Symbolic interactionist theories need to use the generalized in order to explain difference, but this essential term has been neglected. A "sense of group position" has been used to focus on difference, but this term is too structural. To bridge this gap in symbolic interactionism, we show that a generalized other is socially constructed through framing; this process of social construction involves internalization or externalization; multiple generalized others routinely exist and they create multiple selves; generalized others may be positive or negative; generalized others are ranked in terms of importance to the self; and difference springs from these different rankings.
Janoski, Thomas E.; Grey, Chrystal; and Lepadatu, Darina, "Integrating the Generalized Other into Theories of Difference: Balancing and Bridging in Symbolic Interactionism" (2021). Sociology White Papers. 3.