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Beyond the Looking-Glass Self: Social Structure and Efficacy-Based Self-Esteem

Viktor Gecas and Michael L. Schwalbe
Social Psychology Quarterly
Vol. 46, No. 2 (Jun., 1983), pp. 77-88
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3033844
Page Count: 12
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Beyond the Looking-Glass Self: Social Structure and Efficacy-Based Self-Esteem
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Abstract

The "looking-glass self" has been the dominant metaphor within sociology for the development of self-conception and has contributed to an overly passive and oversocialized view of human beings. The major theme in this paper is that our self-conceptions are also based upon our actions in the world, especially efficacious actions. The notions of human agency and self-creativity, which have been a hallmark of the symbolic interactionist tradition at the philosophical level, can be brought into our studies of self-concept through the concept of self-efficacy. Efficacy-based self-esteem not only places greater emphasis upon "self-determination" in the process of self-concept formation, but also underscores the reciprocity between self and social structure. Several aspects of social structure are examined as they affect the development of efficacy-based self-conception.

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