Term Paper: George Herbert Mead

Pages: 6 (1657 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Sociology  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] Mead's formulations on the controlling effects of society do not sufficiently account for these differences.

These limitations, however, does diminish the importance of Mead's writings regarding the social nature of a person's individual "self." By explicating the social forces that determine a person's roles, behavior and values, Mead was able to show how individuals are constantly shaped and affected by their greater social surroundings. In doing so, Mead laid important foundations for much of sociology as the discipline is practiced today.


The continuing influence of Mead's ideas can be seen in a wide variety of fields. In sociology, his work on the effects of social forces on individual psyche can be seen in the Philip Zimbardo's "prison" experiments in Stanford University 1972 and in Stanley Milgram's electrocution experiments in Yale University during the 1960s.

In this vein, Mead's writings can help to illuminate the nuances of peer pressure and social control that underlie the various instances of "hazing" that have occurred among college and even high school campuses across the country.

Other related fields have benefited from Mead's writings as well. His writings on socialization and the importance of symbols could have much to offer feminist theory. Feminist theorists have studied how children are "socialized" into prevailing social ideas regarding masculine and feminine roles.

Building on Mead's ideas of symbol-laden gestures, anthropologists like Edward Hall later explored how body language and other forms of non-verbal behavior regulate much of interpersonal communication. As the interconnected global economy gives rise to greater cultural interaction, Mead's writings on symbolic interaction have much to contribute to understanding the collisions and potential commonalities between diverse beliefs and values.

Works Cited

Coser, Lewis. Masters of Sociological Thought: Ideas in Historical and Social Context. New York: International Thomson Publishing, 1977.

Mead, George Herbert. Mind, Self and Society from the Standpoint of a Social Behaviorist. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1967.

Mills, Charles Wright. The Sociological Imagination. New York: Grove Press, 1961.

Rosenthal, Sandra. Mead… [END OF PREVIEW]

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