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Study Notes

Sociologist in Focus: G. H. Mead

AS, A-Level

Last updated 2 Nov 2017

George Herbert Mead was born in the USA in 1863. Mead began his studies of sociology and philosophy at Harvard University and focused much of his work on the concept the of ‘self’. Mead believed that the ‘self’ emerges from social interaction and this is formed within society rather than traditional views, whereby society grows as a result of the coming together of separate individuals.

Mead suggested that babies create a sense of ‘me’ and this is represented by behaviours, expectations and attitudes, which are created through interactions with others. He argued that ‘I’ and ‘me’ are different functions of the self. The ‘I’ is ever evolving (due to social interaction) and this helps to reflect on the ‘me’.

Mead’s work is significant because he helped shift the concept of ‘self’ away from a purely psychological concept into something with a societal context.  

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