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Social Psychology - Essay Example

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Social Competence: Name: Institution: Social interactions are inevitable even in the wake of the current individualistic state of affairs. Mead (1934) saw this inevitability and went forth to examine possible approaches to make these interactions work. As such, he developed three approaches to achieve social competence…
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Social Psychology
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Social Psychology

Achieving social competence requires balanced interaction with the cognitive state of individual, psychological dispositions and cultures the individual practices (Lovaglia, 2007). Until the 1970’s sociologists underscored the investigation of emotion as a relevant field in sociology (Stets, 2007). However, with the discovery that human behavior, interaction and social structuring relies on emotional expression, sociologists delve into manners of human expression such as language. Language is a main way through which people express their emotion. Therefore, developing linguistic faculties aids humans in acquiring the sense of self through expression of their emotions. Language defines symbolic interaction as it is the means through which culture moves form one generation to the next. Language is not only a symbol but its use elicits symbols through which humans understand each other. For instance, one may choose obscene words to refer to a situation or person. This obscene language expresses anger or disappointment. One can see that Mead (1934) succeeds in his intention of highlighting the importance of language in social psychology (James, 2007). Through an interaction of an array of possible developmental stages as suggested by various theorists, an individual reaches a compromise of the best possible self. A few of these theories include latent trait theory and, in view of Herbert Mead, mainly cognitive theory. Sense of self involves creating a distinction between the self and others. These distinctions are as basic as knowing ones gender. The sense of self, therefore, relies on knowing what role one plays in society. The position affiliated to a person is a symbol of the self as it guides the social interactions they engage. For instance, an individual when analyzing an occurrence will ask “who” did what to “whom”? Even in the constantly changing roles, self identity is responsible for stability and coherence, in regard to social interactions, for the individual. However, Mead points out that the self needs to be as flexible as possible. This will help the individual to self conceptualize and, therefore, create the unique self (Stets, 2007). The sense of self lays a foundation for development of self esteem. Without self esteem, an individual will have a hard time balancing their inner feelings with those people hold towards them. Secondly, the individual will have a hard time expressing their emotions even with a grasp on linguistic faculties and their perceived meanings. The result of this is deviants in society as seen in crime, and sexual expression. Social competence should be emphasized in childhood as early as possible. Jean Piaget viewed young children as little scientists. He was of the view that children are capable of deciphering situations and actions through perception. Therefore, it is possible to introduce self control to the child as it will help them associate it with self esteem even later in life. According to Siegel in his book “Criminology: Theories Patterns and Typology”, research reveals that low self control during childhood may result in disrupted social bonds. This means that, in adulthood, the individual will not have meaningful social interactions due to low self esteem. This is a sure way to fall in to some forms of crime as prescribed by latent trait theory. The same can apply to sexual interactions that have a direct correlation to self esteem. Siegel (2012) further notes ... Read More
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