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The dialectic of 'self' and other

The self arises when the individual takes the attitude of the generalized other toward herself. This internalization of the generalized other occurs through the individual's participation in the conservation of significant symbols and in other socialization processes.The self then is of great value to organized society: the internalization of the conservation of significant symbols and of other interactional symbolic structures allow for the super coordination of society as whole and for the increased efficiency of the individual as a member of the group. The generalized other is a major instrument of social control; it is the mechanism by which the community gains control over the conduct of its individual members. Social control is the expression of the 'me' over against the expression of the 'I'.

The genesis of the self in social process is thus a condition of social control. The self is a social emergent that supports the cohesion of the group individual will is harmonized by means of a socially defined and symbolized reality with social goals and values. Thus there are two dimensions of Mead's theory of internalization: The internalization of the attitudes of others toward oneself and toward one another.

The internalization of the attitudes of others toward the various phases or aspects of the common social activity or set of social undertakings in which as members of an organized society or social group they are all engaged. The self then has reference not only to others but to social projects and goals and it is by means of the socialization process (the internalization of the generalized other through language, play and the game that the individual is brought to assume the attitudes of those in the group who are involved with him in his social activities.