SOC 2700 Chapter Notes - Chapter 4: Operant Conditioning, Ethnomethodology, Ingroups And Outgroups

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Chapter 6, Contemporary Theories of Everyday Life
Symbolic Interactionism
Focus is on every day life
Interactions and the symbols (and their meanings) that are deeply implicated in it
People act towards things, but they do so on the basis on the meanings those
things have for them
These meanings stem from our interactions with other people
People do not simply internalize the meanings that they learn through social
interaction, but they are also able to modify them through an interpretive process
People, in contrast with their animals, are unique in their ability to use and rely on
symbols
People become human through social interaction, especially in the early years
with family members and then in school
People are conscious, capable of reflecting on themselves and what they do, and
therefore capable of shaping their actions and interactions
People have purpose when they act in and well as towards any situations
We can see society as consisting of people engaging in social interaction
Looking glass self
o The idea that we form our sense of ourselves by using others and their
reactions to us, as mirrors to assess who we are and how we are doing.
Primary group
o An intimate face to face group that plays a crucial role in linking the
individual to the larger society
Sympathetic Introspection
o The methodology of putting oneself in the minds of those being studied
Dramaturgy
Goffman focused on Dramaturgy, or a view of social life as a series of dramatic
performances akin ot those performed in theatre
The self is a sense of who one is that is a dramatic effect emerging from the
immediate scene being presented
Because the self is a product of dramatic interaction, it is vulnerable to disruption
during ones performance
Much of Goffman’s dramaturgy is concerned with the process by which such
disturbances are prevented or dealt with.
Goffman assumed that when individuals interact, they want to present a certain
sense of self that will be accepted by others
This is characterized as “impression management”
o The techniques an actor uses to maintain certain impressions in the face of
problems they are likely to encounter and the methods they use to cope
with these problems
Front Stage
o Part of the performance that generally functions in rather fixed and general
ways to define the situation for those who observe the performance
Setting
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Document Summary

People act towards things, but they do so on the basis on the meanings those. Interactions and the symbols (and their meanings) that are deeply implicated in it things have for them. These meanings stem from our interactions with other people. People do not simply internalize the meanings that they learn through social interaction, but they are also able to modify them through an interpretive process. People, in contrast with their animals, are unique in their ability to use and rely on symbols. People become human through social interaction, especially in the early years with family members and then in school. People are conscious, capable of reflecting on themselves and what they do, and therefore capable of shaping their actions and interactions. People have purpose when they act in and well as towards any situations. We can see society as consisting of people engaging in social interaction.

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