Reflexivity

Thisessay aims to explore on the topic reflexivity and the self. Sincethe ancient times, several studies and research work has beenconducted with an aim to expound and substantiate more onreflexivity. Sociology has played a great role in getting the insightthe better understanding of reflexivity and the self. A number ofrenownedsociologistslike Mead, Giddens, Bourdieu and many others havemade great contributions aiming at sensitizing people on sociologyand the process involved in the self-identification(Bourdieu1991, 214).This essay contains brief and to the point notes and illustrationsbased on the works of great theorists. It is of much importance foran individual to be keen to understand the role of reflexivity andsociology in the realization of the self.

Accordingto Talcott Parsons’ work, he defined reflexivity as the capabilityof social players in the current societies to be cognizant and ableto explain the actions that they do in their day-to-day activities(Parsons1967, p. 61).Anthony Giddens also argued out that sociology is key tool inreflexivity. He focused more on both the level of the society andthat of an individual. This is achieved by constant review of currentknowledge and information (Giddens2009,p. 43).Othertheorists like Pierre Bourdieu gave varying views on therelationship between sociology and reflexivity and the role in thecurrent society.He asserted that ‘reflexivityis a strategic agenda that of utilizing the tools of the disciplinein order to demystify sociology as a power saturated social practice’(Bourdieu1991, p. 58).

Inreference to previous studies and research work by several theorists,they described reflexivity is the process in which an individualtends to base his or her work or daily undertaking to his values andthoughts. entails how an individual’s views, interests,friends and values affect his or her work. Human beings were createdin such a way that every action that they do is directly andindirectly influenced by something (Smart1991, p. 114).Past thoughts and experiences have a vital role to play in theoverall behavior of an individual (Grim2012, p. 53).

Bourdieuseparated the sociology of class from the project of theoreticallyspecifying boundaries between classes for a number of reasons. Tobegin with, argumentation over the boundary separating one socialcollectivity from another is a fundamental form of politicalconflict, and Bourdieu observedduring the course of his career to avisualization of social science whichdisclaimed the merging ofpolitical and scientific interest.On the second note, he resists thatby drawing boundaries ahead of time, sociologists also run the ofconsidering classes as “self-subsistent entities…which come‘preformed,’ and only then… [enter into] dynamic flows….”(Emirbayer 1997, p.283)—or in other words, according to a“substantialist” logic. Both of these objections stem, in part,from Bourdieu’s antipathy towards arguments (frequent during 1960sand 1970s) over the “real” lines of division separatingclasses—above all, those separating the “middle class” from theproletariat—and the political implications of the location of theselines. Against the fundamental premises of such arguments, Bourdieuinsists passionately that “the question with which all sociologyought to begin” is “that of the existence…and mode of existenceof collectives” (Bourdieu 1991, 250)

Peoplealso base their actions and the way they carry on with their dailyroutines in relation to the actions of their friends. Friends possesssimilar behaviors and tend to work in the same manner. The techniquein solving any kind of situation is always similar among people whoare acquaintances (Steier1991,p. 54).The mode of dressing, hobbies, dislikes and every single behavior isin most cases, directly and indirectly related to a particular groupof friends (Perry2001, p. 112).Anytime an individual attaches himself or herself to groups of friendswho engage in illegal activities, within a short period of time theindividual will wholesomely bit by bit engage in the illegalactivities (Fulcher2011, p. 29).

Thecontributions of Mead played a significant role in sociology. Heargued out that the main positioning of the sociology of knowledge isthe concern with the relations between knowledge and some otherfactors in the society.Mead`s effort entailed on the way in which the self isdeveloped.Mead`s&nbsptheoryof the social self isgrounded on the fact that the “self emerges from socialinteractions (Lumsden2014,p. 117).Social interactions like observing and interacting with others,responding to others` opinions about oneself, and internalizingexternal opinions and internal feelings about oneself (Beunen2013,p.56).The social side of self is an important distinction because othersociologists and psychologists of Mead`s time felt that the self wasbased on biological factors and inherited traits”. Mead insistedthat the self is not there from birth, but rather it is developedover a certain period of time from social experiences and activities(Silva2008, p. 152).

Accordingto sociology, there are certain facts and behaviors in the socialworld that are connected. In reference to Pierre Bourdieu theory, theinteraction of people, happenings and other aspects in sociology tendto influence the behavior of an individual and this will play invital and a significant role in understanding and identifyingone-self. He described reflexivity as a strategic agenda to explainsociology in any given society (Fulcher2011, p. 29).

plays a significant role in shaping the behaviors of any kind of anindividual’s behavior. An individual who faced a great deal ofchallenges when young tends to shy off and at times react negativelytoo some situations. Any situation that seems to revert to childhoodpainful experiences motivates the individual to work harder (Richards2014, p. 107).Many studies indicate that many of the successful people in the worldhad passed through challenging experiences. The rather challengingexperiences motivated them to work extra hard in order to erase thechallenges (Cairns2014, p. 66).

Giddensalso played a significant role in regards to reflexivity and self inreference to sociology. His theories evolved around structuration andmodernity. According to sociology, meaningsare not fixed but they are developed, modified and created (May2011, p. 88).The way a situation is perceived by the player, has a directinfluence over his activities. Interactionism accentuates thatactivities of the player are also affected by his interpretation ofthe way others see him. ‘Every individual develops a self-conceptduring his interactions with the people around him and thisself-concept affects his actions significantly’ (Giddens1993, p. 156).

Inevery individual, there are certain values that are inculcated duringthe childhood age. Either parents or guardians teach the values. Attimes is hard to instill the values but after some time the valuesstick in the lives of the individuals (Weaver2015, p. 101).When people grow up, they tend to follow or act in relation to valuesthat were taught and it proves impossible to deviate from the values(Leary2003, p. 105).Most of the values are positive and they revolve around respect,love, peace, oneness and hard work (Mackinnon2010, p. 49).has also proven to play a significant role in the understanding ofvarious concepts in learning. This improves the performance of thestudents during their daily learning (Krause2012, p. 87).

plays a major role in understanding oneself and identity. Before anindividual takes any action, he or she reflects on the effects of theaction basing it on earlier occurrences and the effects. If theaction produced positive effects, they are then motivated to proceedwith the actions that they had intended to do (Willis2011, p. 111).On the other hand, if they action they intend to do had earlier onresulted in negative effects, it prevents and restrains them fromproceeding with the action. In this case, it plays a critical role inshaping the behaviors of people(Burner2007, 36).It helps individuals in the self- actualization process. This entailsthe deep understanding of inner being of an individual. This isimportant in ensuring that the individual copes with everything thathappens around him or her (Hertz1997, p. 33).The individual is also able to interact and live peacefully with theother individuals in the society. It helps avoid instances ofcommitting and engaging in illegal activities that may be dangerousto the individual and to the public (Chai2006, p.41).

Self-identityis not possessing certain traits and features but understanding innerbeing in terms of the reflexive understanding of their life history.This is important because it helps display the behavior of theindividual. The reaction and association with others is also a resultof reflexivity (Sundbo2003,p. 178).Drugabuse is the major result of those individuals who fail toacknowledge the importance and the role of reflexivity(Bourdieu2004, p. 78).They end up engaging in illegal activities in order to be able toraise funds to buy the drugs. The drugs are usually very expensive.Their relationship with other individuals is also very poor(Sandri2008,p. 91).Itproves difficult to reverse such individuals to be morally uprightand dis-engage themselves from the intolerable habits(Möllering2006,p. 136).

Inconclusion, studies and research work that have so far been conductedproves that reflexivity is of great importance in self-identity. is the foundation of selfhood. The transition of anindividual from not being able to identify himself or herself tobeing a better individual in the society lies in reflexivity(Rosanvallon2011,p. 121).Intra-identity comes first before extra-identity. isimportant in our daily cohabitation with the society. isvital in self-identity (Stryker2000, p. 99).

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