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Lecture 16

SOCI 230 Lecture 16: SOCI 230 Mead

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Texas A&M University
SOCI 230
Prechel Harland

SOCI 230-902 Georg Herbert Mead (1863-1931) I. Introduction  Social psychologist= one who studies individual as a unit in a social group  Founded Symbolic Interactionism: o Idea that we communicate through symbols which we learn through members as society o Symbols: language, gestures, facial expressions o *** History is not a series of events, but a process of “reflection and interaction” (Mead’s core idea) among people from which new forms of thought, actions and organization continually emerge  Mead’s work emerged when researches questioned theories of motivation emphasized in “individual-generating perspective” where its assumed that behavior was an outcome of internally motivated sources  Mead was opposed to dominant neo-Kantian views of psychology that maintained that perception and understanding take place only through mediation of aprior (fixed) categories  Psychology assumed: o 1. Mind is fixed structure o 2. Self is innate property of the individual • Self = personality  Mead argued that the self develops through “emergent process” in the course of social conduct (interaction)  He was opposed to behaviorist  The formation of the individual was a dialectical process II. Mind, Self and Society  Mead presented the total self as emerging from an internal interaction between a knowing un-socialized self (which he termed the “I”) and a known socialized self (the “Me”)  These 2 selves existed only in relation to each other  3 selves o Un-socialized self (I) o Socialized self (me) o Total self: emerged from the dialectic between “I” and “Me” and is exhibited as a personality III. I and the Me  “I”= spontaneous and propulsive aspect of the individual  “Me”= regulatory and controlling mechanism that reflects social rules IV. Mind  Mind: o Organized abstract entity that is developed by social interaction and psychological activity (internal mental activity) o The tool that’s goal is to adjust the relationship between the individual and the environment o It is: • Formed through social interaction • Inseparable from social processes • Organized so that it is understood only within the context and reference to a social and cultural environment o The origin and development of the human Mind is explained with reference to the interaction process and communication V. Dialectic Emergence: Hegelian Influence  Emergence= the process by whereby the oppositions are resolved that produce self- realization and consciousness of self  Central concept in Mead’s theory is gesture : o Gesture= any physical movement or vocal expression in one creature that instigates or stimulates a response in another creature  2 main types of gestures o Non-symbolic gestures (gestures without deliberation): produce immediate, biologically-based, habitual or reflexive reactions in response to another organism o Symbolic gestures: meaning is “learned”, rather than inherited. Symbolic meaning refers to a conscious gesture whose meaning is understood by the individual using it  Significant symbol: a gesture that arouses the same meaning in other individuals VI. Stages in the Development of Self  Preparatory stage: child does not grasp the meaning of a social act  Play stage: unstable configuration roles  Game stage: takes sever roles at the same time and understands the meaning of each role VII. Significant Symbols  Significant symbols: o 1. Anticipate the behavior response of others o 2. Are the building blocks of language and the means by which people reflect o 3. Are the foundation of self and mind  Vocal gestures are most common and the most important in human societies VIII. Self  Self: the individual personality that is acquired in the process of interac
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