George Herbert Mead
Self by George Herbert Mead:
Mead’s theory on the self asks us to look at the symbols and gestures through which the expectations of the “generalized other” are communicated to us. In fact, according to Mead, a self would not fully exist without the perch of the generalized other upon which to stand and view our self as an object of conscious experience. The ubiquity of online media, social networking sites, and the 24-hour news cycle has undoubtedly shone a new light on the generalized other.
1. Pick one aspect of the digital age, such as Facebook, advertising, or multiculturalism, and describe how it acts as a generalized other for the development of the modern self.
2. What do you think are some of the consequences—positive and negative—these new kinds of others have for the self?
Read Amy Clarke’s blog post, The Stranger (http://themigrationist.net/2014/01/23/the-stranger/ (Links to an external site.)), in which she explores immigration in relation to Simmel’s social type of the stranger.
1. Does this social type help to explain our response to immigration?
2. Do you think that all immigrants are treated in similar ways, or does it depend on skin color, religion, country of origin, and gender as well?
3. Explain your answer in light of Simmel’s description.