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Chapter 2: The

Self, Society and

Ancient Modern
Philosophers Philosophers

Body and Soul Body and Mind Self and the

External Reality

1. Separate
2. Self-contained
3. Independent
4. Consistent
5. Unitary
6. Private

Social Constructionist
▧ “Argues that the self should not be seen as a static
entity that stays constant through and through. Rather
the self has to be seen as something that isin unceasing
flux, in a constant struggle with external reality and is
malleable in its dealings with society”.
▧ The self is always in participation with social life
and its identity is subjected to influences here and

The Self and

Marcel Mauss
▧ Frech Anthropologist
▧ Self has two faces

Moi Personne

• a person’s sense of who he is,

his body, basic identity and • composed of the social concepts
biological givenness of what it meana to be who he ia
• Basic identity • Has much to do with what it
means to live in a particular
institution, family, religion,
nationality and to behave given
expectations and influences from

▧ one of the reason why cultural divide spells out
differences in how one regards oneself
▧ If one finds himself both and reared in a particular
culture, one definitely tries to fit in a particular mode
▧ If a self is born into a particular society and culture,
the self will have to adjust according to its exposure

The Self and the
Development of the
Social World

• How do people actively produce their social

• How do children growing up become social


• How can twins coming out from the same

mother trun out to be terribly different when
given up for adoption?

▧ More than our givenness, one is believed to be in
active participation in the shaping of the self.
▧ Human persons are just passive actors in the whole
process in shaping of selves.
▧ Men and Women are born with particularities that they
can no longer change.
▧ Research studies, however indicate that men and
women in their growth and development engage
actively in the shaping of the self.
▧ Language as both publicly shared and privately
utilized symbol system is tye site where the individual
and the social make and remake each other.

The way human
persons develop
is the use of
Mead language Vygotsky
acquisitio ans
interaction with

▧ Cognitive and emotional development of a child is
always a mimicry of how it is done in the social
world, in the external reality where he/she is in.
▧ Human mind is something that is made, constituted
through language as experienced in the external world
and as encountered in dialogs with others.

▧ Mead
○ As a child assumes the “other” through language and role-
○ A child conceptualizes his notion of “self” through this
○ A child delineates thr “I” from the rest

▧ Vygotsky
○ A child internalizes real-life dialogs that he has had with
others, with his family, hid primary caregiver or his
○ They apply this to their mental and practical problems along
with the social and cultural infusions brought about by the
said dialogs.

Self in Families

▧ Sociologists focus on the different institutionsand powers
at play in the society – family
▧ The kind of family that we are born in, tye 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.
▧ Family initiates a person to become that serves as the
basis for a person’s progress.
▧ Babies internalize ways and styles that they observe from
their family.
▧ One is who he is because of his family for the most part.

Gender and the Self

▧ Gender is one of those loci of the self that is subject to
alteration, change and development.
▧ People fought hard for the right to express, validate and
assert their gender expression.
▧ Gender partly determines how we see ourselves in the
▧ Society forces a particular identity unto us depending on
our sex and/or gender.
▧ Slight modifications have been on way due to feminism
and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT)
▧ Partriarchy has remained to be at work

▧ Nany 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 women as care
providers in the family.
▧ 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. This is
dangerous and detrimental in the goal of truly finding
one’s self, self-determination ans growth of the self.
▧ Gender has to be personally discovered and asserted and
not dictated by culture and society.


Any questions?