Among the many definitions of the self that can be found in the philosophical and sociological literature, the most influential ones are those of William James and George Herbert Mead. James (1890, 291) said that “a man's Self is the sum total of all that he can call his.” Charles Horton Cooley (1902/1964, 182) insisted that the self is “simply any idea, or system of ideas, drawn from the communicative life, that the mind cherishes as its own.” Mead (1934), however, stressed “reflexivity” and argued that the self is the “reflexive objectivation” of one's presence in the world of others.

In these approaches—and in that of many others too—the self is viewed as an object that is constituted conceptually and used by an agent in the ...

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