G.H. Mead`s original role-concept and its later distortions

Ibolya Vári-Szilágyi


In the social psychology of the ‘60s probably the notion of role enjoyed the greatest popularity besides attitude. Although this popularity has markedly decreased by the ‘90s, role theories still have a substantial influence on social science thinking. When pondering about the viability of the scientific notion, one does well to recount the history of its spreading and transferring, with special regard to the original role concept of G. H. Mead, the father of symbolic interactionism. As the author’s historical and theoretical analysis reveals, just in the period when the popularity of the role concept was the highest, the context in which role phenomena were examined, were significantly more superficial than Mead’s original attempts at its interpretation. This was able to highlight more deeply the relation of the role and action. Neglecting this has meant that social psychology and sociology have practically left out one possibility to understand better the changes of roles and the emergence of new roles.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14267/cjssp.2010.02.06


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ISSN: 2062-087X

DOI: 10.14267/issn.2062-087X