Those who read the most famous books of Charles Wright Mills (The white collar, The sociological Imagination, etc) cannot but be surprised by falling on his youth texts, published during the second world war. Because before becoming a renowned sociologist, thanks to works who joined a broad audience, Charles Wright Mills produced a few texts very different, both in form and in substance. Charles Wright Mills of maturity became known by texts involved, written in a biting language, focused on criticism of inequalities and dominations. The texts of the young Charles Wright Mills, very dense, were full of sociological jargon which he criticized fiercely later (Mills, 1977, pp. 27 – 36, 221-225). On the bottom, these texts were much more basic sociological issues such as the identification of the “” mechanisms”linking thought and societal forms” (Mills, 1939, p. 676).
“Situated actions and vocabularies of reasons”, without a doubt the most important of these texts of his youth, has become a kind of classic. When it appears, Charles Wright Mills’s still only 24. As bold as clumsy, this text short, heavily cited, has fertilized a whole series of further work on the practice that it has brought up for discussion: the attribution of motives to actions 1. If the text is full of eclectic references, it is above all indebted to the work of John Dewey and George Herbert Mead. The reading of these was the match that fed his reflection, allowing him to develop a theory innovative ‘vocabularies of grounds’, distinct designs of the then predominant motivations (especially that of Sigmund Freud). To present this theory, its origins and its limits, I discuss here “Stocks located” like a line addressed to John Dewey, George Herbert Mead, and Sigmund Freud.
Mentalist and emerging of the human spirit designs
John Dewey and George Herbert Mead had developed against the Mentalist of the human spirit design, a rival design called ecological or emerging.
According to the Mentalist theory (Charles Wright Mills calls it “wundtienne” or “inferential”), the phenomena of mental life (thoughts, desires, emotions, etc.) appear in a sort of ‘internal’, enclosed environment, accessible only to the inner eye of consciousness. Psychic life would be essentially private, accessible to its sole carrier. I don’t know the inner life other than through inference, assuming that their outwardly noticeable actions with their inner life a relationship similar to that between my own actions to my States interiors, ones I could observe directly in me. “Each of us, from this perspective, would be locked in the cell of his own conscience, and knowing that others are enclosed in the same way, would seek ways to communicate with them” (Mead, 2006, p. 100). Note that this way everyone would be to immediately in a position to witness for itself.
Desire, appearing in this inner space is designed as the first (Dewey, 2011, p. 151). He would be known by an inner observation carried out before any exchange with others. One who admits a desire to others would therefore do nothing else that inform him of this observation results. Practice which is to assign a desire to its action would not have so not creative dimension. According to the Mentalist design language is simply “function to forward comments and ideas that pre-exist him independently; the language would express “thinking like a pipe made water flow, and in a way that does not even produce the kind of transformation that characterizes a press when he”expresses”the juice of the vine” (Dewey, 2012, p. 163).
Against the Mentalist perspective, John Dewey insists on the fact that the human body does not live to start a theoretical relationship with self. An environment “is, in the first place, the theatre of the actions and the consequences during the interaction; It’s that second that parts and aspects of the environment become objects of knowledge”(Dewey, 1993, p. 221). Desire, not a domestic phenomenon that precedes the action is “an active relationship of the organism to its environment” (Dewey, 2011, p. 92). And the organization who performs an action in this environment does not have to immediately consciousness of desire that drives him (Tiles, 1988, pp. 86-92;) Dewey, 2011, pp. 118-119). The attention of one who seizes an Apple is headed on this one, not on the desire that there.
The expression of the desire by his performance in the action, on the other hand, exists for the witness of it (Dewey, 2012, p. 169;) Dewey, 2011, p. 79). This witness may also be worn to assume that the author of the action, like him, has developed some thought, that this action implies a deliberation, that it stems from a plan (by projecting so on this author’s perspective of witness, he) draft a Mentalist perspective of desire [Tiles, 1988, p. 43]).
The situation changes when the author of the action means for the first time a witness give a desire.
“Our life begins under the influence of appetites, impulses and direct response to immediate stimuli that are heat and cold, comfort and pain, light, noise, etc. The hungry child grabs the food. Is he an innocent and natural Act. But it attracted the criticism: it is told that he is ill-mannered, that lack of respect, is greedy; that he should wait for his turn to be served. “It makes him aware that his act has other connections than the one he has assigned to him: the immediate gratification of hunger” (Dewey & Tufts, 1932, p. 179).
The allocation of the child action pattern directs the attention on the consequences of the realization of his desire. What is early, is the strengthening of a type of conduct, of a character, which could later lead to other acts. The allocation of the pattern allows to “become aware that our actions are connected to each other; by the same token, an ideal of driving is substituted to carry out blind and devoid of thought of isolated acts”(Dewey & Tufts, 1932, p. 179).
This attribution has practical consequences. By assigning these reasons “his action deprecated, we encourage it to hold back” (Dewey, 1930, p. 120). The attribution of motives is “a refinement of the common reactions of praise and blame”, “the result of the attempts of people to influence human action, first that of others, then his” (Dewey, 1930, pp. 121 and 119).
Eventually, the child, even alone, begins to spontaneously from the perspective of a witness. He can now admit his desires. The words he utters then reach not only the ears of his interlocutor, but also to his (Mead, 2006, p. 147). Through this shared understanding built through dialogue, the social partners can develop a common response to the troubled, uncertain, situations in which arises a conflict between different pulses (Dewey, 2011, p. 118). This practice therefore opens the doors to increased coordination. The attribution of a desire for action allows to “weighing several alternative desires” (Dewey, 2011, p. 106), by comparing the consequences of their achievements. This is allowing representatives to decide for one or the other (Dewey, 2011, pp. 120-121). Uncertainty encountered may be overcome almost.
One who confronts his desire in this discussion turns. A still vague impulse, which would gradually develop features defined in the course of completion, becomes, thanks to the anticipation of the consequences of its implementation, a thoughtful determined features plan: this is a “pass”. initial, relatively rash impulses, and compelling desires habits and interests taking into account the results of a critical survey”(Dewey, 2011, p. 114).
Thus, it is the conversation between social partners to which the child is introduced which develops home available to anticipate, in some situations, the consequences of different desires. This child eventually manages to make this anticipation, alone in a silent monologue born dialogue aloud. The Mentalist position treats the relationship with self created this dialogue as a first given. In reality, it is a product. “He who engaged in introspection, believes so accessing a field of events entirely private, distinct from other events, their mental nature, doesn’t that focus his attention on his own soliloquy. The soliloquy is the product and the reaction of his conversation with others, social communication and not an effect of itself”(Dewey, 2012, p. 163). The idea of an individual whose relationship with self above communication with others, the emerging approach against the idea that this report is born of this communication (Mead, 2006, p. 138).