The Sociological Theory Of The Looking Glass Self-Theory

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The looking glass self- theory states that one person’s self-growth out of a person’s social interaction with others. The view of ourselves comes from the contemplation of personal qualities and impressions of how others perceive us. Basically, how we see ourselves does not come from who we really are, but rather from how we believe others see us. The main point is that people shape their self-concepts based on their understandings of how others see them. We form our self-image as the reflections of the response and evaluations of others in our environment.

The concept of the looking glass-self theory constitutes the cornerstone of the sociological theory of socialization. The idea is that people in our close environment serves as the ‘mirrors’ that reflect images of ourselves. According to Cooley, this process has three steps. First, we imagine on how we appear to be another person. Secondly, we imagine what judgements people make of us due to our appearances. Lastly, we imagine how people feel about us, based on the judgements made of us. Hence, we often change our behaviour based on how people perceive us.

Symbolic interactionism is a sociological perspective on self and society based on the ideas of George H. Mead (1934), Charles H. Cooley (1902) and W. I. Thomas (1931). Mead’s theory of the social self is based on the perspective that the self emerges from social interactions, such as observing and interacting with others, responding to others’ opinions about
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