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Record Type: Review   ID: 812

The Methodology of Herbert Blumer: Critical Interpretation and Repair

Baugh, Kenneth, Jr.

 Herbert Blumer was a sociologist and pioneer in developing the theory of symbolic interactionism, which originated in the thought of G.H. Mead and John Dewey, particularly as it applies to research methodology. Unlike the behavioristic schema, which assumes that activity is initiated by reaction to an outer stimulus, symbolic interactionists view activity as beginning with an inner impulse. Blumer was insistent about the necessity, when studying a certain population, of initially spending as much time as is required to be able to understand what motivates the subject population. Only then can the actual research project be designed, and even then, every aspect must be squared with the subject population. This is an approach that may be an important one for studying exceptional human experiences, and rarely has it been attempted. Baugh's book is in four chapters: first he describes and interprets Blumer's methodology, taking into consideration not only what Blumer wrote but what others have written about his work. Next Baugh points out where he thinks Blumer is in error. Then he offers suggestions for how Blumer's position could be revised and improved. Baugh's aim is not simply to review and explicate Blumer's methodology but to interpret it critically and repair it with a view to enhancing its significance.
Publisher Information:New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990. 106p. Bibl: 101-104; Index: 105-106
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