SOCI1513 Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: George Herbert Mead, Macrosociology, Symbolic Interactionism

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1 Aug 2016
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Lecture 7
Sociological approaches are differentiated by the level of
analysis.
Macrosociology involves the study of widespread social
processes.
Microsociology involves the study of people at a more
interpersonal level, as in face-to-face interactions.
The macro-level study of widespread social processes has
been the more dominant approach, and has been
practiced since sociology's origins in the founding work of
figures like Emile Durkheim.
Durkheim, for example, studied the large-scale shift from
homogenous traditional societies to industrialized
societies, where each individual played a highly
specialized role.
The tendency toward macrosociology is evident in the
kinds of questions that early sociologists asked: What
holds societies together? How are norms established and
handled by societies? What factors lead to social change,
and what are the results of this change?
Macrosociologists focus on society as a whole, as
something that is prior to, and greater than, the sum of
individual people.
Studying social life on the micro-level is a more recent
development in the history of the field, and was
pioneered by proponents of the symbolic interactionism
perspective, namely George Herbert Mead, Herbert
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