David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 35 (1):19–39 (2005)
There have been many readings of Mead's work, and this paper proposes yet another: Mead, theorist of the social act. It is argued that Mead's core theory of the social act has been neglected, and that without this theory, the concept of taking the attitude of the other is inexplicable and the contemporary relevance of the concept of the significant symbol is obfuscated. The paper traces the development of the social act out of Dewey's theory of the act. According to Mead, Dewey's theory does not sufficiently account for consciousness. Grappling with this problematic leads Mead to several key ideas, which culminate in his theory of the social act. The social act and taking the attitude of the other are then illustrated by the analysis of a game of football. The interpretation presented has two novel aspects: first, symbolisation arises not simply through self taking the attitude of the other, but through the pairing of this attitude with the complementary attitude in self; second, self is able to take the attitude of the other to the extent that self has in actuality or in imagination previously been in the social position of the other. From this standpoint the key issue is how the attitude of self and other become integrated. New directions for empirical research, aimed at advancing this question are outlined. Finally, the paper shows how the social act can contribute to our contemporary concerns about the nature of the symbolic.
|Keywords||Mead significant symbol social act taking the attitude of the other game|
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References found in this work BETA
Gregory Bateson (1972). Steps to an Ecology of Mind. Monograph Collection (Matt - Pseudo).
Adam Smith (1790/2006). The Theory of Moral Sentiments. Dover Publications.
William James (1890). The Consciousness of Self. In The Principles of Psychology. Harvard University Press
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1983/1997). Untimely Meditations. Cambridge University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
Alex Gillespie (2006). Tourist Photography and the Reverse Gaze. Ethos: Journal of the Society for Psychological Anthropology 34 (3):343-366.
Lonnie Athens (2007). Radical Interactionism: Going Beyond Mead. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 37 (2):137–165.
Jack Martin (2005). Perspectival Selves in Interaction with Others: Re-Reading G.H. Mead's Social Psychology. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 35 (3):231–253.
Jack Martin (2007). Interpreting and Extending G. H. Mead's "Metaphysics" of Selfhood and Agency. Philosophical Psychology 20 (4):441 – 456.
Timothy J. Gallagher (2014). A Mead‐Chomsky Comparison Reveals a Set of Key Questions on the Nature of Language and Mind. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 44 (2):148-167.
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