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Role-taking theory also called social perspective taking, is a social-psychological concept. Role-taking occurs where an individual looks at their own role performance from the perspective of another person. In taking the view point of another, they are able to see themselves as an object, as if from the outside. Role-taking theory is the sociological theory that one of the most important factors in facilitating social cognition in children is the growing ability to understand others’ feelings and perspectives. Manipulation is inherent in role-taking and can be perfectly normal. Role-taking ability involves understanding the cognitive and affective aspects of another person's point of view. Albeit some mixed evidence on the issue, role taking and perceptual perspective taking seem to be functionally and developmentally independent of each other. When we ask: ‘Am I talking too much?’, or ‘Am I being responsible?’ we are engaging in reflexive role-taking. Role Theory includes Role Strain, Role Playing, Role Distancing, Role-Taking, and Role Convergence.
Role-taking theory of hypnotism where Theodore Sarbin argued that hypnotic responses were motivated attempts to fulfill the socially constructed roles of hypnotic subjects leading to the misconception that hypnotic subjects are simply faking. But then, Theodore Sarbin emphasised the difference between faking, in which there is little subjective identification with the role in question, and role-taking, where the subject not only acts externally in accord with the role but also subjectively identifies with it, acting, thinking, and feeling hypnotised. Theodore Sarbin also drew analogies between role-taking in hypnosis and role-taking in other areas such as method acting, mental illness, and shamanic possession.
Susan Shott (1997) wrote one of the early classics announcing the importance of emotions for sociological theory. The original intent in George Herbert Meads formulation of role taking was to overcome the reified separation of a self-contained individual and society. When we overdo this separation, society is seen as basically forcing the person into conventions that are contrary to his and her spontaneous needs. Granted, this can happen, but it is not inherently a part of the relationship.
Rousseau and Sigmund Freud are well known thinkers guilty of this over-done contrast. But does Mead's remedy via his purely cognitive theory of role taking really accomplish this goal? Role-taking is manipulative even if it is just a normal response to the inequalities of power. Manipulation is inherent in role-taking and can be perfectly normal. Shott demonstrates how role taking generally leads to behavior that maintains the social order and mutually supportive actions by bringing in the emotional aspects of self-awareness. She suggests that there are two types of emotions connected with role-taking.
Role-Taking, Role Standpoint, and Reference-Group Behavior - Ralph H. Turner. In order to clarify the meaning and usefulness of the concept of role-taking, some major types of role-taking behavior are differentiated and their relations to the concepts of "empathy" and "reference group" are explored. Role-taking may or may not include adoption of the standpoint of the other as one's own and may or may not be reflexive. Coincidence of certain reference-group meanings with types of role-taking and possibilities for enhancing the usefulness of the reference-group concept are discussed. Psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg believed children needed to be in an environment that allowed for open and public discussion of day-to-day conflicts and problems to develop their moral reasoning ability. Kohlberg refers to changes occurring through role-taking opportunities, opportunities to consider others' viewpoints. As children interact, they learn how viewpoints differ. As children discuss their problems and work out their differences, they develop their conceptions of what is fair and just.
The innovating self: exploring self among a group of technological innovators - Abstract: Paper explores the relevance of the concept of self in the process of independent technological innovation. Emerging factors in the interview data revealed aspects pertaining to the innovators reflexive self-conception, innovator ego-involvement in the venture, forms of commitment and control, personal and social stakes. It is argued that the self-concept allows the innovator to come into view as a social and subjective being who is involved in reflexive activities such as dynamic role-taking, is vs ought reflections and social negotiations. - Tomas H, Christina, Henrik Berglund.
CONVICTED RAPISTS' PERCEPTIONS OF SELF AND VICTIM: Role Taking and Emotions - DIANA SCULLY. This article is an attempt to bridge the gap between feminist structural explanation for rape and the social psychological mechanisms that make it possible for some men in patriarchal societies to feel neutral about sexual violence toward women. The concept of role taking is used to analyze the perceptions of self and victim held by 79 convicted rapists. Men who defined their behavior during sexual encounters as rape saw themselves from the perspective of their victim through reflexive role-taking, had inferred their victims' experience through synesic role taking. Men who did not define their behavior as rape did neither reflexive role taking nor synesic role taking and appeared incapable of understanding the meaning of sexual violence to women. The majority of both groups did not experience role-taking emotions, that is, guilt, shame, or empathy, which symbolic interactionism puts forward as the mediators of self-control.
Reflexive Social Control Mechanisms - One type is directed toward ourselves; it involves how we feel about us. Role taking, as we have seen, is not only reflexive, but anticipatory. Farberman sees these self-reflexive emotions as taxes we pay in the currency of our own self-feelings for membership in the social group (See Hochschield, 1979).
The Self-Reflective Emotions as Necessary for Social Theory - Our original discussion of role taking was essentially cognitive. Role taking could be used to con and deceive as well as to accommodate. The ends are ours and can be anything for good or bad. Role taking does not necessarily mean empathy! This is a good example of why social theory needed to become sensitive to emotion. Mead originally meant to formulate a theory wherein self-control was at one and the same time social control. For this to happen we need the role taking emotions directed to the self and others. This adds the necessary refinement that the original theory needed.