The Chicago School. SO3066 Thinking Sociologically. Thinking Sociologically SO3066. Chicago School of Sociology (not to be confused with the economists) Established in 1892 by Albion Small (brought the ‘German Tradition’ to the US)
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People define things in the world in terms of their use for them, determine their action based on what they understand about things, imagine the consequences of various forms of action, and select the optimal mode of conduct
WI Thomas (joined 1894) – From US – Spent some time in Germany studying Sociology
‘The Definition of the Situation’ : Human beings do not merely react to stimuli they act on the basis of subjectively defining situations and selecting corresponding conduct.
The Thomas Theorem : “if men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences” (Thomas & Thomas 1928:572).
Society is like an organism (from Darwin)
Humans distinct from other animals (contra Watson)
Act on the basis of meaning (gestures, language)
Self/Society as the outcome of meaningful, ongoing social exchange (see Simmel)
‘…consciousness must be understood as a stream of thought arising in the dynamic relationship between a person and his significant environment’ (Coser, 1979)
(1900 – 1987)
Chicago School - The Urban Sociologists
& host of others
The Method & The Studies
(1864 – 1944)
(1886 – 1966)
(1897 – 1952)