Tag Archives: Mead

Blog3: Mead’s “Mind and The Symbol”

George Herbert Mead emphasizes three main areas in the “Mind”. The first idea is Mind, the second is Symbols and Language, and third is Meaning. Mead defines the first idea “Mind”, “as a process or behavior that allows the conscious to control their actions”. As a result, the mind of the conscious plays out different order of events to choose which choices he/she will make.

As stated in the text, “symbols are objects or depictions that hold meaning to someone. Mead believes that through Symbols and Language, people adjust their behaviors”. Mead goes on to say,  how we interpret symbols and take control of our actions and behaviors based on them. “To hold within our minds the meanings of things-that allows us to mentally rehearse lines of action without actually performing them.” Our thoughts create  different situations based on our own symbolic meaning of objects.

The “Meaning” according to Mead is a “threefold relationship” between: Individual’s gesture, response to the gesture by another person, and competition of the social act between the person who gives the gesture and the person who is on the receiving end of the gesture.  Lastly,the Meaning refers to the gesture and it’s response that is socially meaningful,  but only if it creates the response for the person who began the gesture. 


Blog 7: Mind, Self and Society (optional)

In Mind, Self and Society (1934), Mead describes how the individual mind and self develops through social process. He believed the experience from the “standpoint of communication as essential to the social order” is the most important component to an individual because it is the basis of structuring the way an individual behaves and perceieves his or her surroundings. 

Mead discusses three most important aspects in his Mind, Self and Society (1938); (1) the “conversation of gestures,” (2) language, or the “conversation of significant gestures, and (3) behaviorism. These three aspects gives an analytical perspective and understanding of individuals interaction with one another.

In the conversation of gestures, communication takes place without awareness, it is “unconscious gestures,” of a individual in reponse to others. For instance, when an individual comes next to a dog, a dog will unconsciously growl, and follow the individual. This act of the dog is done without thinking because the dog is doing an act that is “built in” consciously with an “unconscious act.”

In the conversation of language, conscious communication emerges. In Mead’s theory of communication is evolutionary: communication is the main key to the advancement of human-beings, human knowledge and human behavior. For instance, in many countries, students are taught the native language of their country. The language helps facilitate the understanding of one another, and one self through different types of expression. Also, In school textbooks, different language are displayed to teach students about the world.

And lastly in social behaviorism, Mead discusses the concept of symbolic interactionism. It is the patterns of communication, interpretation and adjustment betwen indiviuals. It is a critical process in communication because it enables actors to interpret one another’s responses, thereby bringing about greater consensus on the meanings of the symbols used.  For instance, the word “husband,” if the society’s accepts the word then it is used as a daily basis and regarded a mundane word. However, if the society does not accept the word, this word would be a taboo and will not used.

Blog 6: The Self and the Generalized Other

George Herbert Mead developed a term called the “Self” which he said could be an object to itself, a social structure and it develops from social experiences starting from birth.  He also stated the language process is essential for the development of the self.  Then the social group which gives the individual his unity of self is called the “generalized other.”  Mead states it is not enough for the individual to develop a self in the fullest if they only take the attitudes of other human attitudes toward himself and toward others but also take these attitudes and act toward different social projects at any given time it is carried out.  Mead believes people have a personality because they belong to a community.  Mead gave the example of identifying with a political party and the person takes the attitudes of that entire party and toward the rest of the community.  The person will react to problems by the attitudes of the party.

Mead has an interesting theory of the self.  I surely believe language has an influence on a person’s personality.  In countries where it is more custom to work together as a group, the languages have more words or phrases meaning working together.  However, I believe people think more for themselves than what Mead describes.  I know after I have chosen a political party, I do not react to problems with only the attitudes of my chosen political party.  I do not agree with all aspects and I may take an opinion from the other political party.  However, I do believe belonging to a group can certainly influence your personality.  I grew up as a catholic so many of my morals and values are from growing up catholic.  Growing up as an American citizen also has influenced my personality because of what I understand to be a norm or what deviates from the norm.