Role-taking is significant in the process of socialisation, that is, in the learning of social roles. The idea of role-taking is fundamental to the theory of ‘social self’ established by the social psychologist G.H. Mead. The child becomes a social being by playing roles and taking the roles of other individuals. Here the term ‘self’ is profusely used in role literature.
The term ‘self’ would imply what ego thinks he is as a person, that is, how he sees himself. As Mead has stated in the development of child’s social self role-taking is of crucial importance at two stages: the earlier ‘play’ stage and the later ‘game’ stage.
In the former, the child takes the roles of other persons such as mother, father, teacher, milk man, bus driver, etc., and plays these roles individually. In the latter, the older
child can put himself in the roles of a number of other positions simultaneously.
For example, in playing a team game the child is able to play the game because of its ability to imagine the roles of all, the other players. Mead used the expression ‘generalised other” to refer to the other roles.