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The Self and the Development of the Social World

“Language as both a publicly shared and privately utilized symbol system is the site where the individual and
the social make and remake each other”

- Schwartz, White, and Lutz 1993

 Mead and Vygotsky

 The way that we process information is normally a form of internal dialogue in our head.
 Treated human mind as something that is made, constituted through language as experienced in the
external world and as encountered in dialogs with others.
 A young child internalizes values, norms, practices, and social beliefs and more through exposure to
these dialogs that will eventually become part of his individual world.
 For Mead, a child assumes the “other” through language and role – play.
 Vygotsky, for his part, a child internalizes real – life dialogs that he has had with others. They apply
this to their mental and practical problems along with the social and cultural infusions brought about
by the said dialog.

 Self in Families

 The kind of family that we are born in, resources available to us (human, spiritual, economic) and
the kind of development that we will have will certainly affect us as we go through life.
 Human persons learn the ways of living and therefore their selfhood by being in the family. It is
what a family initiates a person to become that serves as the basis for this person’s progress.
 Babies internalize ways and styles that they observe from their family by imitating. The same true
for ways of behaving. Others, such as sexual behavior or how to confront emotions, are learn
through subtle means.
 Without a family, biologically and sociologically, a person may not even survive or become a human

 Gender and the Self

 Gender is one of those loci that is subject to alteration, change, and development. It is important to
give one the leeway to find, express, and live in his identity.
 Nancy Chodorow, a feminist, argues that because mothers take the role of taking care of children,
there is a tendency for girls to imitate the same and reproduce the same kind of mentality of owmen
as care providers in the family.
 Men on the other hand, in the periphery of their own family, are taught early on how to behave like
 The gendered self is then shaped within a particular context of time and space. The sense of self that
is being taught makes sure that an individual fits in a particular environment.
 Gender has to be personally discovered and asserted and not dictated by culture and the society.
The Self and Cognitive Construct

“If you are who you are, then who are you that makes you who you are?”

 The “I” and “Me”

Psychologist I Me

William James Thinking, acting and feeling Physical characteristics as well

self. as psychological capabilities that
makes who you are

Carl Rogers The one who acts and decides What you think or feel about
yourself as an object

 Identity and self – concept

 Identity is composed of personal characteristics, social roles, and responsibilities, as well as

affiliations that define who you are.
 Self – concept is what basically comes to your mind when you are asked about who you are.

 Self – Schema

 Carl Rogers captured this idea in his concept of self – schema or our organized system or collection
of knowledge about who we are.

 Theories generally see the self and identity as mental constructs, created and recreated in

 Sigmund Freud saw the self, its mental processes, and one’s behavior as the results of interaction
between the Id, Ego, and the Superego.

Id – pleasure – centered
Ego – What is right and just
Superego – reality – centered

 Theory of Symbolic Interactionism (G.H Mead)

 Self is created and developed through human interaction.

 Three reasons why self and identity are social products.
1. We do not create ourselves out of nothing.
2. Whether we like to admit it or not, we actually need others to affirm and reinforce who we thin k
we are.
3. What we think is important to us may also have been influenced by what is important in our
social or historical context.
 Social interaction and group affiliation are vital factors in creating our self – concept especially in
the aspect of providing us with our social identity or our perception of who we are based on our
membership to certain groups.

 Self – Awareness
The awareness of our self – concept

 Carver and Scheier (1981) identified two types of self that we can be aware;
1. The private self or your internal standards and private thoughts and feelings.
2. The public self or your public image commonly geared toward having a good presentation of
yourself to others.
 Self – awareness also present us with at least three other self – schema.
1. The actual self is who you are at the moment
2. The ideal self is who you like to be
3. The ought self is who you think you should be
 Self – awareness can be too much that we are concerned about being observed and criticized by
others, also known as self – consciousness.
 Deindividuation is the loss of individual self – awareness and individual accountability in groups.

 Self – esteem
Our own positive or negative perception or evaluation of ourselves

a. Social comparison theory

We learn about ourselves, the appropriateness of our behaviors, as well as our social status by
comparing aspects of ourselves with other people.

1. Downward social comparison

We create a positive self – concept by comparing ourselves with those who are worse off
than us.
2. Upward social comparison
Comparing ourselves with those who are better off than us.

b. Self – evaluation maintenance theory

We can feel threatened when someone out – performs us, especially when that person is close to
us. In this case, we usually react in three ways;

1. We distance ourselves from that person or redefine our relationship with them.
2. We may also reconsider the importance of the aspect or skill in which you were
3. We may also strengthen our resolve to improve that certain aspect of ourselves.
 Narcissism is a trait characterized by overly high self – esteem, self – admiration, and self –
 Baumeister, Smart, and Boden (1996) concluded that programs, activities, and parenting styles to
boost self – esteem should only be for rewarding good behavior and other achievements and not for
the purpose of merely trying to make children feel better about themselves or to appease them when
they get angry or sad.
Misamis Oriental Institute of Science and Technology
College of Education
Understanding the Self

Lesson 2:
The Self and the
Development of the
Social World

Lesson 3:
The Self as Cognitive