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George Herbert Mead: Taking the Role of the Other -- Research Starters Sociology

By: Kretchmar, Jennifer;

2009 / EBSCO


George Herbert Mead is one of the founding fathers of the sociological theory known as symbolic interactionism. Mead is best known for explaining how the mind and self emerge from social interaction. According to Mead, there can be no self without a prior social group. The process, he argues, requires communication through gestures - or significant symbols - as well as the ability to take the role of the 'other.' Mead also addressed the developmental nature of the ability to take the role of the 'other,' and was interested in how individuals and societies grow and change over time. In addition to his contributions to sociology, Mead was a philosopher as well. His thoughts on mind/body dualism and shared knowledge will also be reviewed.