Becoming Mead: The Social Process of Academic Knowledge
George Herbert Mead is a foundational figure in sociology, best known for his book Mind, Self, and Society, which was put together after his death from course notes taken by stenographers and students and from unpublished manuscripts. Mead, however, never taught a course primarily housed in a sociology department, and he wrote about a wide variety of topics far outside of the concerns for which he is predominantly remembered—including experimental and comparative psychology, the history of science, and relativity theory. In short, he is known in a discipline in which he did not teach for a book he did not write.
In Becoming Mead, Daniel R. Huebner traces the ways in which knowledge has been produced by and about the famed American philosopher. Instead of treating Mead’s problematic reputation as a separate topic of study from his intellectual biography, Huebner considers both biography and reputation as social processes of knowledge production. He uses Mead as a case study and provides fresh new answers to critical questions in the social sciences, such as how authors come to be considered canonical in particular disciplines, how academics understand and use others’ works in their research, and how claims to authority and knowledge are made in scholarship. Becoming Mead provides a novel take on the history of sociology, placing it in critical dialogue with cultural sociology and the sociology of knowledge and intellectuals.
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