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  • 1. Identities: gender & ethnicity Lecture 02
  • 2. Concepts and Theories: Mead Concepts • Ideas, images and symbols are used to create Theories • Individuals use images and symbols are used to create in a process of visualising themselves • Identity emerges from the Explanations individual’s ability to think of him/herself in terms of the community into which s/he has been socialised. This is a conscious, creative and reflective ability
  • 3. A test …• How is a sense of self linked to communication• I am … 15 terms
  • 4. The results• think about the elements as a whole• nouns tend to indicate components of identity• adjectives indicate components of self-esteem• when did you begin to associate this word with yourself?• How was this association created? What role did communication play in creating the link between the term and you?
  • 5. Symbolic interaction• Communication through symbols; people talking to each other – Mead disciple Herbert Blumer coined term symbolic interactionism • Meaning • Language • Thought
  • 6. Meaning: the construction of reality• Humans act toward people or things on the basis of the meanings they assign to those people or things (Blumer) – Once people define a situation as real, it is very real in its consequences
  • 7. Try this …• How would you explain the concept of meaning as situated in people not things to a group of children in primary school?• Think of two objects that are important to you for symbolic reasons. How would you explain the meaning of these objects?
  • 8. Language: the source of meaning• Meaning arises out of social interactions people have with each other (Blumer) – Negotiated through the use of language – Extent of knowing dependent on extent of naming – Symbolic interactionism is the way we learn to interpret the world • Words have default assumptions
  • 9. Thought: taking the role of the other• An individual’s interpretation of symbols is modified by his or her own thought processes (Blumer) – Thinking described as inner conversation – Minding – inner dialogue used to test alternatives, rehearse actions, and anticipate reactions before responding
  • 10. Thought: taking the role of the other• Animals act instinctively; humans have brain wired for thought – “Humans require social stimulation and exposure to abstract symbol systems to embark upon conceptual thought processes”• Humans have unique capacity to take role of the other (Mead)
  • 11. Reflections in the looking glass• Looking-glass-self – mental self-image that results from taking the role of the other – Meaning, language, and thought tightly interconnected – Self is a function of language – I – spontaneous driving force that fosters all that is novel, unpredictable, and unorganized in the self – Me – Objective self; image of self seen when one takes the role of the other – The “me” is viewed as an object—the image of self seen in the looking-glass of other people’s reactions
  • 12. Reflections in the looking glass• Looking-glass-self (continued) – I – spontaneous driving force that fosters all that is novel, unpredictable, and unorganized in the self – Me – Objective self; image of self seen when one takes the role of the other – We can stand outside of our bodies and view ourselves as objects
  • 13. The socialising of others’ expectations• Community consists of individual actors who make their own choices (Mead) – Align actions with what others are doing to form alliances – Generalized other – composite mental image person has of his or her self based on community expectations and responses • Generalized other becomes conversational partner in ongoing mental dialogue
  • 14. Critique• May suffer from overstatement and not easy to summarize – Fluid boundaries – Vague concepts – Undisciplined approach• Offers insight into creation of symbolic messages and their impact on one who speaks and one who hears