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Mead and Modernity

Science, Selfhood, and Democratic Politics

Filipe Carreira da Silva

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Filipe Carreira da Silva addresses the basic questions 'How should we read Mead?' and 'Why should we read Mead today' by showing that the history of ideas and theory-building are closely-related endeavors. Following a contextualist approach in exploring the meaning of Mead's writings, Carreira da Silva reads the entire corpus of Mead's published and unpublished writings in light of the context in which they were originally produced, from concrete events like the American involvement in World War I to more general debates like that of the nature of modernity. Mead and Modernity attests to the relevance of Mead's ideas by assessing the relative merits of his responses to three fundamental modern problematics: science, selfhood, and democratic politics. The outcome is an innovative intellectual portrait of Mead as a seminal thinker whose contributions extend beyond his well-known social theory of the self and include important insights into the philosophy of science and radical democratic theory. « less more »
Lexington Books
Pages: 252Size: 6 x 9 1/8
978-0-7391-1511-4 • Hardback • March 2008 • $90.00 • (£60.00)
978-0-7391-1512-1 • Paperback • July 2010 • $39.99 • (£24.95)
978-0-7391-5005-4 • eBook • July 2010 • $39.99 • (£24.95)
Filipe Carreira da Silva is a research fellow at the Institute of Social Sciences at the University of Lisbon and senior member at Wolfson College, Cambridge.
Part 1 Part I: Mead, Sociology, and Modernity
Chapter 2 Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 3 Chapter 2: Mead and the Modern Problematic of Selfhood
Chapter 4 Chapter 3: Imagining the Intellectual Edifice
Chapter 5 Chapter 4: The Making of a Classic
Part 6 Part II: The Pillar of Science
Chapter 7 Chapter 5: Science as a Problem-Solving Activity
Chapter 8 Chapter 6: From the Logic of the Sciences to the Theory of the Art
Chapter 9 Chapter 7: A Scientific Social Psychology
Chapter 10 Chapter 8: A Science of Politics and Morals
Part 11 Part III: The Pillar of Social Psychology
Chapter 12 Chapter 9: Mead on the Social Origins of the Self
Chapter 13 Chapter 10: Educating the Self
Chapter 14 Chapter 11: Mead on Social Psychology: A Story Rewritten
Chapter 15 Chapter 12: Mead, Habermas, and Social Individuation
Part 16 Part IV: The Pillar of Politics
Chapter 17 Chapter 13: The Theory and Practice of Social Reconstruction
Chapter 18 Chapter 14: Mead and the War
Chapter 19 Chapter 15: Communicative Ethics and Deliberative Democracy
Chapter 20 Chapter 16: Conclusions: Provisional Answers to Inescapable Questions
Part 21 Bibliography
Chapter 22 Primary Sources
Chapter 23 Secondary Sources
His goal is to suggest some ways in which Mead's ideas could inform contemporary social theories of modernity. The result is a short but informative book on a broad range of topics associated with Med's thought, and a useful corrective to some of the ways he is misrepresented in contemporary sociology....Contemporary scholars of Mead have been trying to dislodgge this profile by drawing out his more pragmatist and materialist ideas, a goal that Silva furthers with some success in this book...the central thesis of Filipe Carreira da Silva's book is an excellent way to conceive of Mead's ideas as a whole, and his insights and critiques are both useful and original. It is an essential reference for Mead shcholars, and would also serve as an accessible and comprehensive introduction to Mead's social theory for students.
Canadian Journal of Sociology


difficult but incisive rereading of Mead's archive of published and unpublished work, a rereading that integrates Mead's recognized contributions to social psychology with his democratic theory....With the exception of a handful of studies over the last 20 years, relatively little has been done to properly historicize and contextualize Mead's work, and to provide a genealogy that can explain, clarify, and amplify the limited exposition in his posthumously published lectures. It is that need that da Silva goes a long way toward filling, making an intriguing case that Mead provides an alternative to conventional theories (critical and not) that take the uniform process of modernization for granted....this book is a fine contribution to that project (which anyone interested in Mead should read)
American Journal of Sociology


The book, which is not just a narrow monograph of Mead as a classic of the social sciences, is a skillfully planned and well-written study of Mead's whole oeuvre....By using historically sensitive and thematically guided method, Carreira da Silva locates some important milestones in research concerning Mead's thinking....The main merit of Carreira da Silva's analysis is how he is able to show that Mead's moral and political thinking was closely related to his theory of the social formation of mind and self....In any case, Carreira da Silva's book is a masterpiece in the tradition started by David L. Miller and Gary Allan Cook, and followed by Hans Joas, which deepens our understanding of the meaning of Mead's thinking....Carreira da Silva is able to put all the pieces of a complicated jigsaw puzzle in the right places...methodologically an excellent and sharp analysis of Mead's thinking.
Acta Sociologica, March 2010


"Filipe Carreira da Silva masterfully links together the historical development of Mead's thought with an original analysis of what he convincingly identifies as its principal elements. This superb book is a major contribution to the literature on a classic theorist."
William Outhwaite, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, Newcastle University


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