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Additional resources for Lifeworld and System: A Critique of Functionalist Reason (The Theory of Communicative Action, Vol. 2)
The structure, then, on which the self is built is this response which is common to all, for one has to be a member of a community to be a self. 33 Mead is here viewing socialization from an ontogenetic perspective, as a constitution of the self mediated by grammatical language; he explains this construction of an inner world once again by means of the mechanism of taking the attitude of the other. But now ego takes over not the behavioral reactions of alter but alter's already normed expectations of behavior.
What he does is controlled by his being everyone else on that team, at least insofar as those attitudes affect his own particular response. " I shall try now to reconstruct the conceptual genesis of role behavior along the lines sketched out by Mead. The mechanism to which Mead appeals in explaining the acquisition of role competence is, once again, taking the attitude of the other toward oneself. This time the mechanism fastens not upon behavioral reactions, nor upon behavioral expectations, but upon the positive or negative sanctions that B announces when he utters an imperative to A The construction presupposes a socializing interaction that is characterized by differences in competence and authority and in which the participants typically satisfy the following conditions.
Thus Mead attributes normative validity directly to the sanction-free, that is, moral, authority of the generalized other. The latter is supposed to have arisen by way of the internalization of group sanctions. However, this explanation can hold only for ontogenesis, for groups must have first been constituted as units capable of acting before sanctions could be imposed in their name. Participants in symbolically mediated interaction can transform themselves, so to speak, from exemplars of an animal species with an inborn, species-specific environment into members of a collective with a lifeworld only to the degree that a generalized other—we might also say: a collective consciousness or a group identity—has taken shape.