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Symbolic Interactionism

by George Herbert Mead

The Proponent: George Herbert Mead

Born on February 27, 1863, at South

Hadley, Massachusetts
1883: He attended Oberlin College
and graduated with BA degree.
1887: Enrolled ar Harvard University
studying philosophy and sociology
and graduated with a Masters degree
in 1888.
In 1894, Mead moved to Chicago,
Illinois, where he would later
become the center of the socoilogical
department at the University of
Mead death in 1931, after his death
his student at the University
published his Mind, Self, and
Society teachings.
Herbert Blumer, Meads pupil,
further developed his theory and
coined it Symbolic Interactionism

Generalized Other
Two side of self: The concept of I and

Symbolic Interactionism

sociological perspective on self and

Mead believe that the development
of the individual was a social process
as with the meaning individuals are
assigned to things in order to decide
how to act.
People change based on their
interactions with objects
attends ideas other people
and they asseigned meaning
to things
This perspective relies on the
symbolic meaning that people
develop and rely upon in the process
of social interaction.

Origins: Max Weber

Individuals act according to
their interpretation of the
meaning of their world
Central theme: The human life is
lived in the symbolic domain (the
self is a social emergent)
People inhabit a world that is in large
part socially constructed. In
particular, the meaning of objects,
events, and behaviours comes from
the interpretation people gove the,
and interpretations vary from one
group to another.
The goals of our interactions are to
create a shared meaning.

Me - represents the expectations and

attitudes of others (the generalized
It is the organized set of
attitudes of others that the
individual assumes.
I - is the response to the me, or the
persons individuality
According to Mead, the
generalized other
(internalized in the me) is
the major instrument of so
cial control for it is
the mechanism by which the
community exercises control
over the conduct of its
individual members.

Disciple: Herbert Blumer

Born: March 7, 1900

Education: University of Missouri

Main Interests: Sociology, Symbolic

Interactionism, Sociological Research

People act toward things based on the

meaning those things have for them, and
these meanings are derived from social
interaction and modified through
Three main points:

Humans act towards things

on the basis of the meanings
they have for them.
The meaning of things arises
out of the social interactions
one has with one's fellows.
Meanings are handled in, and
modified through, an
interpretive process a person
uses in dealing with the
things he or she encounters.