“Mind, self and society” is a book written majorly on the teachings of George Herbert Mead. The book is edited Charles Morris, one of Mead’s students. The books majors on the symbolic interactions theory and is divided into the mind, self, and the society as viewed from social behaviorism theorists. When discussing self, the book looks at how human beings develop behaviors from birth until adulthood (Mead 4). It says that self is something that does not exist when somebody is born but is developed over-time as a person grows. The sociological encounters and experiences that a person goes through in his life, especially in their early childhood are responsible for the type of the behaviors a person may exhibit.
The behaviors acquired by individuals in the society form the type of communication in that society. The book further explains that the characters developed by individuals may have nothing to do with self but with experience an individual goes through. One does not have to do anything to acquire behavior, he just has to exist and the presence of all things that exist around him would modify his behavior.
The author has used “I” and “me” to refer to different things. “I” refers to how someone perceives things in relation to himself, the type of position he holds in the society and the privileges accorded to him. “M” implies to how the same individual judges his relation to people and things in his environment, it is social and can be relied upon. The self is differentiated from the body according to the boot. It says “it is perfectly clear that eye can see the feet, but it cannot see the whole body” (4). It goes further to explain that self cannot be seen but it can be felt, for example, one can tell when rain drops on their back even when he cannot see it. The mind makes a person to be aware of the self even when the eye cannot see it.
When discussing mind, the readers is made aware that mind involves all the aspects of a language that a person uses to relate to others around him. The language, symbols and gestures are all attributed to the mind and are some of the elements used in communication. Through experience and interactions with people around, a person gets to know to apply these aspects of language, gestures and symbols correctly. The mind makes it possible for two people having a conversation to assign the same meanings to gestures and symbols.
According to the Morris, what he learned from Mead was that self is used as the reference point by human beings. The self becomes about as a result of interactions such as during games and plays (Mead 5). The self therefore becomes a reflection of all the interactions one has had. These reflections are in form of a person’s behavior. The acquired behavior cannot be seen physically but the self makes them known to others. He says that a person’s conscious mind finds its way into the person’s self (5)
While addressing society, the book portrays a man as being extra ordinary compared to other lower animals. Man views society as the people and things around him. When young, the society he knows is the immediate family. The family members and the child both react to each other in a social process that makes the bond between them stronger. As the child grows, he identifies a larger society and would utilize it to accommodate him through the use of language.
This study supports the psychoanalysis theory developed by Sigmund Freud. The theory states that repressed emotions could be released out by making the unconscious to become conscious. In the book “A good man is hard to find”, misfit is serial killer whose repressed emotions are reflected in his killing behavior. Psychoanalysis is applied when trying to find out why misfit is a murderer. The reader comes to realize that misfit was a murderer because he had repressed some emotions within him that made him to be the way he is. It tackles the aspect of ego defense as Misfit’s mind distorts impulses and changes them to more acceptable ones. He uses denial technique to ignore the truth about his parents. The two articles are related in that; they both support Freudian theory of psychoanalysis.
The grandmother and her family are also affected by ego. Every member of the family has his or her own self interest and this leads them straight to misfit. O’Connor shows her loneliness and repressed emotions through her dialogue with her past experiences
Political Observatories, Database and News in the Emerging Ecology of Public Information
“Political observatories, databases and news in the emerging ecology of public information” is an article written by Michael Schudson. The article introduces database as the modern equivalent to the “narratives in the old days to the cinemas and novels” (1). He goes further to say that database is not only about what tech survey citizens see in the internet, but starts from data collection and assembly. The author cites Walter Lippmann for stating that American journalism is dying.
The people who are responsible for providing information have concentrated all their efforts in displaying the information to the public while forgetting about gathering and assembling concrete information from relevant sources. There is a need to collect and store information so that they are retrieved whenever needed but not just depending on secondary source which might not be as reliable as they should. Lippmann had expressed hopes of “reforms in the journalism training through deep and rich journalism curriculum used in schools” (1).
The article communicates the importance of gathering information in the modern world. Information is not only informative but also very powerful when used correctly. The kind of information passed through the new media channels might not be appropriate to the needs of the news recipients. News reporters are faced with the challenge of which news to report and which one to keep. According to Lippmann, most news rooms have completely given attention to the government at the expense of the societal needs.
The author has used the article to echo the calls of “independent, on-partisan organizations to carry out research on social and political information relevant to the needs of the society” (2). These organizations must be credible enough and must ensure that the information gathered is accessible to the deserving journalists. The author quotes Lippmann as having stated that the services of journalism are required to ensure democracy in the society.
The quality and number of political observatories are major elements that could provide reliable information to be used by newspapers and other forms of communication channels to inform the public on the true political scene. The paper supports the calls by Lippmann and other like-minded persons on the need to disseminate information that has a “well-informed public opinion” (2). It calls for a stop to cheap and trashy news printed in the newspapers and broadcasted in the radios and television networks.
Michael Schudson summarizes his article by informing the readers that the future of news would be bleak if newsrooms only concentrate on the political observatories and not on gathering credible information from credible sources. Technological revolutions have made the matter worse by availing information easily to reporters hence discouraging proper research by journalists. In most cases, the information gathered through online platforms without going to the ground to find out the truth tend to lack credibility. This is an article written in the modern, digital era and is addressed to journalism professionals and stakeholders in the same field. The intention is to have them re-think the future of news.
Mead, George Herbert. Mind, self and society. Vol. 111. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1934.