SOC388.JAN 26 2012.SP – WEEK 3
Philosopher, sociologist, psychologist
- Mead was a big figure in developing the connection of society and self, ad
explaining how we develop our sense of self through interaction with others.
The idea behind this is not the obvious thing, but more that we need
significant symbols for our minds. What does this mean?
- What is the idea of mind here? It is having some kind of awareness of who we
are. We need to develop the sense of who we are through our interaction
through others. Through those interactions we exchange significant symbols,
like gestures, ideas, emotions, etc. things that have meaning for us.
- Gestures didn’t have the main function of expressing emotions, but rather the
stimulus for other actions that follow. Through that the social act takes place.
On this we can rely on each other to respond and communicate.
- Some of the ideas we will talk about today come from Cooley (Looking glass
self). Mead followed some of the Mead’s ideas. Looking-glass self indicates
interconnectedness. Looking glass self is that you look at yourself to have a
better look at others. We act based on what others think of us.
- Looking glass self has 3 steps
o We imagine our appearance to other people
o The imagination of that judgment of that appearance
o Some sort of self-feeling as consequence of what we imagine others
think of ourselves
- Why is this imagination? Because we don’t know what others think. As long
as I never know what you think we only need to imagine
- We need to interact with others to determine our sense of ourselves through
gesture with others
- Cooley and Mead – essential characteristic of social behavior is what we
think others are thinking. That thinking of attitude toward others is an
essential behavior of how we act. There is a distinction of our bodies and
ourselves. We may be conscious of that – it is in this regard that language is a
form of communication. Through language we can develop our minds, sense
of self, and ideas.
- In Mead we see that self is dependent on others who are immediate. In saying
of communication, sharing idea with others is important to maintain society
- He was someone that looked at psychological mechanism. But he thought
that this was done through imitation to learn what the proper attitude is.
Cooley was the first to think that it had nothing to do with imitation but more
to do with communication. The mind that Cooley also noted was not the first
individual. For Cooley the mind rises through communication. It is social. It
can only be social. Mead took this idea from Cooley and this becomes
important for us in this class.
- Before Cooley, it was all about ideas. But Mead was interested in behavior
and the actions that we take. So he kind of took this theory outside of mind
and we can only see how communication happen by looking at what people
actually did. But Cooley the method was introspective. Mead took this outside – he was behaviourist. That means whatever conclusion they come
up with, they have to be based on observable fact or practice.
- One of the biggest contributions of Mead – theory that mind emerges through
communication of society. This symbolic interaction was founded on that.
- Mead talks about gestures and it had little to do with emotions. We rather
understand the social context in which it functions. It is from the gestures
that he traces for the communication through language. Self appears as an
- They focused on conduct. He was interested in social and internal aspect of
the act. All of this had to be open to observation. So when we talk about mind
in Mead’s terms, we are talking about behavior that can be mental and non-
mental. Mind is the presence of significant symbols. In order for us to know
the mind, we need to know the insignificance. It is the internalization.
Through communication we can internalize the significant symbols that has
- He started with social process and works inwards. That would be some kind
of social process. Social process of communication is imported by gesture. By
understanding this is social for Mead. Mead also states that can sound
counter-intuitive. Self is also social-informed but not in content.
- Mead thought it had nothing to do with collective behavior but more of a
conversation of a dialogue. That is what Mead needs when self is not in
content. This is why even if we are owned b