Sunday, March 23, 2008

Constructed Constructor

G. H. Mead (1934: 186) says:

“What I want particularly to emphasise is the temporal and logical pre-existence of the social process to the self-conscious individual that arises within it.”

What the heck? Does it mean primarily that individual selves and mental processes arise in a social context, and that the ‘content’ of thought and selfhood is to be understood in the light of the meanings which are available within the culture in which the person is immersed? However, we can dig another emphasis equally present in Mead above. For, if mind and self are products of social interaction, sure it is equally true to say that it is individual interaction that consitutes society. Of course Mead does not envisage a social milieu made up of role-playing machine, far from it.

Thus, we can say that having developed the capacity for mind and self as a result of interaction, the individual is then able relatively autonomously – in a continuing social context – to develop selfhood and personal tendencies of thought. Sure, here Mead provides an interactionism theory with implications which include an element of individuality. In other words, people are constructed and are also constructors.


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