Introduction To Sociology Sp12 Tuesday/Thursday

Sigmund Freud

By Hannah Giebler

Sigmund Freud was born in 1856 in Freiberg, Moravia. Being the smart and curious man Freud was beginning to be, he had a wide variety of interests in science and the medical field. After getting his medical degree, he moved from level to level within the medical field and then finally became interested enough in studying the mind that he continued in that field for a long time. He then started to create a variety of theories that dealt with the mind.

While looking at his theories, Freud noticed some similarities in what was the main basis of the mental illnesses. He believed that the unconscious traumas of sexuality had a major part in what had caused people to act the way they did. He also believed that most people’s individual personalities were created from their unconscious mind. This belief eventually came to be part of one of Freud’s theories called the Psychoanalytic theory, which he had developed in the 1900s.

This perspective first originated off of Freud’s deep thoughts about the unconscious mind and how it makes people act. Since the era at the time dealt with a lot of sexual repression and male leaders, this impacted the people at the time, which made Freud very interested. These factors influenced Freud’s beliefs, which lead to the idea that people have three separate key items to their personality that impact how they behave in the world.

According to Freud in 1924, the three different levels of the personality are the id, ego, and superego. Each of the three stages are important components when dealing with the unconscious mind.

To start off, the theory begins with a stage called the id. This is the beginning component that deals with all of the individual’s basic needs starting from birth. With the id, the needs are triggered by the pleasure principle so that all the needs of being fed or held have to be satisfied immediately.

The next stage is called the ego, which is what happens when a child figures out that all of their needs can’t be satisfied immediately by others. This is the in-between stage that deals with the state of realization and reality. It goes through three separate parts of the mind: the conscious, preconscious, and unconscious mind. With the ego, all the needs of the id have to be met in a more appropriate manner by weighing all the pros and cons of their desires. For example, your younger sister pulls on your hair really hard. The ego allows one to weigh the consequences and refrain one from turning around and beating the pulp out of your younger sister. This also explains the following quote by Freud, “Where id is, there shall ego be.”

The final stage of this process is called the superego. This is the stage of personality where morality kicks in and one will acquire a feel for what is right and what is wrong. These important feelings are ordinarily based upon whether or not it is accepted from a higher authority; for example, a parent or even a teacher. In conclusion, the superego was made to adjust the urges that come from the id and the ego.



Famous Sociologists (focus on superego)

By Erica Rappard

Sigmund Freud is one of the well known names in sociology and psychology. He was born in 1856 and attended medical school at the University of Vienna from 1873 to 1881. He opened up a private practice for the treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders after studying under German scientist Ernst von Brűcke. Though Freud’s slightly bizarre developments and theories were not always correct, they were very influential to later advances in the fields. He is credited with inventing psychoanalysis, discovering the unconscious, and had an enormous impact on humanities, literature, and art. During his years, Freud focused on the broad aspect of neuroticism, often referred to as anxiety. This includes many other malfunctions and disorders such as obsessive compulsive disorder, depression, and personality disorders like narcissism. Sigmund published several works during his lifetime including: Studies of Hysteria in 1895, Interpretation of Dreams in 1899, The Psychopathy of Everyday Life in 1901, Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality in 1905, Totem and Taboo in 1913, and Beyond the Pleasure Principle in 1920.

In the Interpretation of Dreams, Freud discussed his “topographical model” of the mind. This model was setup to describe the unconscious, the subconscious, and the area between the two referred to as the preconscious. He later revised his first model to the modern theory we know of today including the ego, id, and superego. It is called Freud’s “structural model”. The id is the part of the mind that is run by basic drives and the “pleasure principle” known to seek immediate gratification. It includes all of our repressed emotions and is fully unconscious, meaning we are unaware of its “presence”. Partially balancing out the id is the superego which consists of our moral beliefs and the internalization of parental figures and society itself. Criticisms, exclusions, and inhibitions of the superego make up an individual’s conscience, while its positive objectives and standards represent our idealized self-image. The ego is our “reality principle” and allows us to live in the here and now. It reconciles both the superego and the id. When our ego gets overwhelmed we are faced with the appearance of neurotic anxiety and defense mechanisms.

In further reflection, the superego is extremely crucial to proper thought processes and everyday functioning. It helps us determine the right from wrong, often by unconscious feelings of guilt after we make a less than desirable decision or action. It develops during the first five years of life mostly in response to parental approval and punishment, though it continues to adapt and be influenced during young adulthood by society around us. Malfunctions in the superego, however can cause issues such as “the super-ego trip”. Often times this is seen in an overreaction and shaming of another person because they made a poor choice or mistake. An example would be our indulgent, pompous, morally superior reactions to celebrities acting out. Like a preening peacock we tend to puff up with pride over denouncing any behavior that we feel deserves significantly less attention than it receives. Almost as if we are morally superior because we “know better” and tend to pretend that we don’t make equally immature choices at times or we choose to forget them and avoid them at all costs. Using Freud’s structural model we can see the harsh reality of the situation. The more repressed we are the more prominent the superego is. “Nasty, overreaching super-egos are a sign of psychological weakness, a fear of our own impulses.”

‘The voice of intelligence is soft, but does not die until it has made itself heard.’- Sigmund Freud



Charles Horton Cooley
By: John Clarke


Charles Horton Cooley, son of Thomas and Mary Cooley, was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan on August 17, 1864. As a young man Cooley enrolled at the University of Michigan and upon graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in 1887, he made the decision to continue his education by obtaining a Master’s degree in Engineering in 1891, and a PhD in Sociology in 1894. Today we remember Cooley as one of the great sociologists of history, but if we take a peek into the history books we find that he was so much more.
As a husband to Elsie Jones, and a father of their three children, Charles Cooley started his career as a government worker. First with the Civil Service Commission and later working with the United States Census Bureau for a number of years. He eventually returned to the University of Michigan, but this time as a teacher. He taught political science and economics from 1892-1904, and later converted to teaching sociology from 1904 until his death in 1929. In this way Cooley was able to touch countless lives that would inspire his students to go on to do great things.
As a sociologist Cooley had dozens of great works throughout his career. None of which were more prevalent or more renown then his “looking-glass self” theory explained in his 1909 work labeled Social Organization. In this he sketched his view of society and its major processes through a comprehensive approach. The “looking-glass self” is largely formed by the messages and perception that we get from the others around us, and our own individual interpretation of those messages. The theory consists of three crucial components: (1) envisioning how one’s self appears to others, (2) imagining what others must think about one’s appearance, (3) developing self-feeling, such as pride or shame, from one’s understanding of these perceived judgments by others. In essence these three steps can be more simply broken down. First, we imagine how we appear to other people. Second, we imagine how other people judge the appearance that we think we present. And lastly, if we think the evaluation is favorable, our self-concept is enhanced. On the other hand, if we think the evaluation is unfavorable, our self-concept is diminished. Cooley believed that this concept that our self develops only through the contact of others is even more concretely justified by his famous quote in which he stated, “as social beings we live with our eyes upon our own reflection, but we have no assurance of the tranquility of the waters in which we see it.”
In 1929, at the time of his death, Charles Horton Cooley had lived a full live. As a highly educated man for his time, a husband, father of three children, educator, mentor, and one of greatest sociologists of his time, Cooley passed away leaving himself a legacy that will be remembered for years to come.


by Matt Hankin


Sigmund Freud, born Sigismund Schlomo Freud, was born May 6th, 1886. He was an Austrian neurologist who founded psychoanalysis. As a child, Freud moved from Moravia to Vienna, which is where he would spend most of his life. Freud's family and ancestors were Jewish. He claimed himself as Jewish, although he rejected Judaism. Before enrolling in school, his parents taught him at home. In the beginning, Freud was interested in studying philosophy, but turned away from it to to study in neurological research. After studying at the University of Vienna, he gained attention as a physician. Later in life, Freud claimed that human development occurred in three states that reflect different levels of personality, which work together to create complex human behaviors. The theories of Freud have been labeled as pseudo-scientific and sexist, although they remain influential. Freud has been called one of the three masters of the "school of suspicion", alongside Karl Marx and Friedrich Nietzsche.

The id, ego, and superego all make up who we are as people. The id is the component of personality that includes all the basic biological drives and needs that demand immediate gratification. According to Freud, when a child is born, their personality begins with the id stage. Id is an important stage because this is where, as a newborn, we have our basic needs met. It is where we find the urges for self-gratification, such as being held or changed. Sometimes a child's needs aren't always able to be met instantly. So if parents are always meeting their child's needs, the child may develop and learn to grab things from anywhere just to satisfy his or her needs. According to Freud, the id tries to resolve tension created by the pleasure principle, which is the driving force for immediate gratification, by creating a mental image of the object desired as a way to satisfy the need.

Freud said that the id will always remain with people during their life in the form of psychic energy, which are the urges and desires that account for a person's behavior. In the next few years of a child's life, they will begin to interact more with people and the world, which is when the next stage of personality begins to develop. The ego. The ego the reality-oriented component that understands that people have needs and that being selfish can hurt the others around them. The job of the ego is to meet the needs of the id, while considering the reality of the situation. It looks for the best way possible to meet the needs of the id rather than bringing grief.

The superego, which develops by the age of five, consists of the moral and ethical aspects of the personality. The superego provides guidelines for making judgments. There are two parts to the superego: the ego ideal, which includes the rules and standards for good behavior, and the conscience, which includes information about what is bad and socially unacceptable.

So in conclusion, the id doesn't care about reality or the needs of others. It only knows, and cares for, its own gratification.


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