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Mentality is Half of Perception: Guðmundur Finnbogason – Icelandic Pioneer in Sociology

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The current of sociological thought was brought to Iceland from overseas by Guðmundur Finnbogason (1873–1944) at the beginning of the 20th century. That was a full 60 years before sociology entered the curriculum of the University of Iceland. When Finnbogason returned home from his studies abroad soon after 1900, he was influenced strongly by Henri Bergson, William James and pragmatism, and was focusing on the importance of imitation in comprehending the inner minds of other people. What is remarkable nowadays is that these focal points sound like a prologue to the school of symbolic interactionism. His doctoral dissertation on sympathetic comprehension (1911) was written in Danish and subsequently translated into French. The French translation attracted the attention of Jean Piaget, who noted Finnbogason's theories on imitation.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2000

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