SOCIOL 135 Lecture 6: Sept. 3, 2014 - The Social Construction of Sexuality

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Jill A.Bakehorn

The Social Construction of Sexuality rd Wednesday September 3 , 2014 1. Symbolic Interactionism 2. The Social Construction of Reality 3. The Power of Naming 4. The Social Construction of Sexuality SYMBOLIC INTERACTIONISM Major sociological paradigm Focuses on the study of facetoface interactions, paying particular attention to how meaning is created Symbolic Interactionists see society as emerging from the infinite transactions of social actors Key figures: George Herbert Mead (1863 1931); philosopher Herbert Blumer (1900 1987); sociologist Symbolic Interactionist Arguments: To fully understand human behavior, we must consider not only what people do, but how they make sense of what they do Meaning is central to human life Social life is an emergent process that is contingent upon how human beings understand their world Three Foundational Ideas: 1. Human beings act toward things on the basis of the meanings that they have for them 2. The meaning of such things is derived from, or arises out of, social interaction o Meanings are the product of social interaction o The meaning of any object, activity, or person is not inherent in that object, activity, or person o Meaning is a social process we are engaging in o Meaning is created by us 3. These meanings are handled in, and modified through, an interpretive process used by the person in dealing with the things [they] encounter
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