Theory

Looking Glass Self

A key idea that contributed to the development of Symbolic Interactionism is the work of the Sociologist Charles Cooley on ‘The Looking Glass


The term ‘looking glass self’ is the idea that a person’s sense of self grows out of society’s interactions with that person and how other’s perceive them.

Have students draw out an outline of a mirror on their page and ask them to write down words that they think other people would use to describe them. Tell them that they must do this individually and not to share it so that they write as honestly as possible. Then show them this clip above and use both resources to describe the concept of the looking glass self. Further discussions could then move onto other Symbolic Interactionists ideas and theories, such as, the concepts of ‘labelling’ and the ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’.


 

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