INTERPRETING THE SOCIOLOGICAL CLASSICS: CAN THERE BE A “TRUE” MEANING OF MEAD?

Gary Alan Fine*, Sherryl Kleinman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations

Abstract

Many sociologists have tried in vain to find the “true” meaning of the classic works in the discipline. An interactionist perspective suggests that this search is not a valid one for sociologists, especially symbolic interactionists. Although there can be no “true” meaning, some authors use conventions of writing that make their work more or less clear. Using Mead's Mind, Self and Society as an example, we discuss the dimensions of clarity. We then argue that the sociological classics should be read to (I) simulate new theories and research (pragmatic analysis), (2) determine how sociologists have used that classic to support or refute particular theories or perspectives (rhetorical analysis), and (3) provide information about the sociological concerns of the author and his/her contemporaries (historical analysis). 1986 Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-146
Number of pages18
JournalSymbolic Interaction
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences(all)

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