Classical: Chapter 9 Brought to you by Brandon Howe and Shalee Hanson Background Born on February 27, 1863 in South Hadley, Massachusetts His father was a minister in the Congressional Church and taught the art of preaching at Oberlin Theological Seminary His mother also taught at Oberlin but later became the president of Mount Holyoke College Mead attended Oberlin at the age of sixteen, graduated in 1883 In 1887 Mead attended graduate school at Harvard University, studied physiological psychology More Background Mead quit graduate school and accepted a teaching position at University of Michigan in 1891 In 1893 Mead was invited to teach at the University of Chicago, this is where he spent the rest of his life Died in 1931 at the age of 68 Intellectual Influences William James: James Principal of Psychology re- examination of the relations between individuals and society. Mead perspective of “habit” was also influenced by James, “Individual acquires a new nature through habit.” Another critical aspect of James’s psychology was his rethinking of the role of consciousness, had an effect of Mead’s Mind, Self, and Society. Charles Darwin and Evolutionism: Darwin’s presentation of evolution helped free him from his religious beliefs. He also influenced Mead in his philosophical and psychological beliefs. More Intellectual Influences German Idealism: “Romantic idealists utilized the self-not-self process in experience, and identified this process with the subject-object process” Mead learned that there is no consciousness that is not conscious of something. American Pragmatism: “Rejected the ideas as absolute truths and regard all ideas as provisional and subject to change in light of future research.” Truth and reality do not simply exist. Pragmatists believe that humans reflect on the meaning of a stimulus before reacting. Concepts and Contributions Pragmatism: The extension of the scientific method to all areas of intellectual inquiry, including psychology, sociology, and philosophy. Provides intellectual justification for social action. Symbolic Interactionism: Suggests that people cope with the reality of their circumstances according to their comprehension of the situation. More Concepts and Contributions Mind, self and Society: Mead’s attempt to understand individual social experiences in relation to society. Argued that there can be no self, no consciousness of self, and no communication apart from society. 1) Mind- process, not a thing. Reflects the human capacity to conceive what the organism perceives, define situations, evaluate phenomena, convert gestures into symbols, and exhibit pragmatic and goal-directed behavior. 2) Self-Actors reflect on themselves as objects (able to be object and subjects) It has a development and is not initially there at birth. 3) Society-Cannot exist without minds and selves. The organization of human experience and behavior. More Concepts and Contributions The “I” and the “Me”: According to Mead, the self is composed of two parts, the “I” and the “Me”, both are a part of an individual’s self concept and the self is the dialogue between the two. “I” is spontaneous, unsocialized, unpredictable, and impulsive aspect of the self. The subject of one’s actions. “Me” develops gradually through interaction and internalization of the community, it monitors the “I”. When an individual fails to conform to the expectations of society, they are under the influence of the “I”. More Concepts and Contributions Development of Self: The development of the self takes place through several stages 1) Imitation stage: As skills are developing, babies learn to play based on observing and imitating their parents. Imitation implies learning (positive and negative rewards) 2) Play stage: at this stage the child has learned to use language and meanings of certain symbols. In this stage they are not only acting out but allowing their imagination to let them BE that person. 3) Game stage: child must now be capable of putting herself in the role of several others at the same time and be able to understand the relationship between those roles. 4) Generalized other: Conception of multiple statuses and roles More Concepts and Contributions The Act: the response to a stimulus is not automatic because the individual has choices of behaviors in which to react. 1) Impulse: gut reactions or immediate responses to certain stimuli. The “need” to do something. 2) Perception: People use their senses as well as mental images in attempt to satisfy impulses and must choose the one most beneficial to them. 3) Manipulation: Once an impulse has been manifested and the object has been perceived, the individual must take some action with regard to it. 4) Consummation: The individual has followed through on a course of action and can consummate the act by satisfying the impulse. More Concepts and Contributions The Social Act: “A social act may be defined as one in which the stimulus (or occasion) sets free an impulse (found in the very character or nature of its being) that then triggers possible reactions from those found in the environment.” Emphasized the importance of the vocal gesture. The individual that sends the vocal gesture can perceive it in a different way then the person receiving the gesture. Mutually understood gestures become significant symbols Common gestures lead to the development of language. More Concepts and Contributions Mental Processes of Intelligence and Consciousness: Intelligence is defined as the mutual adjustment of the acts of an organism. Human intelligence is more advanced then other animals, therefore humans can carry on conversations. Communication allows for reflective intelligence, allows a human to inhibit action temporarily. Language: Language has its origin in gestures. Gestures are important because of their social properties. This affects and coordinates behavior between two or more individuals. People that share the same language possess the ability to take the role of the other and understand the other’s behavior. More Concepts and Contributions Science and Social Progress: Science provides a clear and effective way to test ideas on how to improve future society. For Mead, scientific analysis eliminates bias and dogmatic thinking, making it separate from Christian thought. Mead attached Darwin’s evolutionary principles to social organization and societies. Ethics: “Solving moral problems requires creative intellectual effort and consideration of all values relevant to the given situation.” “The value relation is an objectively existing relationship between subject and object: but it is not equated with cognitive relation. Value-relations and cognitive relations are distinctly different. Social Theory: The approach on macro theory is based on evolutionary models and the relationship between people and their environment. Relevancy Mead’s form of pragmatic social sciences has an enormous potential for development and elaboration. Biggest contribution from a sociological perspective: symbolic interaction theory. Considered one of the “big three” sociological theories. It has been and will continue to be a dominant theory in the field. Theories continue to be influential in contemporary symbolic interactionism, social psychology, and sociology Limitations Development of the self is dependent on interactions with others, implies the less interaction with others then the less the self is developed making it controversial. His intense focus on the social act (individual focus) can limit the view of how society works and a whole. There is noticeably less detail and precision in macro facets of Mead’s theoretical system than in the micro.