Charles H. Cooley
Seth Harvey
Laishema Hampton
Charles Cooley
Born in Ann Arbor, MI
• University of Michigan
• Engineering
In 1890 he married Elsie Jones
they had three children
His father Thomas Cooley
was a member of the
Michigan Supreme
Charles struggled with
living under the shadow
of his famous father
Taught at the University of Michigan
He was concerned with many social problems
and issues of the day, but clearly
preoccupation with the self--his own self-remained paramount to him.
He did become independent of his father--but
his experience caused a desire to study the
self and its relationship with society. This
desire to observe behavior was later applied
toward his own children.
Intellectual Influences
Charles Darwin
Cooley’s holistic philosophy, his stress on
interactions and interrelations, and his rejection of
all types of atomistic interpretation in the study of
man were deeply influenced by Darwin
William James
Derived the idea of the self from James’ Social Self
“As a method, pragmatism hovered close to
life, refusing to close the process of thought
prematurerly, taking its cue from facts of life,
willing to be led to new conceptions of
purpose as deeper facets of human emotion
and expectations were discovered.”
Influences Continued
Herbert Spencer
The organic view of society
“Nearly all of us who took up sociology
between 1870, say, 1890, did so at the
instigation of Spencer”-Cooley 1930
Life is progressive in nature
William Sumner
In-groups and out-groups
Displeased at the sociological
communities division over methodology
Empirical and observational
Appreciated statistics but preferred case
Often used own children as the subjects
of his observations
Major Works
The Theory of Transportation (1894)
Human Nature and the Social
Concluded towns and cities tend to be
located at major breaks in transportation
Foreshadowed Mead’s work on the self
by detailing the way social responses
affect the emergence of social
Social Organization(1909)
Looking glass self
Comprehensive approach to society
Social Process(1908)
Emphasis on the non-rational, tentative
nature of social organization
Significance of social competition
Clash of primary group values(love,
ambition, loyalty) and institutional
Society adjust to reach an equilibrium of
the two values
Social Organization(1909)
A “sociological antidote” to Sigmund
First formulated the role of primary
Society was a constant experiment in
enlarging social experiences
Concluded class differences reflect
different contributions to society as well
as the phenomena of exploitation
Primary Groups
Intimate, face-to-face association
Fundamental to the development and continued
adjustment of their members
3 basic primary groups
Child’s play group
Neighborhood or community among adults
Almost universal among all societies
Provide the earliest and most complete
experiences of social unity
Instrumental in the development of the social life
Secondary Groups
Anonymous, impersonal, and
instrumental relationships
Relationships are temporary and
Choose to be part of instead of growing
into it.
Usually based on interest and activities
Exchange of commodities ex. Labor for
wages, service for payment...
Looking Glass Self
Formed and emerges in primary groups
3 key principles
The imagination of our appearance to
the other person.
The imagination of their judgment of that
Our resulting self-feeling, such as pride
or mortification
An individuals self image mirrors the
imagined reactions of others to our
appearance, demeanor, and behavior
This drawing depicts the looking-glass self. The
person at the front of the image is looking into four
mirrors, each of which reflects someone else's
image of him back to him.
Looking Glass Self cont.
Especially important when applied to
A child’s personality is plastic and
Children learn that their actions will
cause reactions in others, especially
their mothers.
They learn to manipulate their
environment, giving them a sense of
power and control
Our interpretation of the looking glass
self varies from individual to individual