Publication 6421

Baert P. & De Schampheleire J. (1988) Autopoiesis, self‐organisation and symbolic interactionism: Some convergences. Kybernetes 17(1): 60–69. Fulltext at
Attention is paid to the similarities between pragmatic philosophy and symbolic interactionism on the one hand, and radical constructive epistemologies on the other. Referring to the work of George Herbert Mead, symbolic interactionism has frequently been designated as a naive and idealistic sociological theory promoting the liberty of the individual by the use of the metaphysically echoing concepts as “the self”, “the I and the Me” and “taking the role of the other”. In reading the work of Mead closely, however, one is struck by the theoretic nature of these concepts which is not always clearly mentioned in symbolic interactionism. Furthermore, the work of Mead treats very similar topics and in a very similar way to the work of present theorists on autopoiesis and auto‐organisation and its origins in the relation between individuals and society. It is the purpose of this paper to suggest the work of Mead as a possible frame of reference for the elaboration of present discussions on the matter.

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