G. H. Mead in the History of Sociological Ideas

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Silva, Filipe Carreira da (2006)

My aim is to discuss the history of the reception of George Herbert Mead’s ideas in sociology. After discussing the methodological debate between presentism and historicism, I address the interpretations of those responsible for Mead’s inclusion in the sociological canon: Herbert Blumer, Jürgen Habermas, and Hans Joas. In the concluding section, I as- sess these reconstructions of Mead’s thought and suggest an alternative more consistent with my initial methodological remarks. In particular, I advocate a reconstruction of Mead’s ideas that apprehends simultaneously its evolution over time and its thematic breadth. Such a historically minded reconstruction can be not only a useful corrective to possible anachronisms incurred by contemporary social theorists, but also a fruitful re- source for their theory-building endeavors. Only then can meaningful and enriching dialogue with Mead begin.
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