|Kelly and Mead
static sociological characterizations of role as structured
(rights and obligations), Kelly (1955, p. 97) tells his readers that "a
is a psychological process based upon the role player's construction of
of the construction systems of those with whom he attempts to join in a
enterprise." In this definition the psychological process that
the sociality corollary is presented as
an exercise of will. For a person to
desire "to join in a social enterprise" she must have construed
"replications of events" as noted in the experience
Moreover, she must have developed an interest in replicating or
least aspects of some of those events. Kelly's definition of the
process can be seen as explicating an outcome and continuation of the
of socialization described and analyzed by George Herbert Mead (1863-1931).
As a lecturer at the University of Chicago during the 1920s and 1930s, Mead (1934) proposed a theory
of the formation of self which, in Kelly's terms, provides a
focus for the crystallization of role. In Mead's
construction, the self is formed
dialectically as individuals interact
with the persons in their environment that are meaningful to them,
"significant others". The interaction is compounded of spontaneous
that cannot be regulated (Mead: the individual's inescapable "I") and
the interpretations of those actions that are remitted to the actor and
reinterpreted by her (the individual's "me"). The self that evolves
in the course of this dialectic becomes capable of construing how
construct rules through a graded developmental engagement with others.
describes three stages. In the first stage, children imitate separate
of significant others that they observe; later, they play, "taking a
(as Mead defines it) by chaining behaviors into a coherent
sequence. The culminating developmental stage is that of "playing the
game" together with others in recognizable situations. This is where
person becomes part of the social world.
From a theoretical point of
view, this is where Mead and Kelly meet. The stage of "playing the
is inconceivable before individuals have experienced
events and have
of replications. Only then are
individuals capable of construing
aspects of the
construction systems of those who join together to "play the game".
capacity is integral to viable functioning in adulthood and to the
of the sociality corollary.
G. A. (1955/1991) The
psychology of personal constructs. London: Routledge.
- Mead, G.
H. (1934) On social psychology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.