Symbolic Interactionism Essay

2300 Words Apr 24th, 2014 10 Pages
Sociology 10
Professor Arkadie
Symbolic Interaction Perspective There are several sociological perspectives including functionalism, conflict, social exchange, and sociological imagination. The one that will be talked about within this paper is called symbolic interaction. Symbolic interaction does not focus on social structure like other sociological perspectives do, symbolic interaction is based on small, mostly person to person ideas and perspectives on what symbols mean between people in cultures, what interaction is like, and how interaction between people can impact or reflect upon society as a whole. (Gingrich) Symbolic interaction is defined as “How people act toward things based on the meaning those things have for them;
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Mead also found that the "self" is made up of two separate sides, the "I" and "me," "The 'me' represents the expectations and attitudes of the 'generalized other'." Conversely, "The 'I' is the response to the 'me,' or the person's individuality" (Crossman). To illustrate the aforementioned concepts of Mead's idea of "self," perhaps one may picture an individual that belongs to social group "A," he or she has adapted to the generalized attitude of that group, unaware of "me" side. If this individual was to step out of group "A" and align himself or herself with the perspective of group "B," he or she would then gain self-consciousness and awareness of the "I."
Symbolic Interaction Theory has been a successful theoretical framework for over several years. Yet, the theory is not without its doubters. Critics note that symbolic interaction discusses how we develop a self-concept, but it does not have much to say about how we evaluate ourselves suggesting that there are important concepts the theory ignores, such as self-esteem and emotional aspect of human communication. Symbolic interaction theorists regard a situation as real if the actors define it as real, despite it being true, it ignores physical reality as well. For example, if a professional athlete and his spouse agreed that if the husband was in excellent physical condition and that he was doing a great job in his team workouts that in fact would be reality for them. Yet, it would not

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