Mead’s Taking the Role of the Other to Cooley’s Looking Glass Self.

The concept of self develops after the interactions with the societies and social institutions. George Herbert Mead (1863-1931) extended the Cooley’s self-concept to role taking where a person tries to assume the mind of another and understanding the world from that person’s point of view (Kendall 86).

Both mead and Cooley base their concepts solely on environmental factors (Kendall 86). In both theories, role-taking or the self develops through contact with others. Both sociologists proposition that culture and society forms developmental bodies that structures and engender selves (Kendall 87). To them, social structures and communication systems generate the developmental positions from which automatic consciousness emanates (Larry and Nancy 98). Both Cooley’s and mead’s ideas are universal. According to them, children are believed to enter different developmental stages at different times (Rossides 226). They also believe that human beings act towards ideas and things on the basis of the meanings attached to them, and what those things would bring to them (Larry and Nancy 98).

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“Self” is the Mead’s central concept which forms part of an individual’s personality and which is composed of self- awareness and self image. On the other hand, Cooley’s central concept is “looking glass self”, which represents a self- image in the basis of what we perceive others see us (Kendall 86). Cooley proposed that people view themselves as they think others view them. Mead on his side argued that people put themselves in someone’s shoes in order to have the feelings of what it is like to be like them (Rossides 226). According to Cooley, the development of self does not emanate from an accurate information, while mead believes that people acquire the skill of “taking the role of the other” gradually as early as during childhood by first doing this with significant others and later expanded to the generalized others.

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