How can individual identity fall under the influence of collective identity?
Mead further suggested that an individual’s identity can become part of collective identity by adopting the rules, attitudes, and norms of the ‘generalized other’ (Mead, 2009). This is referred to as the ‘game’ where the collective identity emerges (Mead, 2009).
By taking the attitudes of the ‘generalized other,’ an individual is seen as a member of that society and will remain so long as he/she allows the attitudes of the other to impact on his/her expression and actions (Mead, 2009). This form of collective identity can be seen in the ‘lad culture’ that allows for the construction and persistence of hegemonic masculinity to exist in Higher Education, for example.
The ‘lad culture’ is said to be a ‘pack mentality,’ meaning that it is a group characteristic that is less likely to be found in an individual (Phipps and Young, 2014, p. 316). This incorporates the idea of hegemonic masculinity which can be defined as ‘the pattern of practice that allowed men’s dominance over women to continue’ (Connell and Messerschmidt, 2005, p.832).
The idea of hegemonic masculinity ‘embodied the currently most honored way of being a man’ and requires other men to adopt certain attitudes and behavior to enjoy the benefits (Connell and Messerschmidt, 2005, p. 832). In this case of lad culture, male students use several mechanisms such as name-calling and sexual harassment to exercise their hegemonic masculinities and retain power over women and subordinate form of masculinities (Connell and Messerschmidt, 2005).
Identity, in this case, is seen as embedded in the individual’s identity because hegemonic masculinity reinforces the idea of the gender binary and creates hierarchies among types of men.