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Kuhn, Manford (1911-1963)

Reef Youngreen

Subject Sociology

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405124331.2007.x


Manford H. Kuhn founded the branch of sociological social psychology referred to as the Iowa School. This branch was labeled as such because Kuhn spent his career at the University of Iowa (called the State University of Iowa upon his appointment). Though Kuhn was trained alongside Herbert Blumer and by George Herbert Mead, Kuhn's epistemological stance differed in fundamental ways from that of his mentors and noteworthy contemporaries. In terms of social psychology, the Chicago School was the social psychological camp of thought associated with Blumer. Its approach emphasized participant observation research in an attempt to understand both groups and individuals by identifying the process of meaning construction and the meanings themselves for the things that comprise their social environments. Unlike the Iowa School, the Chicago School was uninterested in discovering generalizable patterns of human behavior, instead focusing on the subjectivity of the individual actor. The Iowa School inspired a number of outgrowths, such as the work of McCall and Simmons on social roles, and subsequently Stryker's structural theory of social identity. Kuhn's approach, the early core of the Iowa School, put an emphasis on empirical techniques that could be used to investigate and generalize about human interaction and cognition. Among his most influential contributions to social psychology was ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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