Blog 6: The Self and the Generalized Other

George Herbert Mead developed a term called the “Self” which he said could be an object to itself, a social structure and it develops from social experiences starting from birth.  He also stated the language process is essential for the development of the self.  Then the social group which gives the individual his unity of self is called the “generalized other.”  Mead states it is not enough for the individual to develop a self in the fullest if they only take the attitudes of other human attitudes toward himself and toward others but also take these attitudes and act toward different social projects at any given time it is carried out.  Mead believes people have a personality because they belong to a community.  Mead gave the example of identifying with a political party and the person takes the attitudes of that entire party and toward the rest of the community.  The person will react to problems by the attitudes of the party.

Mead has an interesting theory of the self.  I surely believe language has an influence on a person’s personality.  In countries where it is more custom to work together as a group, the languages have more words or phrases meaning working together.  However, I believe people think more for themselves than what Mead describes.  I know after I have chosen a political party, I do not react to problems with only the attitudes of my chosen political party.  I do not agree with all aspects and I may take an opinion from the other political party.  However, I do believe belonging to a group can certainly influence your personality.  I grew up as a catholic so many of my morals and values are from growing up catholic.  Growing up as an American citizen also has influenced my personality because of what I understand to be a norm or what deviates from the norm.

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