Self-in-Self, Mind-in-Mind, Heart-in-Heart: The Role-Taking Project

Self-in-Self, Mind-in-Mind, Heart-in-Heart: The Role-Taking Project

Role-taking refers to the process of symbolically placing the self in another’s position. The concept was introduced by George Herbert Mead in 1934 and is now foundational in the sociological canon. However, role-taking has received little systematic attention, instead persisting as axiomatic in studies of self in society. Sociologists’ inattention to role-taking contrasts starkly with psychologists’ rigorous interrogation of two related concepts from their own field: empathy and perspective taking. Supported by an ANU Futures Scheme grant, The Role-Taking Project (RTP) focuses on three interrelated tasks: define, measure, and identify social factors that affect and are affected by role-taking; synthesize role-taking with empathy and perspective taking; and devise interventions to improve role-taking. Dr. Jenny Davis (ANU) and Dr. Tony Love (University of Kentucky) are leading the RTP through laboratory studies at ANU and international collaborations with an emergent community of scholars. Beyond advancing the study of role-taking, the project establishes ANU as the sole site of experimental methods in Australian sociology. In this talk, Dr. Davis and Dr. Love describe the foundations of their research program, showcase ongoing work, and highlight future directions. They invite all attendees to participate in the conversation.

Date & time

Tue 23 Jul 2019, 5–7pm


Allan Barton Forum Australian National University Level 2, CBE Building 26C


Jenny L. Davis
Tony P. Love


Liliana Oyarzun


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