Soc 132 Final Paper

Soc 132 Final Paper - Butler 1 Kayla Butler 203-706-009...

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Butler Kayla Butler 203-706-009 Sociology 132/Section 1E November 28, 2011 My Self-Transformation What is the self? The self has many definitions. “The self is a social construction” (O’Brien, p. 111). “The self is an ongoing conversation” (O’Brien, p. 118). The self is “an aspect of social interaction” (O’Brien, p. 108). The self is a three-part system composed of the body, persona, and spirit (Weber, 2000). The self is “material, social, and spiritual” (Weber, p. 22). “The self is a personal intrapsychic structure and is only knowable by the person to whom it belongs” (Blumstein in O’Brien and Kollock, p. 306). The self is something “knowable and stable” (O’Brien, p. 108). The self is something that can be contracted or expanded (Weber, 2000). It is a controversial being whose definition is yet to be completely agreed upon. As it pertains to this project, all the definitions of the self are useful in understanding what makes up the self and how the self can be changed, or transformed. O’Brien states that theories of the self, particularly the social self, are helpful in understanding why we have certain self perceptions and how these perceptions form our feelings, future dreams, and perceived abilities (2011). Because of socialization, we identify our self “in terms of social roles or positions and our ideas about what other people think of us” (O’Brien, p. 109). We are born with a self. However, we are not necessarily born with a sense of self, or self-awareness. That is, we learn what the self is. Therefore, we can say that the self preexisted self-awareness; however, without self-awareness, the self does not have much purpose. Weber suggests that we date the idea of self to the time when self-awareness was “characterized by 1
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2 deliberately leaving images of one’s passing” (p. 20). More specifically, “A self characterized by awareness, deliberation, and coordination is born and projected beyond the physical body” (Weber, p. 21). That is, the self and the body are not one entity, but can be separated. As Mead puts it, the self is able to be “an object to itself” and differentiates it from the body (O’Brien, p. 121). Therefore, with self-awareness, we can differentiate between the body and the self. Sociologically speaking, however, we need to learn to conceptualize the self. This occurs when we learn language and concepts as children (O’Brien, 2011). Once we are able to objectify ourselves within the environment, we become aware of the self (O’Brien, 2011). “The self, as that which can be an object to itself, is essentially a social structure, and it arises in social experience” (Mead in O’Brien, p. 123). This means that through the processes of interaction with others and through internal conversation, we develop the self (O’Brien, 2011). It is not simply interaction and internal conversation, however, but an integrated combination of the two. Cooley’s “looking-glass self” combines the two in that “we get information about who we are
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This note was uploaded on 02/23/2012 for the course SOCIOLOGY 132 taught by Professor Terrianderson during the Fall '11 term at UCLA.

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Soc 132 Final Paper - Butler 1 Kayla Butler 203-706-009...

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