Sociology Index

ME

'Me' is a concept of George Herbert Mead (1863-1921) referring to the aspect of personal identity or self that is aware of and has internalized the expectations of others.

The ‘me’ is guided and shaped by the culture of an individual's society or group, which is internalized and acts to direct and control behavior. In social interaction, each individual's behavior is shaped by the interaction of their socially shaped ‘me’ and their more spontaneous and ego-focused ‘I’.

RECOGNIZING that the self can not appear in consciousness as an “I,” that it is always an object, i.e., a “me,” I wish to suggest an answer to the question, What is involved in the self being an object? The first answer may be that an object involves a subject. Stated in other words, that a “me” is inconceivable without an “I.” And to this reply must be made that such an “I” is a presupposition, but never a presentation of conscious experience, for the moment it is presented it has passed into the objective case, presuming, if you like, an “I” that observes – but an “I” that can disclose himself only by ceasing to be the subject for whom the object “me” exists. - George Herbert Mead 1901 - The Social Self - The Mead Project. Department of Sociology, Brock University.

It is, of course, not the Hegelism of a "self that becomes another to himself in which I am interested, but the nature of the self as revealed by introspection and subject to our factual analysis. This analysis does reveal, then, in a memory process an attitude of observing oneself in which both the observer and the observed appear.

To be concrete, one remembers asking himself how he could undertake to do this, that, or the other, chiding himself for his shortcomings or pluming himself upon his achievements.