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Who Are You?

February 17, 2010
In a previous post (Facebook and Connection) I introduced some concepts related to Georg Simmel’s work around associations and sociability.  One of the more popular self help gurus of the late 20th and early 21st centuries has been Stephen Covey.  An extension of Covey’s work “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” involves a retreat and an examination of one’s circles.
Each of us as individuals can gain great depth of understanding of who we are by examining the positions we hold in society (status) and the expectations of those positions (role).  These are philosophical and questions of meaning that have been explored for quite sometime.
Let me provide a brief introduction to the video below.  This is a studio snapshot of The Who, you know, that band that played at halftime of the 2010 Super Bowl?  For most Who fans, this is The Who that we would rather you come to know and love.  This is a song of theirs, not part of the Super Bowl medley, called “Who Are You”.
So let’s explore the question, posed by Simmel, Covey, The Who, and thousands over time, “Who Are You”?
Considering the social institutions (particularly the Family, Education, and the Economy), what social positions do you occupy in society?  Social positions in this regard are not necessarily paid work.  For example, within the institution of the Family I am a father, a husband, a son, a brother, a cousin, an uncle, amongst other status positions I hold in the social institution of the Family.  With each of those positions, I hold a role or a variety of roles: social expectations for any given social status.  What is expected of me as a father, a husband, etc..?
Take a few minutes to list all of your social statuses (think about your social position in relation to the Family, Education, and the Economy).  Then list your roles for your various positions.  As you begin working through this you can to see the variety of “persons” you are in the world.  As you list roles, you can begin to see the variety of expectations that you have of yourself and the expectations that others have of you.  To add another layer, what is it that defines the social positions we occupy, and the expectations of those positions?  How do we learn our “roles”?
So….Who Are You?
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