Charles Cooley captured my interest when selecting a sociologist to research. After doing some research, I became intrigued with Cooley’s theory of the Looking Glass Self, and how it effects our society. I understand his meaning behind his theory. He claims that in his childhood, he formed his identity through how he viewed himself through his father’s mind, as well as others. I believe his theory is very interesting, because I experience it myself at times. Charles the Person
In 1864, Charles Horton Cooley was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan. This same here Charles’ father, Thomas Cooley, was elected to the Supreme Court of Michigan. Thomas was very successful and became well-known nationally. Thomas was a hard-driving and success oriented person (Bolender 1998). Charles struggled living in the shadow of his famous father (Bolender 1998). Thomas alienated Charles throughout his childhood. This took a toll on Charles for a long period of time. Charles seemed to keep to himself. He became shy and developed a speech impediment (Bolender 1998). He did not have many friends to play with. Even at age 15, he seemed to just read and keep to himself. Charles thought that his father viewed him negatively.
Charles Cooley later attended college at the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor. Charles graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering after seven years of school. Many say he suffered from a psychosomatic illness during school, and this caused him to stay there longer (American Sociological Association n.d.) Though he had graduated with a great degree, Charles did not particularly like engineering (Bolender 1998). He loved his few courses in economics, philosophy, and history. After college, he continued to read a lot. This drove him to another life career.
In 1890, Charles went back to the University of Michigan. He did graduate work in political economy and sociology. He wrote a dissertation called “The Theory of Transportation,” a study in human ecology. Then in 1894, he acquired his Ph.D. He also married Elsie Jones, a daughter of a professor of medicine at the University of Michigan. They had three children. Charles began teaching at the University of Michigan. He quickly succeeded in the growth of a good professor ( Bolender 1998). In eight years, he became a full-time professor. Undergraduate students didn’t seem to like him. But graduate students admired his will to search new information (Bolender 1998). Society in the 1800s
During this time of Charles’ life, society was re-shaping itself. Rapid technological advances and changes during this time brought a great number of people to work in factories. This definitely was a change in social life brought to the world, during this time. With so many people leaving their homes to find work in factories, cities grew tremendously and created many social problems. This led to the development of the sociological perspective. This led Comte, Marx, Ward, and many others to search out how these social changes affected the people. One of the big events that sparked sociological advances in this time was the Industrial Revolution. Society back then involved rural farming. The industrial Revolution made it possible for many people all over the world to have an urban, industrial way of life. Problems grew in this though. People were forced to live in a back-to-back house with no gardens for food, or a backyard to hang clothes to dry. Health and poverty became an issue. Land was hard to find. People, who made advances to living in an urban and industrial environment, were struggling with problems such as these. But as this was going on, the higher ruling classes lived in nicer homes just outside the cities and towns. Here, they had land to enjoy at their leisure. Religion was also a big sociological topic of this time, especially Christianity, being it was the largest group (Sparks Editors 2006). Karl Marx based many of his...
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2.) Cooley, Charles. 1902. Human Nature and the Social Order. New York: Scribner
3.) Ameican Sociological Association n.d. Charles Horton Cooley. WEBSITE accessed March 20, 2012. http://www.asanet.org/about/presidents/Charles_Cooley.cfm
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