|Mead, George Herbert (1863–1931)|
American philosopher, social and historical theorist, and psychologist; one of the founders of American pragmatist philosophy (see also Pierce and Dewey). In anthropology, Mead is primarily known for his theory of identity, which describes the emergence of a Self, by juxtaposition of an "I" with an "Other", leading to the conceptualization of a "Me" - the "I" as an object for the "Other". Out of many such juxtapositions grows the concept of the "Generalized Other", which summarizes all experiences of particular "Others" into a an overarching entity, in response to which the "Self" - the totalized conception of that which experiences otherhood - arises.
Mead's theory of identity has found new applications in postmodern anthropology, which has attached great importance to the critique of the idea of the "Other" as a opressive construct of dominant groups and cultures, and of the "othering" committed by representatives of such groups (e.g. Western anthropologists during fieldwork).
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