Michael R. Bartley

What do you think about the concept of the social other? Does it makes sense to you or do you have questions about it?

For me the concept of the social other is a given! That is, I have never thought of myself as existing outside the bounds of a body or a community. That is, until the last few years when divorce became a reality and I found myself existing in the emptiness of my current home. However, even in the midst of this emptiness I find myself shaped via the various interactions.

Why does James place so much emphasis on the social other being prior to us?

Because it defines our existence. We are not self made!

Can you describe “peer pressure” in terms of the social other? Are there times when peer pressure is good for us? When is peer pressure something to be resisted?

I am not sure I would use the term peer pressure that assumes something other than mimic or repetition. However, it is clear that our desires, our wants, our feelings are impulses that can be used. His example of the shoes– one could also use an example of the fadish church, or pop religious image etc that becomes the in thing.

I suspect resistance is needed when the pressure is related not toward the mimic of that which is healthy but toward the mimic of that which is destructive.