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21 Eylül 2011 Çarşamba

I Do, Me Done: Mead's Theory of Self

According to Mead, the self is established when an individual constitutes the unity of “I” and “me” through the interaction of both as an object and subject. “Me” is a set of attitudes that are organized in the society, whereas “I” is the organism that responds to it; so that, “me” is a product of society existed before, “I” was there i.e. “I” is the reorganization of this product, co-operatively in the mind and in the society. Further, Mead clarifies his point drawing on gestures, he says that, when we are gesturing; we do the action (as “I”) and we know what the respond to our action is going to be (as “me”) and when we receive the same action from the other (as “self”).
The structure of “me” and “I” internalizing it is not I something that we have not heard before, in Durkheim’s understanding, there are social facts in all societies –norms, social structures, values– completes the harmony in the society and individuals born into these social facts, then they start to internalize these facts (especially nonmaterial ones) to become social actors.
Besides being the science of social facts, sociology is, in micro level, the science of bodies. By bodies, I mean, not the physical one but, rather the one that as in the use of “somebody, anybody or nobody”, so that; even at the smallest level what these bodies are doing, as Mead illustrated by the example of gestures, is a matter of complex and meaningful set of stories, memories, practices and so on. Therefore, they are only open to be studied in terms of these elements, further these elements must, socially, be responded by the other actors in the community. However, the both theorists lead me to ask “then what does the self-interest and the actions driven by it is standing for, if ‘me’ is that much subject?” The answer that I have is clear; the self-interest is not conceptualized here not as, the feeling that leads to selfishness, but in a greater correspondence with the responsibilities and promises of the individual’s interaction, so that is the “me” concept in Mead’s thought. This article was good for me to analyze the bigger pictures in modern societies by looking at small parts.

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