Mead is generally regarded as the founder of the symbolic interaction approach. George Herbert Mead (1863-1931) was trained in social psychology and philosophy and spent most of his academic career at the University of Chicago. Mead 's major work is Mind, Self and Society, a series of his essays put together after Mead 's death and originally published in 1934, a work in which he emphasizes how the social world develops various mental states in an individual.
Mead looked on the "self as an acting organism, not a passive receptacle that simply receives and responds to stimuli" (Mead 124), as Durkheim may have thought. People are not merely media that can be put into action by appropriate stimuli, but that "we are thoughtful and reflective creatures whose identities and actions arise as a result of our interactions with others" (Mead 145). For Mead, what distinguishes humans from non-human animals is that humans have the ability to delay their reactions to a stimulus. Intelligence is the ability to mutually adjust actions. Non-human animals also have intelligence because they often can act together or adjust what they do to the actions of other animals. Humans differ from non-human animals in that they have a much greater ability to do this. While humans may do this through involuntary gestures, Mead thought it more important that it is only humans that can adjust actions by using
Bibliography: Berger, Peter. 1963. Invitation to Sociology: A Humanistic Perspective. Garden City, NY: Anchor Books. Blumer, Herbert. 1969. Symbolic Interactionism: Perspective and Method. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall. Goffman, Erving. 1958. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh, Social Sciences Research Centre. Mead, Herbert. 1934. Mind, Self and Society. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press