Sociology: The Life Of George Herbert Mead

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The Life of George Herbert Mead
George Herbert Mead was one of the early sociologist responsible for developing the field of sociology. “Mead was a philosopher and a sociologist whose work focused on the ways in which the mind and the self were developed as a result of social processes” (OpenStax College 12). This perspective became what is now known as symbolic interactionalist theory. He thought that people developed and viewed themselves based on the interactions they had with others. This paper is going to cover some of Mead’s life history, what theoretical perspective he believed in and why, and why I chose to write about him.
George Herbert Mead was born on February 27, 1863 in South Hadley, Massachusetts and died on April 26, 1931 in
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He supported the symbolic interactionalists perspective. First we should explore the interactionalist perspective before exploring some of the reasons why he supported this perspective. “Symbolic interactionism is a micro-level theory that focuses on the relationships among individuals within a society” (OpenStax College 17). When sociologists use the interactionalist perspective to study people they are mainly focused on the one-on-one or small group interactions of people. Instead of letting their world direct them or act upon them, people act upon the world and direct it how they want (OpenStax College 17). An example of this could be a child who starts out poor but grows up to be a wildly successful business owner. Instead of letting the world shape him by remaining a poor person all his life and letting the cards he was dealt hold him back, he worked hard to make his life better. Another example of an interactionalist perspective is a boy flying a kite. The kite is being controlled by or manipulated by an outside force which represents the world determining how a person lives in a non-interactionalist perspective. Whereas the boy flying the kite and causing it to do what he wants and represents a person living in an interactionalist perspective. Just as the name of the perspective states, sociologists observe how people interact with others and the patterns that …show more content…
“The central driving force behind Mead’s thought was his desire to discover who we are and what our role is in the world” (De Waal 1). Even though Mead was a professor and he taught on the interactionalist perspective, he never published his work. His findings and teachings had to be published or written about by his students and other outside sources. This can be quite problematic when trying to study Mead’s theory because a good majority of what is known about his perspective is in the form of student notes taken during Mead’s classes. He did not even create the name “Symbolic Interactionalism.” One of his students, Herbert Blumer, was the one who officially gave this perspective a name (OpenStax College 17). Why does it matter if someone else wrote down his teachings and what is wrong with the format that they were written in? Mead taught in a way that suited the classroom, but when his students took their notes on that information or process outside the classroom, it was not well suited for studying to create a sociological perspective. Much of his work did not get published until after he had

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