Contemporary articles citing Mead G (1934) Mind Self Soc
theories, action, studies, society, symbolic, contemporary, forms, important, consider, emotions
- Fligstein, Neil & Doug McAdam. 2011. "Toward a General Theory of Strategic Action Fields." Sociological Theory. 29:1 1-26.
- In recent years there has been an outpouring of work at the intersection of social movement studies and organizational theory. While we are generally in sympathy with this work, we think it implies a far more radical rethinking of structure and agency in modern society than has been realized to date. In this article, we offer a brief sketch of a general theory of strategic action fields (SAFs). We begin with a discussion of the main elements of the theory, describe the broader environment in which any SAF is embedded, consider the dynamics of stability and change in SAFs, and end with a respectful critique of other contemporary perspectives on social structure and agency.
- Fine, Gary. 2010. "The Sociology of the Local: Action and Its Publics." Sociological Theory. 28:4 355-376.
- Sociology requires a robust theory of how local circumstances create social order. When we analyze social structures not recognizing that they depend on groups with collective pasts and futures that are spatially situated and that are based on personal relations, we avoid a core sociological dimension: the importance of local context in constituting social worlds. Too often this has been the sociological stance, both in micro-sociological studies that examine interaction as untethered from local traditions and in research that treats culture as autonomous from action and choice. Building on theories of action, group dynamics, and micro-cultures, I argue that a sociology of the local solves critical theoretical problems. The local is a stage on which social order gets produced and a lens for understanding how particular forms of action are selected. Treating ethnographic studies as readings of ongoing cultures, I examine how the continuing and referential features of group life (spatial arenas, relations, shared pasts) generate action and argue that local practices provide the basis for cultural extension, influencing societal expectations through the linkages among groups.
- Jerolmack, Colin. 2009. "Humans, Animals, and Play: Theorizing Interaction When Intersubjectivity Is Problematic." Sociological Theory. 27:4 371-389.
- Simmel (1949) argues that humans have an ``impulse'' toward sociability, defined as noninstrumental, playful association that is enjoyed as an end in itself. While sociability as conceived of by Simmel necessitates a shared definition of the situation, recent studies problematize symbolic interactionist assumptions by documenting the ways humans engage in analogous sociable play with animals. Drawing from ethnomethodological and pragmatist perspectives, this article offers a way to theorize human-animal encounters and their relationship to interactions among humans. Beginning with a conceptualization of play as an interpretive frame (Goffman 1986) that actors can employ to organize situated interactions, this article argues that humans can engage in playful associations with animals even if animals do not share in the play frame. It illustrates how play with animals can preserve some of the forms and satisfactions of interaction with humans, and it clarifies how interaction can be coordinated and understood when we cannot assume that interactants share intersubjectivity. The article concludes by offering a tentative set of conditions that structure the possibilities of sociable play, based on the degree of potential intersubjectivity and other situational factors.
- Gould, Mark. 2009. "Culture, Personality, and Emotion in George Herbert Mead: a Critique of Empiricism in Cultural Sociology." Sociological Theory. 27:4 435-448.
- Focusing on Mind, Self and Society, I contend that George Herbert Mead's theory is incapable of explaining the interactions in a song by Oscar Brown Jr., ``The Snake,'' and that a satisfactory explanation of these actions, which illuminate everyday conduct familiar to us all, requires the conceptualization of personality systems grounded in affect and cultural systems understood as symbolic logics that make intelligible certain activities. My argument is important not primarily as a critique of Mead, but of rational-choice and other cognitive theories that reduce emotions to cognitions, and of the currently dominant sociological and anthropological conceptualizations that reduce culture to forms of social practice.
- Green, Adam. 2007. "Queer Theory and Sociology: Locating the Subject and the Self in Sexuality Studies." Sociological Theory. 25:1 26-45.
- Burke, PJ. 2004. "Extending Identity Control Theory: Insights From Classifier Systems." Sociological Theory. 22:4 574-594.
- Within identity control theory (ICT), identities control meaning and resources by bringing perceptions of these in the situation into alignment with references levels given in the identity standard. This article seeks to resolve three issues in ICT having to do with the source of the identity standard, the correspondence between identity standards and the identity relevant meanings perceived in the situation or environment, and the activation of identities. Classifier systems, as developed by John Holland, are inductive, flexible, rule-based, message-passing, adaptive systems that are able to learn, to fit in, and to adapt to various and changing environments. Classifier systems are introduced and are extended to incorporate the central components of the model of identity as held in ICT. In this manner, a new identity model is proposed that has inductive and adaptive capacities able to resolve the three issues identified. Unexpectedly, the new model also lays the groundwork for the possible resolution of a long-standing issue within the symbolic interaction framework concerning the origins of shared meanings.
- Dalton, B. 2004. "Creativity, Habit, and the Social Products of Creative Action: Revising Joas, Incorporating Bourdieu." Sociological Theory. 22:4 603-622.
- Hans Joas's The Creativity of Action (1996) posits that conceiving of all action as fundamentally creative would overcome problems inherent in rational and normative theories of action and would provide an alternative basis for action-based theories of macrosociological phenomena. Joas conceives (of creativity as a response to the frustration of ``prereflective aspirations,'' which necessitates innovative adjustment to reestablish habitual intentions. This conceptualization creates an unsupportable duality between habitual action and creativity that neglects other possible sources of creative action, including habit itself. Combining strengths from Bourdiell's concept of habitus, creativity can be redefined as the necessary adaption of habitual practices to specific contexts of action. Creative action continually introduces novel possibilities in practical action and provokes a variety of social responses to its products. This revised concept of creativity overcomes the dichotomy presented by Joas, identifies a microsocial source of innovation in creative action, and calls attention to patterns of creative authority in society at large.
- Sjoberg, G, EA Gill & LD Cain. 2003. "Countersystem Analysis and the Construction of Alternative Futures." Sociological Theory. 21:3 210-235.
- This essay explicates the role of countersystem analysis as an essential mode of social inquiry. In the process, particular attention is given to the place of negation and the future. One underlying theme is the asymmetry between the negative and the positive features of social activities, the negative being more readily identifiable empirically than the positive. A corollary theme, building on the observations of George Herbert Mead, is: one engages the present through experience; one engages the future through ideas. Furthermore, as Anthony Giddens, Ulrich Beck, and Niklas Luhmann suggest, we in late modernity seem to be facing a future that is more contingent than it was in early modernity. After articulating the foundations of the mode of inquiry we term ``countersystem analysis,'' we employ Karl Mannheim as a point of departure for critically surveying a constellation of scholars-conservatives as well as reformers-who have relied upon some version of countersystem analysis in addressing the future. Such an orientation serves to advance not only theoretical inquiry but empirical investigation as well.
- Demerath, L. 2002. "Epistemological Culture Theory: a Micro Theory of the Origin and Maintenance of Culture." Sociological Theory. 20:2 208-226.
- This paper presents a new ``epistemological'' theory of culture that explains how individuals enhance their sense of security in the world by creating and maintaining culture as knowledge of the world. Using cognitive and affective processes previously ignored by culture theorists, the theory posits three dimensions of cultural production: we articulate, typify, and orient our experiences to make their meaningful. The theory asserts that we produce culture because it allows us to,feel as if we understand our world, and to perceive it as ordered; this in turn triggers an aesthetic response of knowledge-based affect. The theory explains how cultural production is motivated by the pursuit of meaningfulness as well as material interests. The theory describes how ail oppressive culture can be reproduced unintentionally, even by the groups it oppresses. The theory also identifies connections between social structure and culture where conditions of ambiguity or control have implications for how meaning can be created.
- Fligstein, N. 2001. "Social Skill and the Theory of Fields." Sociological Theory. 19:2 105-125.
- The problem of the relationship between actors and the social structures in which they are embedded is central to sociological theory. This paper suggests that the ``new institutionalist ``focus on fields, domains, or games provides an alternative view of how to think about this problem by focusing on the construction of loca( orders. This paper criticizes the conception of actors in both rational choice and sociological versions of these theories. A more sociological view of action, what is called ``social skill,'' is developed. The idea of social skill originates in symbolic interactionism and is defined as the ability to induct cooperation in others. This idea is elaborated to suggest how actors are important to the construction and reproduction of local orders. I show how, its elements already inform existing work. Finally I show how the idea can sensitize scholars to the role of actors in empirical work.
- Blau, JR & ES Brown. 2001. "Du Bois and Diasporic Identity: the Veil and the Unveiling Project." Sociological Theory. 19:2 219-233.
- Positioning Du Bois's arguments in The Souls of Black Folk (1903) within social theory enhances our understanding of the phenomenological dimensions of radical oppression and of how oppressed groups build on members' differences,as well as on what they share, to construct a cosmopolitan and richly textured community. Du Bois wrote Souls just at the beginning of the Great Migration but indicated that geographical dispersion would deepen racial solidarity, enhance the meaningfulness of community, and emancipate individual group members through participation in mainstream society while maintaining their black identity. Du Bois's writings have powerful implications for understanding how to promote racial justice, and contemporary readers might consider that they have implications for social justice more generally. An analysis of black newspapers that were published during the period of 1900 to 1935 illustrates how Du Bois's conceptions were woven into discourse and everyday practices.
- Scheff, TJ. 2000. "Shame and the Social Bond: a Sociological Theory." Sociological Theory. 18:1 84-99.
- Emotion has long been recognized in sociology as crucially important, but most references to it are generalized and vague. In this essay, I nominate shame, specifically, as the premier social emotion. First I review the individualized treatment of shame in psychoanalysis and psychology, and the absence of social context. Then I consider the contributions to the social dimensions of shame by six sociologists (Georg Simmel, Charles Cooley Norbert Elias, Richard Sennett, Helen Lynd, Erving Goffman) and a psychologist/psychoanalyst (Helen Lewis). I show that Cooley and Lynd, particularly, mane contributions to a theory of shame and the social bond Lewis's idea that shame arises from threats to the bond integrates the contributions of all six sociologists, and points to toward future research on emotion, conflict, and alienation/integration.
- Bentz, VM & W Kenny. 1997. "``body-as-world'': Kenneth Burke's Answer to the Postmodernist Charges Against Sociology." Sociological Theory. 15:1 81-96.
- Postmodernism charges that sociological methods project ways of thinking and being from the past onto the future, and that sociological forms of presentation are rhetorical defenses of ideologies. Postmodernism contends that sociological theory presents reified constructs no more based in reality than are fictional accounts. Kenneth Burke's logology predates and adequately addresses postmodernism's valid charges against sociology. At the same time, logology avoids the idealistic tendencies and ethical pitfalls of radical forms of postmodernist deconstruction, which acknowledge neither pretextual and extratextual worlds nor the way sin which experience is embodied. While not fully articulated, Burke's logology gives primacy to an embodies, social world prior to text (body-as-World). Sociology can strengthen both its theoretical arsenal and its response to postmodernism by reacknowledging and reclaiming Burke's logology.
- McLaughlin, N. 1996. "Nazism, Nationalism, and the Sociology of Emotions: Escape From Freedom Revisited." Sociological Theory. 14:3 241-261.
- The recent worldwide resurgence of militant nationalism, fundamentalist intolerance, and right-wing authoritarianism has again put the issues of violence and xenophobia at the center of social science research and theory. German psychoanalyst and sociologist Erich Fromm's work provides a useful theoretical microfoundation for contemporary work on nationalism, the politics of identity, and the roots of war and violence. Fromm's analysis of Nazism in Escape from Freedom (1941), in particular outlines a compelling theory of irrationality, and his later writings on nationalism provide an existential psychoanalysis that can be useful for contemporary social theory and sociology of emotions. Escape from Freedom synthesizes Marxist, Freudian, Weberian,and existentialist insights to offer an original theoretical explanation of Nazism that combines both macrostructural and micropsychological levels of analysis. After forty-five years of research into the social origins of fascism and with recent theorizing in the sociology of nationalism and emotions, Escape from Freedom, its analysis of Nazism, and Fromm's larger theoretical perspective are worth reconsidering.
- Chapoulie, JM. 1996. "Everett Hughes and the Chicago Tradition." Sociological Theory. 14:1 3-29.
- DURIG, A. 1994. "What Did Langer,susanne Really Mean." Sociological Theory. 12:3 254-265.
- The social philosophy of meaning and emotions represented in the work of Susanne Langer was recognized by Talcott Parsons, but has yet to be incorporated into mainstream sociological theoritizations. Langer's work is as potentially important to contemporary microsociology, and the sociology of emotions, as the work of Peirce, Mead, or Schutz. The impediment to appreciating her work resides in contemporary confusions regarding the nature of logic. Sociologists often subscribe to Wittgenstein's denial of the validity of formal logic in constructing theories of human behavior. Langer has been misunderstood because her theoretizations address more than discursive logics and meanings. The thrust of Langer's work is that logic and meaning exist on a nondiscursive level of emotions. Though her work is more than 50 years old, we are now in a position to appreciate it because we are now exploring and conceptualizing the notion of social inferencing as existing beyond formal logic.