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Record Type: Review   ID: 562

Industrialization as an Agent of Social Change: A Critical Analysis

Blumer, Herbert

 Herbert Blumer (1900-1987) is an important sociologist best known because he coined the term "symbolic interaction." This book, which was published posthumously, presents Blumer's adaptations of the perspective of G.H. Mead into a sociological mode of analysis. Blumer's approach is relevant to the study of exceptional human experiences by analogy. First, he insisted that "sociological inquiry must be ontologically correct" (p. xiv). The need to at least have an explicit ontology is generally overlooked in studies of EHEs. Furthermore, Blumer emphasized meaningful transactions, and it might be helpful to view EHEs as meaningful transactions between actors or between actor and environment. Moreover, Blumer did not confine his inquiries to individuals alone but pointed out that meaningful transactions can take place at any level--actors, or "acting units," can be viewed as relationships, corporations, ethnic groups, or other collectivities. Finally, he pointed out that human activities always occur in situations that can range from one-on-one encounters to international relations. These situations are the realities the actor will deal with and therefore this psychoculture milieu must be taken into account in any research. Thus, Blumer's perspective not only stressed meaningful interaction, but it was "geared toward what is empirically present in human life" (p. xv). As this book shows, to Blumer society forms a framework for human activity, it does not cause that activity. Blumer held that "whatever is present in human society is the result of human activity. Accordingly, one must look to that activity to find answers" (p. xxii).
Publisher Information:Hawthorne, NY: Aldine de Gruyter, 1990. 171p. Index: 169-171
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