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The Timeliness of George Herbert Mead$
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Hans Joas and Daniel R. Huebner

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226376943

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226377131.001.0001

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George Herbert Mead as a Socio-Environmental Thinker

George Herbert Mead as a Socio-Environmental Thinker

(p.144) Chapter Seven George Herbert Mead as a Socio-Environmental Thinker
The Timeliness of George Herbert Mead

Bradley H. Brewster

Antony J. Puddephatt

University of Chicago Press

Bradley Brewster and Antony Puddephatt propose that Mead was one of the most thoroughgoing bio-social thinkers in the classical sociological canon, and they criticize those who lump him together with some of his later followers who showed little interest in the natural world and the relationships between the human organism and its environment. This relationship, according to Mead, can be understood neither as a determinism where all the causality lies on the side of the environment nor as an unfettered construction of environment by organism. Brewster and Puddephatt see Mead in a revolt against dualism and idealism. The authors propose that Mead’s theory of fundamental sociality and the objective location of perspectives in nature provides an avenue for linking the social sciences with environmental studies. There are affinities of Mead’s theory to the thinking of early conservationists. They clearly find anticipated in Mead what is presently debated as a new view of the social—that is, a view that includes nonhumans. Mead’s theory could, therefore, provide the foundation for contemporary claims about the obligation of human communities to multiple forms of ecology.

Keywords:   George Herbert Mead, environment, sociality, environmental studies, conservationism, biosociality

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