Charles H Cooley

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  • Topic: Sociology, Charles Cooley, Looking glass self
  • Pages : 2 (549 words )
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  • Published : March 19, 2013
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Born August 17th 1864 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Charles Horton Cooley was an American sociologist who may be best known for his work on Symbolic Interactionism. Cooley studied at and graduated from the University of Michigan in 1887, he then returned the following year to train in mechanical engineering at the same school. In 1888, he returned yet again to pursue a Master's degree in political economics, with a minor in sociology. He began teaching sociology and economics subjects at the University of Michigan in the fall of 1892, from here Cooley went on to obtain a PhD in 1894. Cooley went on to write over thirty-five pieces of work and is now held to be a founder of the symbolic interactionist tradition. Cooley’s work toward symbolic interactionism stemmed from the work of an earlier American philosopher and psychologist, William James. Cooley saw that as we interact with others they tend to gesture and react to us, this action of a gesture or sign by the person we are interacting with us how they feel or what they think about us and from what we believe they think of us we build our own picture of ourselves in where we are in society. Therefore for the most part our feelings of who we are depend on how we perceive ourselves in others eyes. Cooley states in his work Human Nature and the Social Order, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons (1902) ‘Just as we see our physical body reflected in a mirror, so we see our social selves reflected in people’s gestures and reactions to us.’

Based on what Cooley wrote in his work Human Nature and the Social Order, his "looking-glass self" involved three steps- ‘A self-idea of this sort seems to have three principal elements: the imagination of our appearance to the other person; the imagination of his judgment of that appearance, and some sort of self-feeling, such as pride or mortification.—Charles Cooley, Human Nature and the Social Order, p. 152. According to Cooley then, after interacting with another person we feel...
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