What makes you, “you”? Well, sociologists love to answer this question by saying that you are a social object– a combination of the environments, people, cultures, social experiences, and structures around you. And no one is more prolific than theorist Charles Cooley in establishing this! So, this week, we’re exploring the work of Cooley and his concept of The Looking Glass Self. Tune in to learn more about how you are who you think others think you are.
Self, self-esteem, self-concept, social psychology
- The man of the (half)hour is Charles Cooley, whom you can read about here.
- A nice summary of the Looking Glass Self can be found here.
- Read Morris Rosenberg’s (1979) Conceiving the Self here.
- Ellen is a fan of Erich Fromm and Escape from Society (1994).
- Want to cry? Watch Adam Sandler’s “Click” (during a vulnerable time in your life, so don’t judge us Rotten Tomatoes with your 34% rating).
- RIP Queen Elizabeth II!
Many people have heard the phrase, “take a walk in my shoes,” but what does this really mean? Is it possible to understand what someone is going through without sharing the same experiences? The answers to these questions may seem obvious, but it’s more complicated than you think! So this week, we’re getting into the nitty-gritty of distinguishing empathy from sympathy, and defining the two. As the world is facing unprecedented times and world leaders are contracting COVID-19, perhaps a little bit of empathy is important… or is it not? Join us for another fun dip in social psychology and emotions!
Empathy, sympathy, sociology of emotions, social psychology, COVID-19
- Check out Jamil Zaki and Kevin Ochsner’s chapter on empathy in Barrett et al.’s “Handbook of Emotions”
- Our hearts go out to Chrissy Teigen and John Legend over their recent miscarriage.
- Experts have pinpointed Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination event as the “super spreader” event that caused many White House officials to contract the virus.
- A New York Times article on how Trump is the leading cause of COVID-19 misinformation
- Three types of empathy… a short guide
- Has Trump learned anything from COVID-19? Absolutely not
- Some people do not think the President is being “empathetic”
- America Has A Super Spreader President
- A fun article on the etiquette of Zoom.
Self-esteem is a major concept in Social Psychology and it is majorly interesting! That’s why Ellen and Omar got together to discuss it this week. With the help of writing from academics Morris Rosenberg and Leonard Pearlin, they talk about how race affects self-esteem, and why Asian-Americans routinely report the lowest self-esteem among all races. They also ask, is sociology’s current way of measuring self-esteem the best one? Tune in to hear the convo!
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self-esteem, social psychology, race, mental health
- A foundational reading from Rosenberg and Pearlin (1978) on self-esteem that we mentioned is, “Social Class and Self-Esteem Among Children and Adults”. It touches on how both race and class can affect self-esteem and how it does.
- Also, Morris Rosenberg’s (who wrote a TON) book Conceiving the Self is helpful in understanding the roots of self-esteem and the self.
- If you wanna get a primer on how certain aspects of your life (like smoking, delinquency, happiness, early sexual experiences) can affect your self-esteem Baumeister et al.’s (2003) “Does High Self-Esteem Cause Better Performance, Interpersonal Success, Happiness, or Healthier Lifestyles?” from the Psychological Science in the Public Interest journal is a good place to start.
- Article cited when talking about which races report higher and lower self-esteem: Bachman et al. (2011) “Adolescent Self-Esteem: Differences by Race/ethnicity, Gender and Age”
- “Large-scale representative surveys of 8th-, 10th-, and 12th-grade students in the United States show high self-esteem scores for all groups. African-American students score highest, Whites score slightly higher than Hispanics, and Asian Americans score lowest.”
- This supports other more recent findings that “African Americans seem to consistently report higher levels of self-esteem than Whites, whereas Asian Americans report the lowest levels.” Despite African Americans experiencing more and harsher stigmas and discrimination than other races.
- Leonard Pearlin, the pioneer of the Social Stress Process Model, argues that a disadvantaged social status (e.g., low-income or negatively valued racial group) will be associated with lower levels of self-esteem, higher levels of distress, and more likely to be exposed and vulnerable to stressful life circumstances.
- Michael Hughes and David Demo in 1989 in their article titled, “Self-Perceptions of Black Americans: Self-Esteem and Personal Efficacy” found that “black self-esteem is insulated from systems of racial inequality, while personal efficacy is not, and suggest that this explains why black Americans have relatively high self-esteem but low personal efficacy. The belief that racial discrimination, rather than personal failure, accounts for low achievement among blacks is irrelevant to personal self-esteem and personal efficacy”
- If you wanna find anymore sources on self-esteem, just shoot us an email or Facebook/Twitter message us and we can point you in the direction of some great stuff!
This week we’re dipping our toes into the field of Social Psychology by exploring the concept of conformity. What is it? What do we risk if we don’t conform? And what are some social structures that influence us into conforming? Tune in to hear our conversation and remember to check out our website (www.thesocialbreakdown.com) for more sources and articles on this topic!
conformity, social psychology, micro-sociology
- Elliot Aronson’s The Social Animal
- Soloman Asch’s 1950’s Conformity Experiment and here’s some good video footage!
- Deutsch and Gerard (1955) article, “A study of normative and informational social influences upon individual judgment”
- A more recent article from Stanley Milgrim on “Nationality and Conformity” in the Scientific American
- A great example of social conformity in action from the TV show, “Brain Games”