structural social factors and global political interests are not relevant in the construction of societies.

Have religion, politic, or media a role to play in the formation of the self?


  1. I think that in today's world, one in which globalization is present more than ever before, structural social factors do play an important role in one's self formation, although family probably plays the most important role in the formation of an individual's personality. In addition, religion, politics, and the media all have the power to manipulate people, and these actually believe what they're told without questioning first if what they're taught to them is the best or not; unfortunately, there are many people who do not have the necessary self-determination to believe that there might be something better than what the media, their government and the religion tell them. Sometimes going against the current is better than to belong to the status quo. But overall, I could say that Mead probably was speaking of his time, and not about what is occurring in today's globalized world.

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  3. There are so many social actors that play an important role in the formation of the self that people don't really notice unless they are actual sociologists or theory students. The family is the biggest influence that an individual can have because they can relate to them on a more personal level (a child learns to imitate and role play at an early age). When it comes down to religion, politics and the media I believe that some people are heavily influenced more than others based on what they see on television or hear from other people. We are living in a more westernized world where we all rely a lot on technology so what happens on the news is going to put some different perspectives in mind.