The Romantic Antecedents of Meadian Social Psychology

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Mead's life-long interest in Romanticism is the least studied aspect of his work. As summarized in Movements of Thought in the Nineteenth Century, Meadian explorations in romantic philosophy and sociology provide a valuable insight into his substantive contributions. The present paper seeks to amplify this insight and explores its relevance to the interactionist tradition in sociology. Special attention is given to the Meadian claim that the modern notion of self first appears in the romantic literature. Mead's emphasis on the interplay between the social structure and the structure of the self is linked to the romantic vision of the self as the microcosm of the social macrocosm. The current controversy over Mead and Chicago sociology is given a new interpretation in light of the dialectical premises inherent in the Meadian and romantic theories of self.


Mead; George Herbert; --1863-1931; Romanticism; Social interaction; Social structure


Social Psychology and Interaction | Sociology


This is a revision of the paper presented at the American Sociological Association meeting in San Francisco, 1982.


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