SELF, IDENTITY, AND PERSONALITY
At this point we have reviewed most of the data we need in order to explain the differences we have described between the typical personalities of the FulBe and the RiimaayBe. But throughout the presentation thus far I have been deliberately vague in my terminology, sometimes using the word personality, sometimes character, sometimes self. We now have to clarify just what it is we have been discussing; in so doing, we will also actually be sketching out a theory of the personality and its formation.
While I have used the terms character and personality nearly interchangeably, I think of the self as a concept of a different type. George Herbert Mead's thinking about this concept has been extremely useful to me, though I do not follow him exactly. For Mead ( 1964), the term "self" designates what other psychologists often call personality. It consists in two aspects, the "me," which is the impressions of the person that others reflect back and which the person then sees as "me," and the "I," which is the agent who both responds to the "me" at any given moment and creates and modifies it through action. The terms "I" and "me" have been helpful to many scholars because they keep in our minds the fact that the person is both an agent and a bearer of qualities attributed to that person by others.
In what follows, however, I will use the term "self" to designate the agent, that which acts and undergoes experiences. It is very close and possibly identical to what Mead called the "I." For Mead and for the rest of us, the crucial problem of the self is how the part of it that he calls the "me" is created. I think he is right in