“Deegan should be lauded for bringing this material to light and framing it in a manner that is helpful for the seasoned Meadian scholar and the uninitiated alike.” —Contemporary Sociology
Essays in Social Psychologyby George Herbert Mead
George H. Mead (1863-1931) is a central, founding figure of modern sociology, comparable to Karl Marx and Max Weber. Mead’s early work, prior to his posthumous publications that appeared after 1932, is believed to be a series of articles contemporary scholarship defines as disconnected. A previously unknown, never published set of galleys for a book of
George H. Mead (1863-1931) is a central, founding figure of modern sociology, comparable to Karl Marx and Max Weber. Mead’s early work, prior to his posthumous publications that appeared after 1932, is believed to be a series of articles contemporary scholarship defines as disconnected. A previously unknown, never published set of galleys for a book of essays by Mead, written between 1892 and 1910, unites these articles into a logical perspective. Essays in Social Psychology, Mead’s "first" book, clearly locates him within a significantly different tradition and network than documented in his posthumous volumes. The discovery of this work is a major scholarly event.
Instead of being abstract and unemotional, as some scholars argue, Mead’s early scholarship focuses on the significance of emotions, instincts, and childhood as well as political issues underlying political problems in Chicago. During these early years, he was involved with the emerging Laboratory Schools at the University of Chicago, which was then the center of progressive education. These early topics, interpretations, and scholarly networks are dramatically different in these writings from those of Mead as a mature scholar. They demonstrate that he was clearly making a transition from psychology to social psychology at a time when the latter was in its infancy.
Mary Jo Deegan, a world-renowned Meadian scholar has comprehensively edited this volume, footnoting now obscure references and authors. Her introduction explains how this previously lost manuscript affects contemporary Meadian scholarship and how it reflects the city and times in which he lived. Unlike the posthumous volumes assembled from lecture notes, Essays in Social Psychology is the only book actually written by Mead and challenges most current scholarship on him. The selections are highly readable, surprisingly timely yet historically significant. Psychologists, sociologists, and educators will find it immensely important.
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Meet the Author
George H. Mead (1863-1931) taught at the University of Chicago from 1894 to 1931. His posthumous volumes are The Philosophy of the Present, Mind, Self, and Society, and The Philosophy of the Act.
Mary Jo Deegan is professor of sociology at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. She is the author of Jane Addams and the Men of the Chicago School, winner of a Choice Outstanding Book Award, and Self, War, and Society and editor of Essays in Social Psychology and On Art, Labor, and Religion.
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