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George Herbert Mead’s Theory Of Development Of Self

1160 words - 5 pages

George Herbert Mead was a philosopher and social theorist who was born in South Hadley, Massachusetts on February 27th 1863. His theories, mostly, consisted of human development within a society. Mead attended the University of Harvard where he received his Masters in philosophy and sociology. Mead is widely recognized for his theory of development of self and his concept of “I” and “Me.” The concept of the “I” and the “Me” refers to how we act and respond. According to Mead, the “I” is a reactive response whereas; the “Me” is a developed response. Meads concept of self and his theory of the development of self are well exhibited by the character Genie in the film, Genie: Secrets of a Wild ...view middle of the document...

This resulted in Genie having to move back to live with her single mother.
According to George Herbert Mead’s Development of Self theory, there are four stages of development (Brym, 2014). The first stage is known as the pre-play stage. During this stage children learn their native language and recurring symbols that are frequently used by their families and those that are close to them, by imitating them. Mead refers to individuals who are close to the child and play important roles in contributing to the child’s early socialization experiences, such as their parents or guardians, as significant others. The film validates this as when Genie begins to speak, she is only able to imitate the words that are said to her (Garmon, 1994). The second stage is known as the play stage. This is the stage where a children use their imagination to its fullest. Children role play and pretend to be other people, such as a: doctor, superhero, princess and even as their own parents. During this stage children lack the ability to adapt their own role, but rather are interested in imitating someone they look up to. While living with Jean Butler, we witness Genie role playing as a doctor (1994). This suggests that Genie reached the second stage of development while at the Butlers. The third stage is named the game stage, children in this stage are able to grasp and obey rules of a game. By this stage, children are able to consider various roles of others more easily but are not able to play the role of the generalized other. They can put themselves in various situations mentally. Based on the evidence provided by the film, this is last stage we witness Genie develop fully. Towards the end of the film, Genie informs the Marilyn Rigler, David Rigler’s wife, that she keeps her mouth shut so she will not vomit (1994). Genie is now able to play the role of others, by being able to put herself in various situations mentally. The final stage of development occurs when the child is able to take the role of the generalized other. According to Mead, when the child is able to take this significant role, they are able to process complex thoughts. Mead’s theory focuses more on the importance of social interaction, rather than biological maturation, in the development of self.
Mead constructed a “mirror like” concept that...

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