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Self and Other:
Perception and construction of group boundaries
hands–on & minds–on workshop
Outline
Sociology of self and other
The Imitation Game
Hands–on: can you cross the boundary?
Minds–on: import for social cohesion
Other as a mirror
SELF is not material — it is performed to
and is shaped by
OTHERS
Goffman 1959
The looking–glass self — we form self–concepts from reactions
Cooley 1902
The generalized other — common expectations in a group
Mead 1962
Social order
≠ nature of things
= product of human activity
Berger & Luckman 1966
Social order
Externalization – we create cultural objects
Objectification – these cultural objects obtain the status of facts
Internalization – they become the lens to interpret the world
Berger & Luckman 1966
We rely on social order
We rely on social order
Categorization: pros
Order and cognitive economy
A primary cognitive mechanism for understanding the world
Self and other as members of social groups
– fundamental to construction of identity
Categorization: cons
Reductionism
Essentialism
Reification
Othering à subjectivity
More than a narrative:
stereotype threat – performance
Your examples?
Categorization: more cons
Not designed to be accurate
Exaggerated in–group similarities, inter–group differences;
Self–favoritizm
Intersectionality challenging for Us, unthinkable for Them
Similar to children: from one role to granularity,
perspective of the other
Identity as caleidoscope
Roles are subject to mechanisms of relevance
1. Rank:
2. Social network, situational opportunities, audience
3. Need for ID support: challenge à compensation
• self–esteem
• resources invested
• intrinsic and extrinsic rewards
4. Personal characteristics and preferences
5. Consistency
Consistency
A: I noticed that all Russians read subtitles when they watch movies
B: Oh but I don’t
A: This is because you are sort of a non–Russian, that’s why!
C: Yeah, get out of here, you are not a true Russian!
5–y–o: I do not want to have children, I want to be a teacher!
Ethnic identities with clear boundaries versus reality
Mental schemas
Abstract ideas or mental structures that simplify the world
Granularity
From imagined certainty to acknowledged complexity
Participatory practices for mutual understanding
Common ground
Imitation Game
→
Group formation and maintenance
Judge – ask Qs to assess belonging
Non–pretender – display
Pretender – imitate
Interactional expertise
Collins & Evans 2002
Tunnetko Naapurisi — Know Your Neighbour
Russian speaker from Estonia
Judge: How do you celebrate New Year’s Eve?
What do you eat and drink, watch on TV and get as a present?
1: The whole family gets together. 2: I eat ’olivie’, drink sparkling wine or
A lot of food and noise. Kids are vodka. Watch the Russian president’s
happy. There are humorous TV speech at 11pm. Presents are plentiful.
shows. People drink sparkling
wine and shoot fireworks. Judge’s verdict:
Typical of a Russian speaker.
Judge’s verdict:
Description is too general.
A Russian would never say ’noise’ – it’s their natural state of being!
Culture–specific knowledge 12 // 11
Values and norms 12 // 10
Lifestyle and daily activities 6 // 15
Traditions 6 // 8
Mass media, pop culture 5 // 5
Political opinions 8 // 2
Childhood memories and experiences 6 // 2
Other 2 // 0
Topics for judgement
by ethnic Estonians // Russian speakers
Est/All +
Rus +
All –
All –
All +
All +
All +
Recurrent strategies for judgement
epistemic
experiential
axiological
linguistic
Hands–on practice
Use your phone
Go to www.kahoot.it and enter PIN
Guess who is who
Take (mental) notes
Find an ethnic Estonian:
Q1: Name as many discontinued Estonian bands and
artists as you can
Find an ethnic Estonian:
Q2: What is your attitude to religion?
Find an ethnic Estonian:
Q3: The West wouldn't have achieved its current
level without Christian values. Do you agree?
Find an ethnic Estonian:
Q4: What sounds does a dog, a chicken, a horse, a
pig, and a cat make?
Find a Russian-speaking Estonian:
Q5: How do you celebrate Christmas? What kind of
gifts do you give?
Find a Russian-speaking Estonian:
Q6: What do you think about Kersti Kaljulaid?
Find a Russian-speaking Estonian:
Q7: Your opinion on same-sex cohabitation and
marriage.
Find a Russian-speaking Estonian:
Q8: Where did you go for a party last time?
Correct guesses by audience:
52,07%
47,93%
*excludes missed or undecided answers
Correct guesses by audience:
Questions about ethnic Estonians:
48% guessed
animal sounds 86%
religion 31%
Questions about Russian Estonians:
38% guessed
president & party habits 67%
same-sex marriage 20%
Think about reliable strategies for judgement
Think about unreliable strategies for judgement
Minds–on practice
Formulate a question
NB! Values-based questions were
NOT reliable during our workshop!
Identity relevance
1. Rank:
2. Social network, situational opportunities, audience
3. Need for ID support: challenge à compensation
• self–esteem
• resources invested
• intrinsic and extrinsic rewards
4. Personal characteristics and preferences
5. Consistency
Targets for social programs
Your informed guesses?
Imitation Game and Society
A distinct social group in Estonia with rigid borders?
Yes, unless the ’imitators’ are well–integrated
The undistinguishable other: integration, not assimilation
Anyone who appreciates our language, customs and values can be an Estonian.
Thus, they, as well as we, can consider them Estonian.
No multichrome mosaic with monochrome blocks!
Food for Thought
Self is a sea boundless and measureless.
Say not, "I have found the truth," but rather, "I have found a truth."
The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed.
The soul unfolds itself like a lotus of countless petals.
Kahlil Gibran
The Prophet
Navitrolla
Give me a kiss
Thank you!

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Dr. Daria Bahtina: Self and other: Perception and construction of group boundaries hands-on & minds-on workshop

  • 1. Self and Other: Perception and construction of group boundaries hands–on & minds–on workshop
  • 2. Outline Sociology of self and other The Imitation Game Hands–on: can you cross the boundary? Minds–on: import for social cohesion
  • 3. Other as a mirror SELF is not material — it is performed to and is shaped by OTHERS Goffman 1959 The looking–glass self — we form self–concepts from reactions Cooley 1902 The generalized other — common expectations in a group Mead 1962
  • 4. Social order ≠ nature of things = product of human activity Berger & Luckman 1966
  • 5. Social order Externalization – we create cultural objects Objectification – these cultural objects obtain the status of facts Internalization – they become the lens to interpret the world Berger & Luckman 1966
  • 6. We rely on social order
  • 7. We rely on social order
  • 8. Categorization: pros Order and cognitive economy A primary cognitive mechanism for understanding the world Self and other as members of social groups – fundamental to construction of identity
  • 9. Categorization: cons Reductionism Essentialism Reification Othering à subjectivity More than a narrative: stereotype threat – performance Your examples?
  • 10. Categorization: more cons Not designed to be accurate Exaggerated in–group similarities, inter–group differences; Self–favoritizm Intersectionality challenging for Us, unthinkable for Them Similar to children: from one role to granularity, perspective of the other
  • 11. Identity as caleidoscope Roles are subject to mechanisms of relevance 1. Rank: 2. Social network, situational opportunities, audience 3. Need for ID support: challenge à compensation • self–esteem • resources invested • intrinsic and extrinsic rewards 4. Personal characteristics and preferences 5. Consistency
  • 12. Consistency A: I noticed that all Russians read subtitles when they watch movies B: Oh but I don’t A: This is because you are sort of a non–Russian, that’s why! C: Yeah, get out of here, you are not a true Russian! 5–y–o: I do not want to have children, I want to be a teacher! Ethnic identities with clear boundaries versus reality
  • 13. Mental schemas Abstract ideas or mental structures that simplify the world Granularity From imagined certainty to acknowledged complexity Participatory practices for mutual understanding Common ground
  • 14. Imitation Game → Group formation and maintenance Judge – ask Qs to assess belonging Non–pretender – display Pretender – imitate Interactional expertise Collins & Evans 2002
  • 15. Tunnetko Naapurisi — Know Your Neighbour
  • 16. Russian speaker from Estonia Judge: How do you celebrate New Year’s Eve? What do you eat and drink, watch on TV and get as a present? 1: The whole family gets together. 2: I eat ’olivie’, drink sparkling wine or A lot of food and noise. Kids are vodka. Watch the Russian president’s happy. There are humorous TV speech at 11pm. Presents are plentiful. shows. People drink sparkling wine and shoot fireworks. Judge’s verdict: Typical of a Russian speaker. Judge’s verdict: Description is too general. A Russian would never say ’noise’ – it’s their natural state of being!
  • 17. Culture–specific knowledge 12 // 11 Values and norms 12 // 10 Lifestyle and daily activities 6 // 15 Traditions 6 // 8 Mass media, pop culture 5 // 5 Political opinions 8 // 2 Childhood memories and experiences 6 // 2 Other 2 // 0 Topics for judgement by ethnic Estonians // Russian speakers Est/All + Rus + All – All – All + All + All +
  • 18. Recurrent strategies for judgement epistemic experiential axiological linguistic
  • 19. Hands–on practice Use your phone Go to www.kahoot.it and enter PIN Guess who is who Take (mental) notes
  • 20. Find an ethnic Estonian: Q1: Name as many discontinued Estonian bands and artists as you can
  • 21. Find an ethnic Estonian: Q2: What is your attitude to religion?
  • 22. Find an ethnic Estonian: Q3: The West wouldn't have achieved its current level without Christian values. Do you agree?
  • 23. Find an ethnic Estonian: Q4: What sounds does a dog, a chicken, a horse, a pig, and a cat make?
  • 24. Find a Russian-speaking Estonian: Q5: How do you celebrate Christmas? What kind of gifts do you give?
  • 25. Find a Russian-speaking Estonian: Q6: What do you think about Kersti Kaljulaid?
  • 26. Find a Russian-speaking Estonian: Q7: Your opinion on same-sex cohabitation and marriage.
  • 27. Find a Russian-speaking Estonian: Q8: Where did you go for a party last time?
  • 28. Correct guesses by audience: 52,07% 47,93% *excludes missed or undecided answers
  • 29. Correct guesses by audience: Questions about ethnic Estonians: 48% guessed animal sounds 86% religion 31% Questions about Russian Estonians: 38% guessed president & party habits 67% same-sex marriage 20%
  • 30. Think about reliable strategies for judgement Think about unreliable strategies for judgement Minds–on practice Formulate a question NB! Values-based questions were NOT reliable during our workshop!
  • 31. Identity relevance 1. Rank: 2. Social network, situational opportunities, audience 3. Need for ID support: challenge à compensation • self–esteem • resources invested • intrinsic and extrinsic rewards 4. Personal characteristics and preferences 5. Consistency Targets for social programs
  • 33. Imitation Game and Society A distinct social group in Estonia with rigid borders? Yes, unless the ’imitators’ are well–integrated The undistinguishable other: integration, not assimilation Anyone who appreciates our language, customs and values can be an Estonian. Thus, they, as well as we, can consider them Estonian. No multichrome mosaic with monochrome blocks!
  • 34. Food for Thought Self is a sea boundless and measureless. Say not, "I have found the truth," but rather, "I have found a truth." The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed. The soul unfolds itself like a lotus of countless petals. Kahlil Gibran The Prophet