Symbolic interactionism <ul><li>This slideshow provides an accessible understanding of this particular social theory. Use it in conjunction with your text book, not as a replacement for your text book! </li></ul><ul><li>By sociologytwynham.wordpress.com </li></ul>
Symbolic Interactionsim <ul><li>Symbolic interactionists are concerned with explaining social actions in terms of the meanings people give them </li></ul><ul><li>George Herbert Mead founded symbolic interactionism </li></ul>
<ul><li>The essence of symbolic interactionism is that human beings construct their world of meaning as opposed to meanings being innate within the material world around them </li></ul>
<ul><li>What the aforementioned statements means is that for example a chair wasn’t created as a chair. A free-standing seat manufactured with four legs became known as a chair. And so anything that’s symbolises a chair becomes defined as a chair. </li></ul><ul><li>Therefore the symbol creates a specific meaning on an object </li></ul>
<ul><li>Chairs are constructed out various types of materials but remain known as a chair. Moreover chairs are used for other purposes other than standing on but remain known as a chair </li></ul><ul><li>What’s important here is how the symbolic meanings are all shared by members of that society </li></ul>
<ul><li>This shared meaning extends into the social world, because Mead argued people cannot interact without the meanings of symbols being shared by everyone. </li></ul><ul><li>Therefore when people interact people interpret the meanings and intentions of other people. For example overleaf............ </li></ul>
<ul><li>For example if a person observes another smiling, crying, waving, or shaking a fist they will put themselves in that person’s position in order to interpret the intention and meaning </li></ul><ul><li>And on the basis of this interpretation they will decide their appropriate response </li></ul>
<ul><li>Mead argues that by placing themselves in the position of another person they are able to look back on themselves. To do this one must put themselves in the position of others. Therefore the origin of the concept of ‘self’ comes from the ability to adopt the role of another person </li></ul>
<ul><li>Mead goes onto argue that without this ability to be aware of the self people could not direct action or respond to the action of others. </li></ul><ul><li>In this way thought is an inner conversation with the self. By becoming ‘self-conscious’ people can direct their own action thought and deliberation </li></ul>
<ul><li>This sense of self allows individuals to be able to cooperate with each other by being aware of what is expected of them. In this way individuals initiate and direct their own action while at the same time being influenced by the actions and expectations of others </li></ul>
<ul><li>Herbert Blumer extended Mead’s argument by saying that the way people act towards one another is based on an advanced understanding of what is expected of them </li></ul><ul><li>This idea gives room for social institutions to limit the behaviour of people by creating a framework about what is expected (normal) and unexpected (abnormal) behaviour </li></ul>
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