The Me and the Not-Me

Positive and Negative Poles of Identity
  • George J. McCall


Symbolic interactionists have long regarded identification of Self and Other as a key feature of social interaction (Blumer, 1962; Cooley, 1902; McCall & Simmons, 1978/1966; Mead, 1934). Establishment of one’s own identity to oneself is as important in interaction as to establis it for the other. One’s own identity in a situation is not absolutely given but is more or less problematic. (Foote, 1951, p. 18) For just such reasons, symbolic interactionists have similarly considered identity to be a key feature of the self. As Kuhn put it, “a person interiorizes his roles and statuses, and with these the expectations that significant others have of him” (Hickman & Kuhn, 1956, p. 242). Adding to this foundation a Cooley-esque emphasis on imagination, (1978/1966) proposed that “a role-identity is his imaginative view of himself as he likes to think of himself being and acting as an occupant” of a particular social position. These components remain central to the concept today, as (2001) stated that “identities are internalized role expectations” (p. 286) and that “self-meanings develop in the context of meanings of roles and counter roles” (p. 287).


Impression Management Social Object Identity Work Positive Identity Symbolic Interaction 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • George J. McCall
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Missouri-St. LouisSt. Louis

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