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University of Guelph
SOC 3310
Norman Dubeski

Symbolic Interactionism Symbolic Interactionism- Believes a common set of symbols and understanding is possessed by people in a group. Focuses on a persons interactions with internal thoughts and feelings. Weber-Defined sociology and emphasized verstehen (understanding/subjective meaning). He believed action is social because of the subjective meaning attached to it by the person doing the action. Georg Simmel-Believed human interaction was of interest on an individual level and focuses on individual experiences and decisions. Believed in 2 key concepts: dyad (unstable because if one person leaves the whole disappears) and triad (unstable because they can be a majority rules where two impose their will on the other). Thomas-Created definition of the situation in that people evaluate the situation and then can act and can act differently to the same situation. Believed that if people define the situation as real then they are real in there consequences. Cooley-Developed the looking glass self which is that you understand yourself only through what is reflected back at you by others. Mead-Focused on issues of womens suffrage, labour, education etc. The self is an acting organism, not a passive person that receives and responds to stimuli. It is a social process of interaction. Things are converted to objects only through the act of the individual e.g. tomato. The I is the instinctual response to others or stimuli, the me is the perspectives about yourself that you have learned from others. -Kuhn believes a paradigm is a universally accepted scientific achievement and that people will disregard different findings that disprove the paradigm. Mead says that this disregard or acknowledgement of new discoveries is largely dependent on self-interaction. -Development of self, 3 stages: 1) Preplay at age 2 is meaningless because the child cannot take on the role of the other. 2) Play is in later childhood where they begin to take on the role of the other (me) through role play but cannot connect them. 3) Game stage is where several players act together and each member must anticipate the attitudes, roles and actions of all other players usually in team sports. Lever says that boys play more outdoors and learn of the generalized other better preparing them for life whereas girls learn the particular other of being a wife etc. -A gesture is a significant symbol as it provides a whole act and prompts others to respond to it in the way the gesturer also defines the gesture. Blumer-Coined the term symbolic interactionism in relation to social psychologists. He believed infants have natural impulses but they are disorganized and a child grows and develops as adults organize their unorganized impulses. Blumer followed Mead extensively. -Stimulus interpretation response is that A does an action, B responds according to his interpretation of the action and A respond according to the meaning attached to Bs response. -3 basic premises of symbolic interactionism: 1) Humans act towards things based on the meaning that the thing has for them, 2)Meanings of things comes out of social interaction with others, 3)the meaning of things are handled and modified through an interpretive process used by persons in dealing with things they encounter. -Does not deny the idea of social institutions or social structure but believes they have little to no effect on people. Does not deny structured action, however, this is not the only thing that influences conduct as there are many situations where actions are unstructured or not defined. -Symbolic Interactionism is an inductive theory where you observe and understand your evidence before you make hypothesise and conclusions. -Exploration provides the researcher with knowledge of social life that is unfamiliar to him and to focus the researchers investigation and the research problem in empirical evidence. This happens through observation, journals, newspapers and focus groups of observant individuals in your target population. -Inspection is the process of analyzing the exploration. Hochschild-Created sociology of emotion subfield of sociology. Emotional labour is the management of feeling to create a publically observable facial and bodily display, is sold for a wage and has exchange value. Has 3 characteristics; 1) must have face to face or voice to voice interaction with the public, 2) worker is required to produce a certain emotional state in a person, 3) the employer can exercize a degree of control over the emotional activities of employees. Believed in emotive dissonance where what we feel and what we publically show differ. Nancy Chodorow- believed that boys rejected their relationship with their mother (first emotional relationship) and thus did not develop feminine relational skills whereas the opposite was true for girls. Collins-Defines espistemology as the study of nature of grounds of knowledge with references to its limits and validity. Afrocentric espistemology is 1) concrete experiences as a criteria for meaning, 2) use of dialogue in assessing knowledge claims, 3) the ethic of caring and 4) the ethic of personal accountability. Goffman-Total institution is a place where a large number of people, cut off from the wider society, together lead an enclosed, formally administered life. People in these institutions engage in secondary adjustments which are habitual arrangements and actions that segregate the person and makes them unique in an institution of similars. Individuals act in resisting the pull and residing in the cracks. -Dramaturgy is the idea of analyzing everyday life in theatrical ways. People engage in impression management where individuals guide and control others perceptions of them. Front stage is what most people see, generally function in a fixed way to show one impression and includes furniture, age, gender, clothing and speech patterns etc. It includes anything that is considered important for the performance. Back region is the part that no one sees where people practice impression management and also the point where people can relax and rest. E.g. In a Laundromat (front stage) people try to conceal that things that indicate their backstage (e.g. padded bras and stained clothes etc). When front stage fails and backstage cannot quickly enough correct the fail this can have disastrous results depending on the acceptable time to fix the fail. -The house is a socializing depot for children. Boys and girls are training devices for each other. Genderism is a sex linked individual behavioural practice. -Basic units and structures of interaction process are: 1) persons, 2) contacts, 3)encounters, 4)platform performances (meetings and plays before an audience), 5)celebrative social occasionsCP Blumer-Symbolic interactionism believes people act towards things based on the meaning they have for them, meanings come from social interaction and that these meaning are handled and changed in an interpretive process. -Two views of meaning; the things itself is the meaning of itself or the person viewing the things hold the meaning and applies it to the thing based on psychological response of the person. Symbolic interaction see meaning as coming from interaction. -Culture is norms, rules, actions etc based on what people do (action) and social structure based on status, authority etc is based on how people act to each other. -Symbolic interactionism recognizes social interaction takes place when one responds to the action of another without interpreting it and symbolic interaction is where you interpret before you react. Reflexes is non-symbolic interaction which we engage in often but if we seek to add meaning that is symbolic. -Gestures have specific meanings to the person who does them and to the person who receives it. Gestures indicate to a person what to do, what the person plans to do and the nature of the action they are both in. -Objects can be classified in 3 ways; physical social and abstract (justice). Common objects occur when lots of people give a thing the same meaning. A human being can be an object of his own action. CP Humphreys-We must understand technology as a function and reflection of society. The telephone solved problems of time and space but forced people to create new rules of engagement to change the social world to meet the new technology. -Goffman offers models of normative behaviour in public space
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