Sociology Index


Generalized Other was used by George Herbert Mead to refer to an individual's recognition that other members of their society hold specific values and expectations about behavior. When an actor tries to imagine what is expected of him, he is taking on the perspective of the generalized other. George Herbert Mead's concept of the Generalized Other is that in their behavior and social interaction individuals react to the expectations of others, orienting themselves to the norms and values of their community or group. George Herbert Mead' s concept of the Generalized Other gives an account of the social origin of self-consciousness while retaining the transforming function of the personal.

Contextualized in Mead's theory of intersubjectivity, the Generalized Other is a special case of role-taking in which the individual responds to social gestures, and takes up and adjusts common attitudes. It is through interactions with Generalized Others that the self arises and is negotiated. The generalized other is an organized and generalized attitude with reference to which individuals define their conduct.

George Herbert Mead's Theory of the Generalized Other traces the development of the Generalized Other concept in Mead's published and unpublished work, locating it within the framework of intersubjectivity and role-taking. A theoretically and historically embedded interpretation of the Generalized Other reveals that both the personal and the social evolve, and each is open to activities that bring about change. Generalized Other is a concept of continuing usefulness to development psychologists.


Attribution and Symbolic Interactionism: An Impasse at the Generalized Other - George V. Zito, Jerry Jacobs, Syracuse University.
It was inevitable that developments in the one should at last collide with certain well-established tenets of the other. Recent developments in attribution theory respecting differential attributions by Ego of the causes of his own and Alter's behaviors seem to collide with Mead's notion of the Generalized Other.

Pronouns, Proximity, and the Generalized Other - Guy, Rebecca F.; Allen, Donald E. Experiment supporting the crux of Mead's discussion describing the development and projection of the social self.

Women as generalized other and self theory: A strategy for empirical research - Forrest A. Deseran, William W. Falk, Louisiana State University. Abstract: Following the argument that women as generalized other (Mead, 1934) could be explored with emperical evidence in much the same manner as self concepts, a variant of Kuhn's (1960) twenty statements test was applied to an examination of perceptions of women in general and of the relationship between self concepts and conceptions of women.

The Generalized Other and Me: Working Women's Language and the Academy. - Belanoff, Pat.
Discusses the teacher's obligation to help students utilize language which sounds and feels like their own, while helping them to master a language which opens up a larger, wider, deeper world for them and their teachers.

An International Generalized Other: The Social Negotiation of Moral Authority at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda - DR. MAYA STEINITZ, NY University. Abstract: The Generalized Other and institutions help socialize people in different parts of society to have the same responses, interests, and moral beliefs and conceptions of selves needed for understanding and synchronizing with others. The interplay between inclusion and exclusion, hegemony and diversity in institutions that have the potential not only to communicate for, but also to embody and personify the international Generalized Other is of great social significance. The sociological notion that courts are among the most significant institutions to perform, dramaturgically speaking, courts try to fashion themselves as the embodiment of a truly universal Generalized Other proclaiming the universal morality of the international community. The article advances the argument that the ICCs seek to personify the Generalized Other.