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Who Do I Look Like? Gaining a Sense of Self-Authenticity Through the Physical Reflections of Others

Karen March
Symbolic Interaction
Vol. 23, No. 4 (2000), pp. 359-373
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction
DOI: 10.1525/si.2000.23.4.359
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/si.2000.23.4.359
Page Count: 15
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Who Do I Look Like? Gaining a Sense of Self-Authenticity Through the Physical Reflections of Others
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Abstract

The question Who do I look like? rarely arises for individuals raised in a biological family context. In contrast, searching adoptees report an incomplete sense of physical self from not seeing their bodily traits reflected in biological relatives. Meeting birth relatives and matching physical characteristics creates a stronger sense of self-authenticity. An analysis of these social processes provides a unique opportunity to contribute to the symbolic interactionist understanding of the relationships existing among the physical body, self, and the reflected appraisals of others. An integration of phenomenological theoretical concepts with symbolic interactionist concepts furthers that understanding.

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