George Herbert Mead and Karl Marx: Exploring Consciousness and Community
Current discussions within symbolic interaction point to a concern with (a) returning to Mead's original insights, (b) extending Meadian thought beyond the micro realm, and (c) linking Mead's ideas to constructive social action. These concerns complement an effort within contemporary Marxist literature to provide a systematic social psychology for understanding new forms of domination in capitalist society. In exploring the philosophical foundations of Mead and Marx, the authors identify fundamental similarities in their approaches to the relation between consciousness and community. The authors criticize the current attempts to synthesize Marx and Freud and call for a more thoroughly sociological approach. A Meadian reading of Marx, unlike the Marx‐Freud synthesis, is consistent with sociological assumptions and points to the practical possibility of transformative social change through the interpersonal act.