chapter  15
22 Pages

Toward Cultural Dynamics of Self-Conceptions

I, the English first person singular pronoun, commands prominence in selfresearch. James (189011950) and Mead (193411962) began their theoretical inquiries into self by asking questions about the meaning of I and me. In empirical research also, the well-known Twenty Statements Test (Kuhn & McPartland, 1954), which has been used in a number of studies on culture and self, poses the question of "Who am I?" again inquiring into a participant's meaning of 1. Thus, the meaning of I has been a point of entry for both theoretical and empirical research on self-conceptions. However, the meaning of I is a peculiar matter, an analysis of which reveals unexpected complexities (see, e.g., Y. Kashima & Kashima, 1999; Miihlhaiisler & Harre, 1990). In particular, we make a case for the contention that the meaning of a first person singular pronoun is largely determined relationally; that is, in relation to something else.