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We Possess Self and Mind

Self simply means the person as object, an object that the actor can look back on and act on.

The conversation we all carry on with the self is called thinking.

Selfhood means we are able to talk to self about self.

To possess a self also means that we can exercise self-direction in situations.

Mind is thinking, all the conversation the actor carries on with self. Mind is the talking the actor does to himself or herself. This activity involves all the ways the actor points things out to self.  

Symbols, self, and mind are easily confused because they are so intimately connected. Simply remember that symbols are things the individual uses to communicate (including communicating with self), self is the object the individual communicates to (with symbols), and mind is all the action—with symbols—that we engage in toward self.

Chapter 12: Social Change

Individual Change and Social Change

Individuals change. They change their directions, their ideas, their friends, and their values. As they change roles, they too change, and as they change groups or communities, they change again. Every organization we enter means change because we are faced with new kinds of controls, structure, culture, and social institutions.  

So far in this course, we have focused on stability and order in social structure. But social organization also changes. Social change is easily as important a topic in organization as order and stability.

The question to be considered is: What causes social patterns to change? There are many factors, and sociologists differ as in which is the most important.

Acts of Individuals and Groups Change Organization

While we like to think that a single individual can change organization—the reality is often otherwise. The paradox is that those in the positions to bring about the most change are least likely to desire change; having made it to the top, they have the greatest investment in the organization. Their goals, values, and identities will be tied to it.

It is easy to complain about the conservatism of the powerful in a social organization, but we too are transformed by our new status positions as we rise in the hierarchy. Thus the nature of social structure itself works against the ability of individuals to have great impact.

Organized groups are likely to have more impact on social organization.

When large numbers of people work together in a loosely organized effort to change society, they constitute a social movement.

Copyright © 2005 Mount Vernon Nazarene University Adult and Graduate Studies

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