George Herbert Mead


Chapter 11: George Herbert Mead

George Herbert Mead was a sociologist who studied the acts and behaviors of the mind. Meadís theories are often referred to as social-psychological as they tend to focus on the micro level. An extremely important aspect of Meadís theory is "the act." The Act consists of stages: 1) Impulse- The actor's reaction to stimulation. 2) Perception-The actor searches for, and reacts to, stimuli that relate to the impulse. 3) Manipulation-The actor takes action with regard of the object. 4) Consummation-Taking action to satisfy the original impulse. Mead's focus is on the development of the "self." Mead traces the genesis of the self through the play and game stages of childhood. The self has two phases-the "I," which is the unpredictable and creative aspect of the self, and the "me," which is the organized set of attitudes of others assumed by the actor. Mead is considered to be one of the originators of the field of symbolic interactionism.

Symbolic Interaction as Defined by Herbert Blumer

This web link takes the reader through symbolic interactionism as perceived by Herbert Blumer. There are three primary premises to this perspective; human beings act toward things on the basis of the meanings those things have for them, such meanings arise out of the interaction of the individual with others, and that an interpretive process is used by the person in each process. This sight also explores what methodology and philosophy have contributed to symbolic interactionism. Blumer and Meadís works are closely related.

Selected Works by George Herbert Mead

This web site takes a look at two of the original works by George Herbert Mead. One being "The Social Self" which was read at the Western Philosophical Association in March of 1913. This site addresses the self and its role in society. It also takes a glance at how that self is established in society. "The Social Self" is a large part of Meadís perspective. Another piece of work that you can select at this site is "Mind, Self, and Society". That work includes brief quotes which Varenne (web site designer) thinks are "challenging and useful." NOTE: When you get to this site titled The Paradigm of Culture, you must click on "Öand anthropology" on the left side of the page then scroll down and click "next". Scroll down again on the page you have gotten to and click next, then select desired literature.

Dead Sociologists Society

This site, created by RUís Dr. Larry Ridener, contains a lot of information about George Herbert Mead. There is a short biography of Mead and a section on Chicago, which influenced sociological research. A fascinating quote from this piece; "The proudest assertion of independent selfhood is but the affirmation of a unique capacity to fill some social role". John Dewey, a philosopher, is said to have influenced Mead and his works. He is discussed at this site as well.

Georgeís Page

If you click on the experimental version of this page, you get a more easy-to-use set up. However, both formats (and versions) have the same information. There are many valuable works by Mead that you can access by clicking on Meadís publications. The next sections, Other Documents, Name Index, Biographies, and Commentaries all provide links to other well-known sociologists works as well as their opinions (reactions) to Meadís work. Time Lines gives you an overview of the important events occurring during Meadís life within the field of sociology and psychology, and a list of classes taught at the Universities of Chicago and Michigan. The last section, Discussion Group, allows the reader to subscribe to lists in order to further their study of Meadís works.

Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction

This site offers valuable information to researchers most interested in interactionist research. The founders of this page and organization are involved with the American Sociological Association. This page provides links to various discussion lists, mailing lists, and you can even get in touch with the organizationís members. The links are interactive and allow you to get in touch with people in the field.