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Mead and Modernity: Science, Selfhood, and Democratic Politics Hardcover – March 7, 2008

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Editorial Reviews


His goal is to suggest some ways in which Mead's ideas could inform contemporary social theories of modernity. The result is a short but informative book on a broad range of topics associated with Med's thought, and a useful corrective to some of the ways he is misrepresented in contemporary sociology....Contemporary scholars of Mead have been trying to dislodgge this profile by drawing out his more pragmatist and materialist ideas, a goal that Silva furthers with some success in this book...the central thesis of Filipe Carreira da Silva's book is an excellent way to conceive of Mead's ideas as a whole, and his insights and critiques are both useful and original. It is an essential reference for Mead shcholars, and would also serve as an accessible and comprehensive introduction to Mead's social theory for students. (Canadian Journal of Sociology)

difficult but incisive rereading of Mead's archive of published and unpublished work, a rereading that integrates Mead's recognized contributions to social psychology with his democratic theory....With the exception of a handful of studies over the last 20 years, relatively little has been done to properly historicize and contextualize Mead's work, and to provide a genealogy that can explain, clarify, and amplify the limited exposition in his posthumously published lectures. It is that need that da Silva goes a long way toward filling, making an intriguing case that Mead provides an alternative to conventional theories (critical and not) that take the uniform process of modernization for granted....this book is a fine contribution to that project (which anyone interested in Mead should read) (American Journal of Sociology)

The book, which is not just a narrow monograph of Mead as a classic of the social sciences, is a skillfully planned and well-written study of Mead's whole oeuvre....By using historically sensitive and thematically guided method, Carreira da Silva locates some important milestones in research concerning Mead's thinking....The main merit of Carreira da Silva's analysis is how he is able to show that Mead's moral and political thinking was closely related to his theory of the social formation of mind and self....In any case, Carreira da Silva's book is a masterpiece in the tradition started by David L. Miller and Gary Allan Cook, and followed by Hans Joas, which deepens our understanding of the meaning of Mead's thinking....Carreira da Silva is able to put all the pieces of a complicated jigsaw puzzle in the right places...methodologically an excellent and sharp analysis of Mead's thinking. (Acta Sociologica, March 2010)

"Filipe Carreira da Silva masterfully links together the historical development of Mead's thought with an original analysis of what he convincingly identifies as its principal elements. This superb book is a major contribution to the literature on a classic theorist." (William Outhwaite, Newcastle University)

About the Author

Filipe Carreira da Silva is a research fellow at the Institute of Social Sciences at the University of Lisbon and senior member at Wolfson College, Cambridge.

More About the Author

Filipe Carreira da Silva is the author of several books on social theory, including the recent "Social Theory in the Twentieth Century and Beyond" (with Patrick Baert). He has written on Jurgen Habermas's concept of public sphere, on the republican political tradition, and on G.H. Mead's social and political thinking. His work has been translated into Italian, Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese. His latest book is an anthology of G.H. Mead's writings (Routledge, 2011).
In 2003, he graduated from the University of Cambridge, subsequently becoming a Junior Research Fellow (Wolfson College, 2003-2006). He has meanwhile held visiting positions at Harvard, Chicago, Yale, and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Since 2006, Filipe is Research Fellow at the Institute of Social Sciences of the University of Lisbon. He is currently lecturer in sociology at the University of Cambridge (2012-2013).
You can visit him at

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