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Game Stage

D. Angus Vail

Subject Psychology
Social Psychology » Socialization

People Mead, George Herbert

Key-Topics self

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405124331.2007.x


The game stage is one of three central components of George Herbert Mead's seminal discussion of the social foundation and development of the self. According to Mead, the self has a social genesis which becomes evident if one examines the ways that people develop a sense of their own being as something separate from, but also interdependent with, other people. In essence, the self is situated in the individual's capacity to take account of themselves. By examining children's styles of play, followed by the games they play, one can see how they develop a capacity to take into account not just the role of a singular other person, but also eventually the roles of many people simultaneously. It is only once a person has reached this stage of development that she or he is said to have developed a complete self. Mead (1962 : 151–4) called the second stage the game stage. The fundamental difference between the game stage and its antecedent play stage lies in the child's ability to take the roles of multiple people at the same time. In order successfully to play an organized game or sport, the child has to be able to take account not only of his or her own actions, but also, and simultaneously, the actions of every other player involved in the game. Little league soccer makes a fine example of the distinction. At a certain age, children playing soccer stop playing swarm ball where every ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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