Frames, Roles, and Institutions
How role-playing organizes both the individual and society from the inside. Institutions are exteriorizations of our psychological functions, and in turn our social mind is made up of the interiorization of institutions and the relevant roles associated to them. From George Herbert Mead's 'Mind, Self, and Society' (§34, "The Community and the Institution" 260-61):
"There are what I have termed 'generalized social attitudes' which make an organized self possible. In the community there are certain ways of acting under situations which are essentially identical, and these ways of actin on the part of anyone are those which we excite in others when we take certain steps. If we assert our rights, we are calling for a definite response just because they are rights that are universal—a reesponse which everyone whould, and perhaps will, give. Now that response is present in our own nature; in some degree we are ready to take that same attitude toward somebody else if he makes tha appeal. When we call out that response in others, we can take the attitude of the other and then adjust our own conduct to it. There are, then, whole series of such common responses in the community in which we live, and such responses are what we term 'institutions'. The institution represents a common response on the part of all members of the community to a particular situation. This common response is one which, of course, varies with the character of the individual. In the case of theft the response of the sheriff is different from that of the attorney-general, from that of the judge and the jurors, and so forth; and yet they all are responses which maintain property, which involve the recognition of the property right in others. And these variations, as illustrated in the different officials, have an organization which gives unity to the variety of the responses. One appeals to the policeman for assistance, one expects the state's attorney to act, expects the court and its various funcionaries to carry out the process of the trial of the criminal. One does take the attitude of all of these different officials as involved in the very maintenance of property; all of them as an organized process are in some sense found in our own natures. When we arouse such attitudes, we are taking the attitude of what I have termed a 'generalized other'. Such organized sets of response are related to each other; if one calls out one such set of responses, he is implicitly calling out others as well.
Thus the institutions of society are organized forms of group or social activity—forms so organized that the individual members of society can act adequately and socially by taking the attitudes of others toward these activities."