Sociologists have argued that social context is comprised of both social interactions and social….
Sociologists have argued that social context is comprised of both social interactions and social structures, and that both are important for understanding our behaviors and sense of self. The sociologist Goffman argued that as humans we are constantly seeking feedback from others about who we are, and whether or not we are decent human beings. To do this we acquire specific cultural knowledge about what to do and when (for example, as in how to use a public bathroom correctly) in order to receive the kinds of social feedback that we need to feel competent and worthy. This concept was defined as the “Looking Glass Self,” by sociologist Charles Horton Cooley. One of the key questions that sociologists consider is how we can be distinctive and unique individuals while also conforming to patterns and behaviors in society at large. While a geneticist may think about each of us as having unique biological codes, a sociologist thinks about us as unique in part because we have each had a different set of social interactions. In each different situation, we emphasize or highlight different parts of ourselves. For this essay, think about the millions of interactions that have shaped your sense of self throughout your life – from your parents to your neighborhood to your teachers and peers, to strangers on the street. Provide examples of how your sense of identity changes over time and social context. Your answer should demonstrate your mastery of what is meant by The Looking Glass Self.