Stanley Raffel (1999) 'Revisiting Role Theory: Roles and the Problem of the Self'
Sociological Research Online, vol. 4, no. 2, <http://www.socresonline.org.uk/4/2/raffel.html>
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Received: 27/01/99 Accepted: 07/06/99 Published: 30/6/99
Thus, the deep need (of ethnomethodology)...is for an actor who is competent, resourceful, and even masterly in his use and expression of convention. (Blum and McHugh, 1984, pp. 114-15)
Competent attention to such prescriptions (i. e. roles) consisted of knowing their limitations, knowing how to reconstitute their intended meanings, and knowing how to abandon them completely when the situation called for it. (Hilbert, 1981, p. 215)
...becomes an object to himself only by taking the attitude of other individuals within a social environment or context of experience and behavior in which both he and they are involved. (Mead, 1952, p.138)
The child who plays in a game must be ready to take the attitude of everyone else involved in that game. (Mead, 1952, p.151)
But at the second stage in the full development of the individual's self, that self is constituted not only by an organization of these particular individual attitudes, but also by an organization of the social attitudes of the generalized other or the social group as a whole to which he belongs...The individual arrives at them or succeeds in taking them, by means of further organizing, and then generalizing, the attitudes of particular other individuals. (Mead, 1952, p.158)
Prior to the question of doing it well or poorly is: whether to do it at all....One can undertake to do it because 1) it is expected. 2) it is right. If one undertakes (to do it because one thinks it is) right, it is difficult to imagine that one would want to do it poorly. That is, to undertake something because it is right seems to require that one try to do it well. And yet to undertake to do it can be for other than right reasons--because it is expected regardless of right--and here trying to do it well is more problematic. An actor, then, can endow his action with right and/or expected grounds, which means that for any actor this itself can be a problematic issue of orientation. (Blum and McHugh, 1984, pp. 155-6)
We speak of people as selves, meaning that they are beings of the requisite depth and complexity to have an identity. (Taylor, 1989, p. 32)
It is significant in this situation that it is not simply as a human being or as an individual that Kohl takes on the tutoring, that he responds to the boy's plight, but specifically as a teacher. It is as a teacher that he sees the boy's need clearly, appreciates its significance, and is in a position to do something about it. (Blum, 1994, p. l02, his emphasis)
What to do? How to act? Who to be? These are the focal questions for everyone living in circumstances of late modernity. (Giddens, 1991, p. 70)
Self-therapy is grounded first and foremost in continuous self-observation. Each moment of life, Rainwater emphasizes, is a 'new moment', at which the individual can ask, 'what do I want for myself.' Living every moment reflectively is a matter of heightened awareness of thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations. Awareness creates potential change, and may actually induce change in and through itself. For instance, the question: 'Are you aware of your breathing right now?', at least when it is first posed, usually produces an instantaneous change. The raising of such an issue may make the person 'aware that she is exhibiting a normal full breathing cycle and allows her body to say "whew" in relief, take a deep breath and then exhale it.' 'And,' Rainwater adds parenthetically to the reader, 'how is your breathing now after reading this paragraph?'- a question that I could echo to whoever is reading this particular text...(Giddens, 1991, p. 71)
Modernity confronts the individual with a complex diversity of choices and, because it is non-foundational, at the same time offers little help as to which options should be selected. (Giddens, 1991, p.80)
Where do you want to live?With whom do you want to live?Do you want to work? To study? Are there any ingredients from your fantasy life that you would like to incorporate into your current life? (Giddens, 1991, p. 74, quoting Rainwater)
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