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In Reference to Mead, or How to Win Students and Influence Sociology

In Reference to Mead, or How to Win Students and Influence Sociology

Chapter:
(p.177) Chapter Seven In Reference to Mead, or How to Win Students and Influence Sociology
Source:
Becoming Mead
Author(s):
Daniel R. Huebner
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226171548.003.0007

Chapter 7 examines the patterns of published references by which George Herbert Mead’s dominant intellectual legacy and reputation came to be institutionalized. In order to explicate these micro-level patterns in detail, the chapter utilizes specially constructed datasets of all references to Mead in journal publications from the 1890s to the 1950s, including informal citations that do not refer to a specific work by Mead. The most important turning point was the reorganization of courses at the University of Chicago in the 1920s, whereby Mead was introduced to sociology students by Ellsworth Faris. Faris and his students referred to Mead in a unique way in publications, characterizing him as an important resource for sociological social psychology. Personal relationships played an absolutely central role in generating the dynamics of references to Mead, first primarily through those who knew him in life and then through enthusiastic interpreters who sought to spread a knowledge of his work. The shape of these personal networks and the ability of individuals to transmit this knowledge successfully were conditioned by the structures of academic institutions, especially at transformational junctures. The patterns that developed by the mid-twentieth century have set the tracks for subsequent interpretations of Mead.

Keywords:   George Herbert Mead, informal citation, citation analysis, social psychology, institutionalization, reputation, academic disciplines, sociology, Ellsworth Faris

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