Subject Sociology Theory of Sociology


Paper on comparison of the evolution of symbolic interaction.
How Blumer and Mead influenced other sociologists.
With sources (list of 10 articles and an outline of the paper)

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The meaning of Symbolic Interactionism

Symbolic interactionism is one of the basic micro-sociological concepts that studies dependence of human action as a result of social interactions which are subject of interpretations. Main methods and ideas of this perspective are a result of multidisciplinary approach of its founder, George Herbert Mead. Initially, he comes from the basic psychological approach in which human behavior is explained as a reaction of an organism on outside stimulants. Perception of human being only in its biological aspect was just initial premise.
Mead and Blumer theory considers humans as self-conscious creators of their own concept of reality who analyze the outside world, and react in relation to perception of situation (Blumer 1969). Later he discusses human behavior through their social interaction with others, and how others effect on perceptions of the outside world, and perceptions of themselves. Social interactionists believe that communication and interaction create the perception of reality. According to Herbert Blumer (1969, p. 2), who coined the term “Symbolic Interactionism”, concept of Symbolic Interactionism lies on three premises: the first is that action or reaction to objects or other human beings depends on perception or interpretation of their meaning.
People have a tendency not to perceive outside world “objectively”, they rather consider the outside world in the context of their own “concepts of reality”. The second premise is that meanings are a product of social interaction (communication in the broadest sense) between individuals. Communication is symbolic because we communicate with language or other symbols (in the era of internet and mass media spectrum of possibilities for communication is almost unlimited). The third is that these meanings are established and modified through the process of interpretation – person is transforming and “using” meaning in relation to context of situation that he is set up with, and his actions and plans.
But, symbols are just not enough in the process of communication. Basic premise is that every participant of interaction has the needed knowledge to understand and realize symbols of others. During the process of communication, people learn to put themselves in position of other, and accept to think like that “other” and view themselves from that perspective....

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