Friday, December 29, 2006

Thinking self in thinking society: Understanding self representations through george H. Mead and Serge Moscovici

Malik (2004) has studied this research with two goals: first, to search for a theoretical framework on the self that is able to take into account the dynamic interplay between the creativity of the individual and the prescriptive nature of society; and second, to provide partial empirical support for the above theoretical framework. This dissertation begins with an analysis of the current dominant approach in self-and-culture studies within empirical social psychology. This analysis concludes with illustrations of the problems of the current dominant approach. It then continues to explore George H. Mead writings on social psychology and the self and Serge Moscovici's theory of social representations. After linking the rich theoretical and conceptual insights from Mead and Moscovici, this dissertation then proposes a theoretical framework on self-representation. At the core of this framework is the notion of the self as a semiotic object, which has structure (semiotic structure, not a hard-wired one) and content. Self-representations are reflexively generated, both at the interpersonal and intrapersonal levels through the established semiotic structures. At the interpersonal level, the structure is established at the moment one is engaged with other(s) within a particular common meanings or social representations forming a trialogical structure of person 1-social representations-person 2. At the intrapersonal level the structure consist of ego-prototype-alter . Through this theoretical framework issues pertaining to self-representations, such as continuity and sameness vs. change, structure vs. content, inner and outer self, personal sense of self and cultural conception of self/person can begin to be addressed at social-psychological and cognitive levels. Two empirical studies are offered as partial support for the framework. Study 1 illustrates how self-representations are linked to the cultural and historical origin, specifically the social representations of personhood, man, woman and nationality. Study 2 is aimed at illustrating the embeddedness of self-representations within the social context, specifically how self representations vary along the continuum of social-psychological distance.

Malik, Abdul. (2004). Thinking self in thinking society: Understanding self representations through george H. Mead and Serge Moscovici. Dissertation Abstracts International : Section B : The Sciences and Engineering. Vol 64 (10-B): 5276


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