Thomas theorem

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The Thomas theorem is a theory of sociology that was created by William Isaac Thomas and Dorothy Swaine Thomas in 1928. It says:

If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences.[1]

This means that how a situation is seen will cause the future actions, not the actual truth. In Erving Goffman's 1956 sociological book The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, he talks a lot about what he calls the definition of the situation, and how it is important that all people see a situation the same.[2] This was based on W. I. Thomas saying, in 1923, that how a person saw situations ("the definition of the situation") would later become part of their personality as they would change how they live their life to be similar to other people.[3]

References[change | change source]

  1. The child in America: Behavior problems and programs. W.I. Thomas and D.S. Thomas. New York: Knopf, 1928: 571–572
  2. Goffman, Erving (1956). The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life.
  3. The Unadjusted Girl. With Cases and Standpoint for Behavioral Analysis. W.I. Thomas. N.Y.: Evanston; London: Harper & Row, 1967: 42