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Posted: February 9th, 2023

Questions for Mead’s (1934) Mind, Self and Society

Questions for Mead’s (1934) Mind, Self and Society, pages 135-142, 144-164, 171-173, 200-203, 214-217, and 222-227: According to Mead (1934), what is the origin of the self? z. What is the generalized other? How is it involved in the development of the self? 3. According to Mead (1934), how do individual selves affect society? 4. Interpret the following quote from Mead (1934, p. 226): “The social process…does not depend for its origin or initial existence upon the existence and interactions of selves; though it does depend upon the latter for the higher stages of complexity and organization which it reaches after selves have arisen within it.”
Questions for Blumer’s ([19621 1969), “Society as Symbolic Interaction “, pages 78-89: 5. What does Blumer mean by the term “symbolic interaction”? Give a detailed description of what it involves based on what Blumer wrote in the text. 6. What parts of Mead’s (1934) theory does Blumer (1969, 82) draw on (i.e., explicitly refer to in the reading)? What parts of Mead’s theory does he NOT draw on (based on what you read from Mead)? 7. How does Blumer’s theory of symbolic interactionism view social interaction and society? & According to Blumer (1969, 84), how does symbolic interactionism differ from “general sociological views”? a. Note: By “general sociological views”, Blumer (1969 84) was referring to the dominant theories at the time that he wrote this article, particularly functionalist theories.

According to Mead (1934), the self arises through the individual’s social experiences and interactions with others. The self is developed as the individual takes on the perspectives of significant others, known as the “generalized Other”.

The “Generalized Other” is a symbolic representation of a community’s shared norms, values, and expectations that an individual uses as a reference point for their own behavior. It is involved in the development of the self as the individual internalizes the perspectives of the “Generalized Other” and begins to use them as a basis for their own thoughts and actions.

According to Mead (1934), individual selves affect society by participating in social interactions and influencing the behavior of others. The self also helps to maintain social order through its internalization of the norms, values, and expectations of the “Generalized Other”.

The quote from Mead (1934) is saying that while the social process exists independent of the individual selves, the complexity and organization of the social process is dependent upon the interactions between these individual selves.

Blumer’s (1969) “symbolic interaction” refers to the process of social interaction where individuals assign meaning to objects, events, and behaviors based on their subjective interpretation. This interpretation is then used to guide their own behavior and shape their understanding of the social world.

Blumer (1969) draws on Mead’s (1934) concept of the self, the “Generalized Other”, and the role of social interaction in shaping individual behavior. However, Blumer does not mention or address Mead’s views on the evolution of society or the role of the self in maintaining social order.

Blumer’s theory of symbolic interactionism views social interaction as the basis of society, with individuals shaping and being shaped by their social interactions. Symbolic interactionism differs from “General sociological views” in that it emphasizes the subjective interpretation of events and the role of individual agency in shaping social reality.

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