Study Guides (248,454)
Canada (121,562)
Sociology (304)

2S06 Lecture Part III.docx

16 Pages
Unlock Document

David Young

Part III Introductory Issues and Historical Overview • What is Symbolic Interactionist Theory? o Perspective that focuses on how individuals continuously exchange and interpret symbols o Through socialization that individuals learn symbols that are crucial for interaction within a particular culture  Words (verbal or written representations of objects or concepts  Gestures (extending a hand so that it can be shaken)  Facial Expressions (frowning o Must have a shared understanding of these symbols because the shared understanding provides the basis for interaction and to communicate with each other in a meaningful way • The Emergence and Development of Symbolic Interactionist Theory o Traced back to the Chicago school – group of thinkers o The department of Sociology at the University of Chicago was established in 1892, and the department dominatedAmerican sociology into the 1930s o The department played a crucial role in found theAmerican Journal of Sociology as well as theAmerican Sociological Society (ASS) o TheASS later changed its name to theAmerican SociologicalAssociation (ASA) February 13 o The Chicago School in the 1920s and 1930s  Robert Park  W.I Thomas • The situation • There is an objective reality (what actually exists) and a subject reality (what we think exists) • The concept of the definition of the situation indicates that people respond to the subjective meaning a situation has for them rather than to the objective features of the situation • At a party talking to several people that you just met, don’t know them well at all, as the conversation progresses you consider in your mind the idea of telling a politically incorrect joke – size up the people you’re talking to and decide based on how they’ve acted that they will be able to handle the joke – this is your subjective reality • Objective reality might be quite different – possible that some of them are quite conservative and will be offended by your joke  Charles Horton Cooley  George Herbert Mead • Philosopher (not a sociologist) o Decline of the Chicago SchoolAfter the 1930s  As American sociology took on a quantitative focus of study the Chicago school became less relevant due to its focus on symbolic interactionism which involves qualitative sociology  Structural functionalism o The Chicago School in the 1950s  Herbert Blumer • As a student of Mead Blumer tried to carry on his tradition of symbolic interactionism • Blumer coined the term symbolic interactionism in 1937 to describe Mead’s theoretical ideas  Erving Goffman • Referred to as the last major figure of the Chicago School • In 1959 Goffman published his book Presentation of Self in Everyday Life • Dramaturgical Theory • The Continuing Impact of Symbolic Interactionist Theory o Work of Mead and Goffman that has been most influential The Theoretical Ideas of Charles Horton Cooley • The Looking-Glass Self o Explanation  First, we imagine how we appear to others  Second, we imagine what their judgment of the appearance must be  Third, we develop a positive or negative self feeling as a result of our imaging the judgment of others – in this way, we develop a sense of self • Primary Groups o The Family o The Peer Group • Sympathetic Introspection o Involves sociologists putting themselves in the place of the individuals they are studying o Then we are better able to understand the motives behind the behaviour and the meaning of behaviour ABiographical Sketch of George Herbert Mead • Decided to pursue philosophy and the study of ideas • Never finished his PhD • Employment at the University of Michigan o 1891 – ended graduate studies early to accept a position as a lecturer at the University of Michigan (teaching philosophy and psychology) and met John Dewey (philosopher in the department of philosophy) – both interested in helping people o 1893 – Dewey received an offer to become the chair of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Chicago and accepted on the condition tat he could hire Mead • The University of Chicago o 1894 – moved to the University of Chicago and remained there for many years o Became one of the key thinkers of the Chicago school  Difficulty Writing • Never satisfied with what he was writing – perfectionist • Did manage to publish a number of scholarly articles  Exceptional Teaching • Social Psychology course • Liked Mead so much because he was organized and had stimulating ideas • Didn’t have a very strong presentations style because he was quiet and shy  Community Service • Involved in dealing with academic issues connected with education • Later Years o Promoted to full professor in 1907 o 1930 – became chair of the department of Philosophy o 1931 – decided to leave the University of Chicago and go to Colombia University  Conflict emerged between his department and the president of the University of Chicago o Died in 1931 of heart failure at the age of 68 • Impact on Sociology o Abook was published under his name after he died  Published in 1934 Mind, Self, and Society  This book laid the foundation for Symbolic Interactionism The Theoretical Ideas of George Herbert Mead • Society and the Individual o Society (the social whole) provides the context for understanding the individual (one part of the social whole) • TheAct o Four interrelated stages in TheAct o Mead was interested in both lower animals and human beings  Both Act  Interested in providing a comparison between the animal actor and the human actor o Impulse  The actor experiences an immediate stimulation and responds to that stimulation  Hunger • Animal or human may respond immediately and unthinkingly to this stimulation but there is the possibility that animal actor may respond immediately but the human actor has the potential to think about whether acting on that stimulus is appropriate o Perception  The actor searches for objects that relate to the immediate simulation  Capacity to see objects through senses o Manipulation  Once the impulse has manifested itself and relevant objects have been perceived, the next stage involves taking action with regard to the objects o Consummation  This stage involves taking action that satisfies the initial stimulation • The SocialAct o The act involves one actor but the social act involves two or more actors o Gestures  The most basic element in the social act  Gestures are movements of the first organism which act as specific stimuli calling forth the (socially) appropriate responses of the second organism  Non-significant gestures • Self o What is the Self? o The Self an Role Taking o Development of the Self  The Preparatory Stage  The Play Stage  The Game Stage • The Kinds of “Others” o o The Generalized Other • The I and the Me o The self has two distinct aspects o The “I” is the individual subjective part, the “me” is the social objective part of the self o All social experience involves interaction between the I and the Me – the I initiates action, and the Me takes the role of the generalized other o Individual I is regulated and controlled by the social Me o In taking the role of the generalized other the Me is considering things in terms of social norms – Yelling in lecture example o We never do exactly what we want to do because we stop to consider the role of the generalized other – how people in society would view this behaviour • Society o At the most general level, Mead used the tern society to mean the ongoing social process that precedes both mind and self o The larger context in which we can understand individual behaviour and action o More specifically, Mead saw society as the organized set of responses that are reflected in the generalized other and the me o Each one of us carries around society with us because we have internalized the social norms and values of our society – use these social norms to evaluate and control our behaviour The Theoretical Ideas of Erving Goffman • Goffman and Symbolic Interactionist Theory o Goffman referred to the crucial discrepancy between our all too human selves and our socialized selves o Influence of Mead – “I” and the “Me” o Goffman took analysis of the self in a different direction through his book Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, which is where he developed dramaturgical theory • Dramaturgical Theory o Sees social life as a series of dramatic performances which are similar to performances on a theatre stage o Always acting – putting on performances o In these performances people present a certain view on themselves o The actor, the role, the performance, the stage, the script • The Role o Role  The conduct expected of a person occupying a given position  The norms and values of society provide the script for that role o Role Performance  Arole performance refers to the social actors actual conduct when playing a role  The social actor may at times show glimpse of their actual self and not stick entirely to the script o Role Distance  Role distance involves the effort of a social actor to separate himself or herself from a role  The social actor might not fully embrace the role, the social actor may give a performance that is very far outside the expected conduct of the role • The Stage o The Front Stage  An area where the social actor performs a role for the audience  The Setting • Refers to the physical scene where the social actor gives a performance for an audience  The Personal Front • Appearance o Include those items that reveal the social actors status to the audience o Uniform • Manner o Waiter being courteous and attentive o Manifestation of a role and the script that has been laid down by society for that role o The Back Stage  Adjacent to the front stage – cut-off from the front stage  Area where the social actor can step out of the role and not be seen by the audience  Restaurant example – backstage is the kitchen where the waiter retrieves the food o Impression Management  An attempt by individuals to influence the views that others have of them  In the front stage people try to generate a favorable impression when acting with strangers or acquaintances  Job interview  In the backstage people do not try to generate a favourable impression • Because in the back stage we are typically interacting with people who know us o The Self in Dramaturgical Theory  Presentation of Self in Everyday Life • Through this process of impression management individuals try to present a self that is going to be accepted by others • Goffman saw the self as the product of interaction between the social actor and the audience • The social actor gives a performance that reflects a favourable self • The audience interprets that performance, accept or reject the self that is presented • Most performances are successful  Successful Presentations of Self • Two reasons why a performance may be successful o The social actor is going to take measures to try and ensure a smooth performance  Eg. The social actor prepares in advance, tries to select a receptive audience (where possible), and tries to avoid making mistakes in the performance o The audience sometimes has a stake in a successful performance – the audience may assist the social actor in a variety of ways  Eg. By displaying great interest in the performance or by not noticing mistakes in the performance (Date example, if there person (audience member) likes the other) o Criticisms of Dramaturgical Theory  It was argued that Goffman offered a problematic view of people – constantly in the process of manipulating people • Some sociologists contended that Goffman depicted people in a cynical way – they complained that he saw people as conniving and selfish (presenting a favourable view of yourself to get a job, date, etc.) • Presenting people in a negative way – that we are manipulating people  It was argued that Goffman gave insufficient attention to structure • Some sociologists contended that Goffman emphasized agency (personal will and intent in social interaction) and ignored structure (how class, status, and power affect social interaction) Feminist Theory Introductory Issues and Historical Overview • What is Feminist Theory? o Awide ranging system of ideas about social life and human experience developed from a women centered perspective o Feminist theory examines the situations and experiences of women in society o Describes the social world from the viewpoint of women o Differs from most other sociological theories in that it is interdisciplinary  Sociology, psychology, political science, cultural studies • The Historical Development of Feminist Theory o The First Wave of Feminism  1830s to 1920s  Began as an offshoot of the anti-slavery movement and focused on securing political rights for women, especially the right to vote  The Beginnings of Sociology • 1930August Comte coined the term sociology • 1920 Max Weber died • During the first wave, three white European males (Marx, Durkheim, and Weber) set out the classical theoretical ideas that would come to dominate sociology  Some Early Feminists and Sociology • Established a feminist perspective in the discipline of sociology • Their perspective was marginalized as a result of the dominance of the ideas presented by men • Harriet Martineau o Born in 1802 and died in 1876 o Was critical of the contradiction that existed between democratic ideas about equality and the inequality experienced by women o Argued that the “political non-existence” of women was due to their lack of voting right  Didn’t have a political presence o Argued that women had narrow interests in being wives and mother only because of their general exclusion from the political and economic spheres of society  Had no choice – they were excluded from the public sphere o Clearly indicating that the inequality experienced by women is rooted in social structures and practices rather than individual characteristics • Charlotte Perkins Gilman o Born in 1860 and died in 1935 o In her book Women and Economics, which was published in 1898, Gilman developed the concept of “excessive sex distinction” – defined as socially maintained differences between men and women that go beyond the differences dictated by biological reproduction o First conceptualization of the later concept of gender  Securing the Right to Vote • In the US, Canada, various European countries around the beginnings of the 1920s o The Decline of Feminism  Went into decline from the 1920s until the 1960s, there was far less feminist theorizing and activism  After securing the right to vote, feminists had difficulty figuring out how best to use their new political rights to effect further change  Avariety of social crises got in the way of pressing for further social change • These crises were World War I and its aftermath, the Great Depression, World War II, and its aftermath, and the Cold War of the 1950s • The Second Wave of Feminism o The Concept of Gender  Since the 1970s many feminists have distinguished between: • Sex: a biological concept that refers to physical differences between male and females • Gender: a social concept that refers to culturally learned behaviours associated with masculinity and femininity o Males are taught to exhibit behaviours that are socially defined as masculine o Females are taught to exhibit behaviours that are socially defined as feminine o The masculine is associated with power and is valued in society while the feminine is not associated with power and is devalued in society o The Second Wave’s Impact on Sociology  Due to the growth of feminism since the 1960s more and more women have been studying sociology and pursuing careers in sociology • The Third Wave of Feminism o Existed from the 1990s to the present o The term is used to describe feminist ideas that have been developed by women of diverse backgrounds in contrast to the feminist ideas of the first two waves (which were largely developed by middle class, white, heterosexual women) o
More Less

Related notes for SOCIOL 2S06

Log In


Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.