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Mead: Sources in Sociology
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
2009 (English)In: International Sociology, ISSN 0268-5809, E-ISSN 1461-7242, Vol. 24, no 2, 159-172 p.Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This essay is a critical analysis of Da Silva's G. H. Mead: A Critical Introduction, which has the twofold goal of introducing Mead's thought to a new generation of scholars and inspiring a scholarly debate concerning the significance of his work in modern social science. The discussion acknowledges the originality of Da Silva's conception of Mead's thought as a system that develops in and through a dialogue with other thinkers. Nevertheless, this dialogue is shown to be inadequate as a strategy for reconstructing Mead's social psychology, which did not rely solely upon philosophy and psychology. The focus is brought to bear on Da Silva's uncritical acceptance of authoritative opinion concerning the main sources of Mead's inspiration, among which not even a single sociologist is mentioned. The essay argues, on the one hand, that Blumer's symbolic interactionism compressed two quite different traditions into one - a view adequately supported by evidence. Meadian scholarship then continued to conflate and subsume under 'Mead' what may be termed the micro-sociopsychological tradition, as found in the pioneering works of Cooley, and what may be termed the macro-sociopsychological tradition of Mead himself, to which the former gave impetus. The essay also maintains that the origin of Mead's theory cannot be properly understood outside its indebtedness to the sociological climate in America at the turn of the 20th century, which was conditioned by the social and psychological ideas of such thinkers as Jane Addams and Freud. The conclusion is drawn that if the relationship between symbolic interactionism and modern social theory is to be understood, then the area of research should be extended from the main canonical gallery, in which Mead deservedly has a place, to what may be described as the 'minor sociological gallery' of Simmel, Tarde, Addams and Cooley, which at present remains in the background.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Los Angeles: SAGE , 2009. Vol. 24, no 2, 159-172 p.
Keyword [en]
C. H. Cooley; Chicago School; dialogue; domination; G. H. Mead; methodology; macro-sociology; micro-sociology; pragmatism; reconstruction; symbolic interactionism
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URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-99729DOI: 10.1177/0268580908101063ISI: 000263618900002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-99729DiVA: diva2:208624
Available from: 2009-03-19 Created: 2009-03-19 Last updated: 2011-01-18Bibliographically approved

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