SAAP Annual Meeting 2015

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George Herbert Mead, Public Philosopher: Fostering the Transformative Potential of Urban Socialities

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John Dewey and George Herbert Mead’s public philosophies complemented each other during their forty-year collaboration to develop big ideas, and more importantly, methods to implement them. Mead’s public philosophy model offers useful tools and an effective historical perspective for re-centering the fields of philosophy and sociology to enhance public transformative engagement. The key aspect of Mead’s social theory this essay analyses is the concept of sociality focuses on the change-producing tension in individual worldviews that comes from participating in a diverse social group or in more than one social group with differing values and norms. Mead understood that learning to cultivate community involves processes of recognizing and influencing sociality through participation in multiple generalized others, as well as individual creativity and social leadership. Mead’s social theories of community are instrumental in serving as educative tools for leaders in democracies, and for processes for nurturing new norms to change cultures.


David Woods    
NYU Poly
United States


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