Charles Cooley

Charles Cooley

Overview
Charles Horton Cooley was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 sociologist and the son of Thomas M. Cooley
Thomas M. Cooley
Thomas McIntyre Cooley, LL.D., was the 25th Justice and a Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, between 1864 and 1885. Born in Attica, New York, he was father to Charles Cooley, a distinguished American sociologist...

. He studied and went on to teach economics and sociology at the University of Michigan
University of Michigan
The University of Michigan is a public research university located in Ann Arbor, Michigan in the United States. It is the state's oldest university and the flagship campus of the University of Michigan...

, and he was a founding member and the eighth president of the American Sociological Association
American Sociological Association
The American Sociological Association , founded in 1905 as the American Sociological Society , is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the discipline and profession of sociology by serving sociologists in their work and promoting their contributions to serve society.The ASA holds its...

. He is perhaps best known for his concept of the looking glass self
Looking glass self
The looking-glass self is a social psychological concept, created by Charles Horton Cooley in 1902 , stating that a person's self grows out of society's interpersonal interactions and the perceptions of others. The term refers to people shaping themselves based on other people's perception, which...

, which is the concept that a person's self grows out of society's interpersonal interactions and the perceptions of others.


Charles Horton Cooley was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan
Michigan
Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

 on August 17, 1864, to Mary Elizabeth Horton and Michigan Supreme Court Justice Thomas M. Cooley
Thomas M. Cooley
Thomas McIntyre Cooley, LL.D., was the 25th Justice and a Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, between 1864 and 1885. Born in Attica, New York, he was father to Charles Cooley, a distinguished American sociologist...

.
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Encyclopedia
Charles Horton Cooley was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 sociologist and the son of Thomas M. Cooley
Thomas M. Cooley
Thomas McIntyre Cooley, LL.D., was the 25th Justice and a Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, between 1864 and 1885. Born in Attica, New York, he was father to Charles Cooley, a distinguished American sociologist...

. He studied and went on to teach economics and sociology at the University of Michigan
University of Michigan
The University of Michigan is a public research university located in Ann Arbor, Michigan in the United States. It is the state's oldest university and the flagship campus of the University of Michigan...

, and he was a founding member and the eighth president of the American Sociological Association
American Sociological Association
The American Sociological Association , founded in 1905 as the American Sociological Society , is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the discipline and profession of sociology by serving sociologists in their work and promoting their contributions to serve society.The ASA holds its...

. He is perhaps best known for his concept of the looking glass self
Looking glass self
The looking-glass self is a social psychological concept, created by Charles Horton Cooley in 1902 , stating that a person's self grows out of society's interpersonal interactions and the perceptions of others. The term refers to people shaping themselves based on other people's perception, which...

, which is the concept that a person's self grows out of society's interpersonal interactions and the perceptions of others.

Biography


Charles Horton Cooley was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan
Michigan
Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

 on August 17, 1864, to Mary Elizabeth Horton and Michigan Supreme Court Justice Thomas M. Cooley
Thomas M. Cooley
Thomas McIntyre Cooley, LL.D., was the 25th Justice and a Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, between 1864 and 1885. Born in Attica, New York, he was father to Charles Cooley, a distinguished American sociologist...

. He was the fourth of six children.

Education



Cooley graduated from University of Michigan
University of Michigan
The University of Michigan is a public research university located in Ann Arbor, Michigan in the United States. It is the state's oldest university and the flagship campus of the University of Michigan...

 in 1887, and continued with a year's training in mechanical engineering at the same school. In 1888, he returned for a Master's degree in political economics, with a minor in sociology. He began teaching economics and sociology at the University in the fall of 1892. Cooley went on to receive a PhD in 1894. His doctoral thesis was The Theory of Transportation in economics
Economics
Economics is the social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. The term economics comes from the Ancient Greek from + , hence "rules of the house"...

. He began teaching sociology in the academic year of 1894-95.

Family Life


Cooley's marriage in 1890 to Elsie Jones, the daughter of a professor of medicine at the University of Michigan, enabled him to concentrate fully on scholarly work and the contemplative life he prized above all. A highly cultivated woman, Mrs. Cooley differed from her husband in that she was outgoing, energetic, and hence capable of ordering their common lives in such a manner that mundane cares were not to weigh very heavily on her husband. The couple had three children, a boy and two girls, and lived quietly and fairly withdrawn in a house close to the campus. The children served Cooley as a kind of domestic laboratory for his study of the genesis and growth of the self. Hence, even when he was not engaged in the observation of his own self but wished to observe others, he did not need to leave the domestic circle.

Cooley's Methodology


Cooley is noted for his displeasure at the divisions within the sociological community over methodology. He preferred an empirical, observational approach. While he appreciated the use of statistics, he preferred case studies: often using his own children as the subjects on his observation.

Theory on Transportation and the Shift to Sociology


Cooley's first major work, The Theory of Transportation (1894), was in economic theory. This book was notable for its conclusion that towns and cities tend to be located at the confluence of transportation routes - the so-called break in transportation. Cooley soon shifted to broader analysis of the interplay of individual and social processes. In Human Nature and the Social Order (1902) he foreshadowed George Herbert Mead's discussion of the symbolic ground of the self by detailing the way in which social responses affect the emergence of normal social participation. Cooley greatly extended this conception of the "looking-glass self" in his next book, Social Organization (1909), in which he sketched a comprehensive approach to society and its major processes.

Social Organization


The first 60 pages of Social Organization were a sociological antidote to Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud , born Sigismund Schlomo Freud , was an Austrian neurologist who founded the discipline of psychoanalysis...

. In that much-quoted segment Cooley formulated the crucial role of primary groups (family, play groups, and so on) as the source of one's morals, sentiments, and ideals. But the impact of the primary group is so great that individuals cling to primary ideals in more complex associations and even create new primary groupings within formal organizations. Cooley viewed society as a constant experiment in enlarging social experience and in coordinating variety. He therefore analyzed the operation of such complex social forms as formal institutions and social class systems and the subtle controls of public opinion. He concluded that class differences reflect different contributions to society, as well as the phenomena of aggrandizement and exploitation.

Social Process


Cooley's last major work, Social Process (1918), emphasized the non-rational, tentative nature of social organization and the significance of social competition. He interpreted modern difficulties as the clash of primary group values (love, ambition, loyalty) and institutional values (impersonal ideologies such as progress or Protestantism). As societies try to cope with their difficulties, they adjust these two kinds of values to one another as best they can.

Cooley and Social Subjectivity


Cooley's theories were manifested in response to a threefold necessity that had developed within the realm of society. The first of which was the necessity to create an understanding of societal phenomena that highlighted the subjective mental processes of individuals yet realized that these subjective processes were effects and causes of society's processes. The second necessity examined the development of a social dynamic conception that portrayed states of chaos as natural occurrences which could provide opportunities for "adaptive innovation." Finally, a need to manifest publics that were capable of exerting some form of "informed moral control" over current problems and future directions.

In regards to these, aforementioned, dilemmas Cooley responded by stating "society and individual denote not separable phenomena but different aspects of the same thing, for a separate individual is an abstraction unknown to experience, and so likewise is society when regarded as something apart from individuals." From this, he resolved to create a "Mental-Social" Complex of which he would term the "Looking-glass self
Looking glass self
The looking-glass self is a social psychological concept, created by Charles Horton Cooley in 1902 , stating that a person's self grows out of society's interpersonal interactions and the perceptions of others. The term refers to people shaping themselves based on other people's perception, which...

."

The Looking-glass self is created through the imagination of how one's self might be understood by another individual. This would later be termed "Empathic Introspection." This theory applied not only to the individual but to the macro-level economic issues of society and to those macro-sociological conditions which are created over time.

To the economy, Cooley presented a divergent view from the norm, stating that "...even economic institutions could [not] be understood solely as a result of impersonal market forces." With regard to the sociological perspective and its relevancy toward traditions he states that the dissolution of traditions may be positive, thus creating "the sort of virtues, as well as of vices, that we find on the frontier: plain dealing, love of character and force, kindness, hope, hospitality and courage." He believed that Sociology continues to contribute to the "growing efficiency of the intellectual processes that would enlighten the larger public will."

The "Looking Glass Self"


The concept of the "looking glass self" is undoubtedly his most famous, and is known and accepted by most psychologists and sociologists today. It expanded William James
William James
William James was a pioneering American psychologist and philosopher who was trained as a physician. He wrote influential books on the young science of psychology, educational psychology, psychology of religious experience and mysticism, and on the philosophy of pragmatism...

's idea of self to include the capacity of reflection on its own behavior. Other people's views build, change and maintain our self-image; thus, there is an interaction
Interaction
Interaction is a kind of action that occurs as two or more objects have an effect upon one another. The idea of a two-way effect is essential in the concept of interaction, as opposed to a one-way causal effect...

 between how we see ourselves and how others see us.
According to Cooley (1902), in his work "Human Nature and the Social Order", his "looking-glass self
Looking glass self
The looking-glass self is a social psychological concept, created by Charles Horton Cooley in 1902 , stating that a person's self grows out of society's interpersonal interactions and the perceptions of others. The term refers to people shaping themselves based on other people's perception, which...

" involved three steps.

"A self-idea of this sort seems to have three principal elements: the imagination of our appearance to the other person; the imagination of his judgment of that appearance, and some sort of self-feeling, such as pride or mortification." (p. 152)

Cooley's works

  • 1891: The Social Significance of Street Railways, Publications of the American Economic Association 6, 71-73
  • 1894: Competition and Organization, Publications of the Michigan Political Science Association 1, 33-45
  • 1894: The Theory of Transportation, Baltimore: Publications of the American Economic Association 9
  • 1896: Nature versus Nurture' in the Making of Social Careers, Proceedings of the 23rd Conference of Charities and Corrections: 399-405
  • 1897: Genius, Fame and the Comparison of Races, Philadelphia: Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 9, 1-42
  • 1897: The Process of Social Change, Political Science Quarterly 12, 63-81
  • 1899: Personal Competition: Its Place in the Social Order and the Effect upon Individuals; with Some Considerations on Success, Economic Studies 4,
  • 1902: Human Nature and the Social Order, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, revised edn 1922
  • 1902: The Decrease of Rural Population in the Southern Peninsula of Michigan, Publications of the Michigan Political Science Association 4, 28-37
  • 1904: Discussion of Franklin H. Giddings', A Theory of Social Causation, Publications of the American Economic Association, Third Series, 5, 426-431
  • 1907: Social Consciousness, Publications of the American Sociological Society 1, 97-109
  • 1907: Social Consciousness, American Journal of Sociology 12, 675-687 Previously published as above.
  • 1908: A Study of the Early Use of Self-Words by a Child, Psychological Review 15, 339-357
  • 1909: Social Organization: a Study of the Larger Mind, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons
  • 1909: Builder of Democracy, Survey, 210-213
  • 1912: Discussion of Simon Patten's The Background of Economic Theories, Publications of the American Sociological Society 7, 132
  • 1912: Valuation as a Social Process, Psychological Bulletin 9, Also published as part of Social Process
  • 1913: The Institutional Character of Pecuniary Valuation, American Journal of Sociology 18, 543-555. Also published as part of Social Process
  • 1913: The Sphere of Pecuniary Valuation, American Journal of Sociology 19, 188-203. Also published as part of Social Process
  • 1913: The Progress of Pecuniary Valuation, Quarterly Journal of Economics 30, 1-21. Also published as part of Social Process
  • 1916: Builder of Democracy, Survey 36, 116
  • 1917: Social Control in International Relations, Publications of the American Sociological Society 12, 207-216
  • 1918: Social Process, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons
  • 1918: A Primary Culture for Democracy, Publications of the American Sociological Society 13, 1-10
  • 1918: Political Economy and Social Process, Journal of Political Economy
    Journal of Political Economy
    The Journal of Political Economy is an academic journal run by economists at the University of Chicago and published every two months by the University of Chicago Press. The journal publishes articles in both theoretical economics and empirical economics...

     25, 366-374
  • 1921: Reflections Upon the Sociology of Herbert Spencer, American Journal of Sociology 26, 129-145
  • 1924: Now and Then, Journal of Applied Sociology 8, 259-262.
  • 1926: The Roots of Social Knowledge, American Journal of Sociology 32, 59-79.
  • 1926: Heredity or Environment, Journal of Applied Sociology 10, 303-307
  • 1927: Life and the Student, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons
  • 1928: Case Study of Small Institutions as a Method of Research, Publications of the American Sociological Society 22, 123-132
  • 1928: Sumner and Methodology, Sociology and Social Research 12, 303-306
  • 1929: The Life-Study Method as Applied to Rural Social Research, Publications of the American Sociological Society 23, 248-254
  • 1930: The Development of Sociology at Michigan. pp. 3–14 in Sociological Theory and Research, being Selected papers of Charles Horton Cooley, edited by Robert Cooley Angell, New York: Henry Holt
  • 1930: Sociological Theory and Social Research, New York: Henry Holt
  • 1933: Introductory Sociology, with Robert C Angell and Lowell J Carr
    Lowell Julliard Carr
    Lowell Juilliard Carr was an American sociologist, prolific author, and long-time university professor. He is best known for his book Willow Run, which discusses the sociological conditions arising from the wartime increase in the worker population at the Willow Run bomber plant during World War II...

    , New York: Charles Scribner's Sons

Quotations


See also

  • William James
    William James
    William James was a pioneering American psychologist and philosopher who was trained as a physician. He wrote influential books on the young science of psychology, educational psychology, psychology of religious experience and mysticism, and on the philosophy of pragmatism...

  • American Sociological Association
    American Sociological Association
    The American Sociological Association , founded in 1905 as the American Sociological Society , is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the discipline and profession of sociology by serving sociologists in their work and promoting their contributions to serve society.The ASA holds its...

  • Looking-glass self
  • George Herbert Mead
    George Herbert Mead
    George Herbert Mead was an American philosopher, sociologist and psychologist, primarily affiliated with the University of Chicago, where he was one of several distinguished pragmatists. He is regarded as one of the founders of social psychology and the American sociological tradition in general.-...

  • Symbolic Interactionism
    Symbolic interactionism
    Symbolic Interaction, also known as interactionism, is a sociological theory that places emphasis on micro-scale social interaction to provide subjective meaning in human behavior, the social process and pragmatism.-History:...

  • Social Behaviorism

Biography

  • Marshall J. Cohen, Charles Horton Cooley and the Social Self in American Thought, New York: Garland Publishing, Inc. (1982)