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|Other Titles:||Between Science and Humanism: Symbolic Interactionism from Mead to Blumer|
|Publisher:||Contemporary China Research Centre, City University of Hong Kong|
|Source:||香港社會科學學報, 1996, no. 8, Autumn, p. 199-236|
Hong Kong Journal of Social Sciences, 1996, no. 8, Autumn, p. 199-236 How to cite?
|Journal:||Hong Kong Journal of Social Sciences|
|Abstract:||The ‘school’ of Symbolic Interactionism has received considerable attention in recent years. However, rarely has the attention been directed to the issue of Blumer’s and indeed Mead’s theoretical stance vis-a-vis the classical tradition of sociology considered as a moral science. This paper argues that the chief problem with Mead, the Chicago school, Blumer and most other interactionists is that they have put too much faith in the authority of science, however it is defined; and in this regard Blumer and his fellow interactionists were even one step backward than their predecessors. Knowledge, it appears, does not necessarily and automatically ‘evolve’ with time, sometimes it simply ‘devolves’.|
This paper not only offers a theoretical analysis of the respective works of Mead and Blumer from the above vantage point of view, but also puts them in their social, historical, intellectual and even institutional contexts. While theories and ideas do have independent powers and should be evaluated in their own terms, it cannot be denied that they are also shaped to various extent by social, intellectual and institutional forces. This is therefore as much a paper on sociological theory as an essay on the sociology of sociological knowledge. Inevitably, there are gross inadequacies as well as omissions in projects of this sort, especially within the confines of a single paper; and I have therefore exercised my intellectual liberty to a maximum degree by focusing on themes and issues that are deemed relevant and interesting.
This paper itself does not offer a programme of social research, but ends modestly with a call for a reflection on the nature of sociology as a moral science in the spirit of the early champions of the eigthteenth century; whilst admitting that such a project remains an incomplete one.
|Rights:||© City University of Hong Kong 1996. The journal website is at: http://hkjss.rcc.cityu.edu.hk.|
|Appears in Collections:||Journal/Magazine Article|
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