Cooley, Charles Horton

(1864-1929)
Cooley was one of the first generation of American sociologists, but an eccentric who differed from most of his peers. Whereas the majority of the pioneers were Social Darwinians , Cooley was a less mechanical evolutionist: most were reformists, often inspired by religion, while Cooley was more artistic and romantic; and most were aiming to make sociology a rigorously objective (positivist) science, but Cooley was an idealist, more concerned with introspection and imagination-one of the earliest of humanistic sociologists .
Cooley sought to abolish the dualisms of society/individual and body/mind, emphasizing instead their interconnections, and conceptualizing them as functional and organic wholes. The root problem of social science was the mutual interrelationship between the individual and social order. In his view, the concepts of the ‘individual’ and of ‘society’ could be defined only in relationship to each other, since human life was essentially a matter of social intercourse-of society shaping the individual and individuals shaping society. However, his critics did not see him as being successful in this enterprise, ultimately siding too much with the individual and idealism .
Cooley launched his career ‘in defiance of categories’, refusing to label himself a sociologist, and seeking instead to merge history, philosophy, and social psychology. Two of his concepts have, nevertheless, captured the sociological imagination. The first is the looking-glass self : the way in which the individual's sense of self is ‘mirrored’ and reflected through others. This was an idea later to be greatly expanded by William James and George Herbert Mead in their attempts to build a general theory of the self . The second of Cooley's lasting concepts is that of the ‘primary group’, characterized by close, intimate, face-to-face interaction, which Cooley contrasted with the larger and more disparate ‘nucleated group’ (subsequently referred to more commonly as the ‘secondary group’), whose members were rarely if ever all in direct contact. (Families or friendship circles are typical primary groups; trade unions and political parties are characteristically secondary groups.)
Cooley was both a student and professor at the University of Michigan. His major works are Human Nature and the Social Order (1902), Social Organisation (1909), and Social Process(1918). See also symbolic interactionism.

Dictionary of sociology. 2013.

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  • Cooley, Charles Horton — born Aug. 17, 1864, Ann Arbor, Mich., U.S. died May 8, 1929, Ann Arbor U.S. sociologist. The son of an eminent Michigan jurist, Cooley taught sociology at the University of Michigan from 1894. He believed that the mind is social, that society is… …   Universalium

  • Cooley, Charles Horton — (17 ago. 1864, Ann Arbor, Mich., EE.UU.–8 may. 1929, Ann Arbor). Sociólogo estadounidense. Hijo de un eminente jurista de Michigan, Cooley fue docente de sociología en la Universidad de Michigan desde 1894. Sostenía que la mente es una entidad… …   Enciclopedia Universal

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  • Charles Horton Cooley — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Cooley (homonymie). Charles Horton Cooley Charles Horton Cooley (1864 1929) était un sociologue américain s inscrivant …   Wikipédia en Français

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  • Charles Cooley — Charles Horton Cooley (born August 17, 1864, Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S. died May 8, 1929, Ann Arbor) was an American sociologist and the son of Thomas M. Cooley. He studied and went on to teach economics and sociology at the University of Michigan …   Wikipedia

  • Charles Cooley — Charles Horton Cooley Charles Horton Cooley (* 17. August 1864 in Ann Arbor, Michigan; † 7. Mai 1929 ebendort) war ein US amerikanischer Soziologe. Er war der 8. Präsident der American Sociological Association. Lewis A. Coser nahm Cooley unter… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Charles Cooley — Charles Horton Cooley Charles Horton Cooley (1864 1929) était un sociologue américain s inscrivant dans le courant du pragmatisme. Pour lui, l individu et la société sont les deux faces d une seule réalité sociale. l individu n existe que par la… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Charles h. cooley — Charles Horton Cooley Charles Horton Cooley (1864 1929) était un sociologue américain s inscrivant dans le courant du pragmatisme. Pour lui, l individu et la société sont les deux faces d une seule réalité sociale. l individu n existe que par la… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Charles — Charles, Ray * * * (as used in expressions) Adams, Charles Francis Addams, Charles (Samuel) Atlas, Charles Babbage, Charles Barkley, Charles (Wade) Charles Daly Barnet Bartlett, Sir Frederic C(harles) Baudelaire, Charles (Pierre) Charles Edward… …   Enciclopedia Universal

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