Symbolic Interactionism

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  • Created by: StephKD
  • Created on: 25-09-16 12:06
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  • Symbolic Interactionism
    • Society consists of people interacting, and developing shared meanings.
    • Social order is achieved through using SYMBOLS to understand our social world.
      • MEAD
        • Interpretive phase
          • We see and/or experience something, then have to interpret its meaning, then choose an appropriate response.
        • To interpret others peoples' meanings/ behaviours/ reactions to us, we take on the 'role of the other'.
          • This means putting ourselves in the place of the other person and seeing ourselves as they see us.
            • Through interacting with others we learn this skill.
              • For example, through imitative play, when we take on the role of significant other.
                • For example, people who are close or important to us - playing school and pretending to be teacher.
    • MEAD
      • Interpretive phase
        • We see and/or experience something, then have to interpret its meaning, then choose an appropriate response.
      • To interpret others peoples' meanings/ behaviours/ reactions to us, we take on the 'role of the other'.
        • This means putting ourselves in the place of the other person and seeing ourselves as they see us.
          • Through interacting with others we learn this skill.
            • For example, through imitative play, when we take on the role of significant other.
              • For example, people who are close or important to us - playing school and pretending to be teacher.
    • Blumer
      • Placed Mead's ideas into key principles.
    • LABELLING THEORY
      • Defining things as real
        • If people define/label a situation as 'real' then it will have real consequences
          • If we believe something to be true, then this belief will affect how we act, and this in turn has real consequences for those involved.
            • Self-fulfilling prophecy.
      • Self-fulfilling prophecy.
      • Creating our self concept
        • Cooley
          • Others act as a looking glass to ourselves - we see ourselves mirrored in the way others respond to us.
          • Rosenthal and Jacobson
            • From a disguised IQ test the teachers were told that some of their students could be expected to be 'intellectual bloomers' which were picked at random.
              • At the end of the study, the results of the 'bloomers' significantly improved in terms of their IQ tests (compared to non bloomers).
            • Rosenthal believed than even attitude or mood could positively affect the students when the teacher was made aware of the 'bloomers'. The teacher may pay closer attention to and even treat the child differently.
              • Labelling theory's strength is that it describes how our sense of self is developed through interaction.
        • How labelling impacts upon people.
          • Becker and Lemert.
            • Becker
              • Becker: labelling is a process whereby people progress through different stages (like a career).
            • Lemert
              • Certain labels create a master status.
                • Master status: a status which overrides everything else about us. It is the main feature by which people see us, for example being mentally ill.
                  • These tend to create self-fulfilling prophecy.
      • Dramaturgical model
        • Goffman
          • We are not passive recipients of how others labels us, we actually can manipulate how other see us.
          • Role Distance
            • There is a 'role distance' (gap), between our real self and our roles, like professional actors, we are not really the roles we play.
              • Roles are only loosely scripted by society but we have a great deal of freedom in how we play them.
                • The idea of role distance suggests that we don't always believe in the roles we play and that our performance may be cynical or calculating.
                  • Goffman - appearances are everything and people seek to present themselves to their best advantage.
        • Refers to how we manipulate people's impressions of us, and seek to present a particular image of ourselves to our audience.
          • Impression management
            • Controlling the impression that our performance gives. Constantly studying our audience to see how they are responding, and monitoring and adjusting our performance to present a certain image.
              • As social actors we have many techniques for impression management for example, using props such as dress and makeup.
                • Social interactions are like being in the theatre.
                  • There is a front of 'stage' - where we act out our roles, like a teacher in the classroom.
                  • There is a backstage - where we can step out of a particular role and be ourselves - a teacher being in the staffroom at lunchtime.
    • To understand our social world and achieve social order, we
      • These meanings are usually represented through symbols.
        • We learn the meanings of these symbols through our interactions with others.
    • LANGUAGE
      • These meanings are usually represented through symbols.
        • We learn the meanings of these symbols through our interactions with others.

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