Looking-Glass Selves

Personal Reflections

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Thursday, June 25, 2009


The Presentation of Self

In defining oneself, one should, in my view, always begin with the general and then move to the specific. In other words, discuss oneself deductively, not inductively. For instance, I would define myself as a critical sociologist, an advocacy journalist, and a radical historian.

  • Critical sociology is the general term. From it, I can say I am a sociologist of religion, a social theorist, a public sociologist, and a clinical sociologist.
  • Similarly, advocacy journalism is the general term. From it, I can refer to my focus on radical journalism or critical journalism. (That last term has so many usages, including referring to critical theory, that it is probably best avoided.)
  • Finally, radical history is the general term. From it, I can refer to new cultural history (Foucault, etc.), to social history, to intellectual history, to a variety of Marxist approaches, and, regarding time period, to contemporary history.

The advantage of this approach is that it allows the other person to immediately make an association between yourself and your occupaton(s) without having to revise it in the future.


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