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Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Paul Kamolnick

Committee Members

Scott H. Beck, Martha Copp


George Herbert Mead constructed a brilliant theory of the self as a social phenomenon emerging from the interplay of linguistic symbols. While the persuasiveness Mead's theory remains, he provides an inadequate account of the significance of emotions and conflict for the development of the self. After outlining Mead's theory, this study suggests how Mead's understanding might be improved to account more adequately for the significance of emotions and conflict while maintaining the central strengths of Mead's theory.

Examining a range of Mead's writings, this study critiques Mead's theory via three primary means: the theoretical works of William James and Karen Horney; contemporary research in neuroscience; Mead's attempts to apply his theoretical understanding to concrete social conflicts.

This study concludes that while Mead's theory fails to account adequately for the significance of emotion and conflict, his theory can be readily modified by incorporating some of the ideas of James and Horney.

Document Type

Thesis - restricted


Copyright by the authors.