Thursday, April 29, 2010

Tarzan the Ape-Man

Social Interactionism is a theory about how people acquire their self-concepts.
Watch this video link. It is about a man named Tarzan.

Disney's Tarzan- Strangers Like Me clip.

George Herbert Mead, the creator of the Social Interactionism theory felt that the first step to acquiring a self-concept comes from the symbols created by language. In the video clip, it is very clear that his human friends are trying to teach him "civilized" behaviors. One of the first things they teach him is how to read. They also teach him by showing him pictures, or symbols, of very human things in hope that by seeing this things and learning words, he will act more like a human rather than a gorilla.

Another interesting part of George Herbert Mead's theory is the I and Me concept. As I blogged in the I + ME = Self-Concept blog, I noted how Mead felt that every person has an "I" and a "Me." The "I" is spontaneous and creative. It is sort of like the gorilla part of Tarzan. His natural self. The "Me" is the socialized part of every human. The "me" is represented by Tarzan becoming more "human."

Social Interactionism also consists of the self-fulfilling prophesy. The idea that people take on the traits that other people tell them they have. In the Disney version of Tarzan. Young Tarzan is very upset, because he does not feel like he belongs. The male leader of the gorillas is being very mean to him, but his mother constantly reinforces that he is a real member of the family. In the end, Tarzan becomes the man/gorilla his mom always assured him he was. He saves the day, his family, and the pretty Lady Jane from the bad guy.

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