Mead and the International Mind
Abstract

In this paper I analyze the conceptions of internationalism and the international mind that Mead uses in "The Psychological Bases of Internationalism" (1915); in his 1917 Chicago Herald columns defending U.S. entry into the war; in Mind, Self, and Society (1934); and in "National Mindedness and International Mindedness" (1929). I show how the terms "internationalism" and "the international mind" arose within conversations among some Anglo-American thinkers. While Mead employs these terms in his own philosophical and sociological theorizing, he draws their meaning from these conversations and does not generate their meaning from within his own theorizing. This places Mead among the "conservative internationalists" of his time. With this analysis, I then show how Hans Joas's criticisms of Mead's support for the war are misplaced. I also show how Mead's internationalism, correctly understood, cannot support Mitchell Aboulafia's construction of Mead's cosmopolitan self. Throughout, I demonstrate how Mead's discussions of internationalism need to be read in historical context, and are more political than scholars such as Aboulafia and Joas have supposed.


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