The idea of selfhood
About the Course
From a sociological perspective, humans can be seen as;
1) Rational & selfish
3) Mutually susceptible
4) Embedded in social networks
5) Prone to imitating others.
Three prominent sociologists have given their own interpretations of the self, namely Cooley, Mead, and Goffman.
Cooley came up with the idea of the ‘looking-glass self’. He believes that self-idea is composed of three elements: the imagination of how we appear to others, the imagination of other people’s judgment of our appearance, and the self-feeling that we develop based on our impression of others’ opinions on us.
Mead suggests the ‘I’ and ‘Me’ theory. He thinks that the self comprises two components: the subject ‘I’ that provokes responses in others, and the object ‘Me’ that concerns the attitude and social relationships with others. He also mentioned that the self is reflexive and that people can innately change their perspective between the subject and object.
Goffman proposed the Dramaturgy theory, a theatrical representation of life that an individual in a social setting is like an actor on a front stage. Actors will utilize impression management as a tool to make themselves more appealing to others. In contrast, the backstage is the private setting for actors to be their authentic selves.
The three theories of selfhood actually have more similarities than differences. For example, Cooley, Mead, and Goffman have emphasized that the formation of self requires the presence of society. Also, they all agreed that despite the formation of selfhood being active, humans’ nature in mutual susceptibility has hugely influenced our selfhood.
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