Charles Horton Cooley Essay

Pages: 4 (1360 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Sociology

The first was the need to craft an understanding of societal facts that were the highlight of individual mental process. He found that the subjective processes were either caused or the effects of society processes. There was also the need to examine evolution of social dynamic conception which evaluates states of chaos as natural incident which created an opportunity for adaptive innovation. The last need is ensure that the people were capable of making informed moral decisions for current and future problems affecting the people. Cooley solution to the dilemma was creation of a mental social complex which he named the looking glass self. The mental social complex is formulated by understanding how ones self can be understood by another person. This theory was called the emphatic introspection theory. This theory applied to the person and the economic issues affecting the society with regards to the macro social problems that evolve with time. Cooley evaluated the economic institution as impossible to understand by evaluation of impersonal market forces. Sociological perspectives were logical towards the traditions of the society. The considered dissolution of tradition as a positive move that would result in to social growth and an intellectual process that would improve the public will (Ju 2010).

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His concept of looking glass self is arguably his best work as it is accepted by psychologists' and sociologists in the modern world. The concept was build from William James's self idea where capacity reflection on own behaviour was included. According to Cooley, the views from other people greatly influence personal image. There is a relationship of how we view ourselves and how the society views us. According to his previous work, human nature and social order, self idea has three elements. Imagination of personal appearance to society is the first major element. The second element is imagination of appearance and the third element is self feeling which can be pride or any form of modification.

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Contribution to the Conflict Theory and Functionalism Theory

According to the conflict theory, the laws are made by the minority of people in the society and are aimed at ensuring that their interests are protected. The laws are meant to controls the behaviour of the people in the society. In this theory, the poor are powerless and are likely to be convicted of crimes compared to the rich in the society. The crime rate among the poor is also significantly higher compared to the crime rate among the rich. This is due to the lack of opportunities among the poor to improve self. The poor do not have the skills needed to become productive thus a poor society.

Cooley's contribution to the field is that he supported that the society will always change in response to the social conflict. The way people behave will be determined by the meaning that people have on their behaviour. People who believe that hard work will improve the quality of life in the society are likely to an improved life; on the other hand, people who do not place value to hard work will likely live in poverty. A community that does not embrace crime is likely to have low levels of crime compared to a society that ignores crime (Westley 1976).

He also contributed to the functionalism theory where he conflicted with the theory. He was an internationalist thus focused on the subjective aspect rather than the objective structural aspect of social life. Unlike functionalists, the internationalist focused on social processes and not the stable norms and values. Crime can be evaluated using the functionalist theory as being important to the society thus inevitable. Crime is dependent on the nature of the society. Crime shows the differing opinions in the society. The society has acceptable and unacceptable behaviors. The society determines the generally acceptable behaviour depending on morals and ethics.


Ju, Biung-ghi. 2010. "Individual Powers and Social Consent: An Axiomatic Approach." Social Choice and Welfare 34(4):571-596

Landon, Charles E. 1960. "Technological Progress in Transportation on the Mississippi River System." The Journal of Business (Pre-1986) 33(1):43-43… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Charles Horton Cooley.  (2012, June 1).  Retrieved June 6, 2020, from

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"Charles Horton Cooley."  1 June 2012.  Web.  6 June 2020. <>.

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"Charles Horton Cooley."  June 1, 2012.  Accessed June 6, 2020.