Mead, George Herbert

Mead, George Herbert
A leading American pragmatist, philosopher of the Chicago School, and one of the founders of the sociological tradition that came to be known as symbolic interactionism after his death. His thought is often classified as social behaviourism .
Mead's contribution is most frequently seen as centring upon the development of a theory of Mind, Self and Society, the title of his posthumously published book (in 1934). In this work, he laid the foundations for a sociological social psychology, emphasizing the following: an analysis of experience located firmly within society; the importance of language , symbols , and communication in human group life; the ways in which our words and gestures bring forth responses in others through a process of role-taking; the reflective and reflexive nature of the self ; and the centrality of the ‘act’.
But Mead's work went well beyond this. Indeed, as John Baldwin has argued in his book George Herbert Mead (1986), Mead provided a much wider ‘unifying theory’ for sociology, which anticipated, at one level, developments in sociobiology, and at another, broad historical transformations. Uniting all this was his unswerving commitment to the role of science in human affairs. ‘The scientific method’, he wrote, ‘is the method of social progress.’
Mead fostered a position sometimes designated ‘objective relativism’: he often refers to the ‘objective reality of perspectives’. There are many accounts of reality possible, depending upon whose standpoint is taken. History, for example, is always an account of the past from some person's present. A theory of the social construction of time was another major aspect of Mead's work.
When Mead died he had not published a unified statement of his ideas. His four posthumous books are edited versions of his lecture notes and of notes recorded by his students. This gives much of his written work an unsatisfyingly incomplete and piecemeal character. Despite this, his influence on modern sociology has been enormous. For a selection of his writings see, George Herbert Mead on Social Psychology (1964); and for a valuable bibliography, see , ‘George Herbert Mead: A Bibliography of the Secondary Literature’ in Studies in Symbolic Interaction, 1986. See also reference group.

Dictionary of sociology. 2013.

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  • Mead,George Herbert — Mead (mēd), George Herbert. 1863 1931. American philosopher and social theorist and reformer. He was a leader of the American pragmatists and contributed greatly to the development of social psychology. * * * …   Universalium

  • Mead, George Herbert — born Feb. 27, 1863, South Hadley, Mass., U.S. died April 26, 1931, Chicago, Ill. U.S. philosopher, sociologist, and social psychologist prominent in the development of pragmatism. He studied at Oberlin College, graduated from Harvard University… …   Universalium

  • Mead, George Herbert — (27 feb. 1863, South Hadley, Mass., EE.UU.–26 abr. 1931, Chicago, Ill). Filósofo, sociólogo y psicólogo social estadounidense, destacado en el desarrollo del pragmatismo. Estudió en el Oberlin College, se graduó en la Universidad de Harvard (B.A …   Enciclopedia Universal

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  • George Herbert (disambiguation) — George Herbert is the name of:* George Herbert (1593 1633), an English poet * George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon (1866 1923), an English Egyptologist * George Herbert, 11th Earl of Pembroke (1759 1827), an English peer * George Herbert, 13th… …   Wikipedia

  • George Herbert Mead — Biography Mead was born February 27, 1863 in South Hadley, Massachusetts. He studied at Oberlin College from 1879–1883 and spent several years as a railroad surveyor prior to his enrollment in Harvard University in 1887. At Harvard, Mead studied… …   Wikipedia

  • George Herbert Mead — noun United States philosopher of pragmatism (1863 1931) • Syn: ↑Mead • Instance Hypernyms: ↑philosopher …   Useful english dictionary

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  • MEAD (G. H.) — MEAD GEORGE HERBERT (1863 1931) Fortement marqué par les théories évolutionnistes, le philosophe américain George Herbert Mead a exercé une influence considérable sur le développement des sciences sociales. Pragmatiste, ami intime de John Dewey,… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

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