Micro- Perspectives

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Was influenced by Marx. he appreciated that social structures exist but the structure is created by individual action. Durkheim believed that these structures existed indeopendantly of us. Institutions are made up by social actions. Social action should be the focus of sociologyand the results should be available for the public to read. We need to understand the meanings of social actions and why we act the way we do. we need to gain=  1) AKTUELLES VERSTEHEN= observational understanding- we look out the windiow and see somebody smiling we understand and accept that they are happy. 2) ERKLARENDAS VERSTEHEN= observe and question why they are like that- why are they happy?    They believe that sociologists must practive entering other people's lives so they can appreciate and understanding what things are happening. BECKER= we must understand why sociology wants to understand the underdog. It will give a causal explanation. EVAL= we can never be sure that 2) was gained.


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Weber continued

Weber showed how social action and ideas can impact the structure of a society in the porotestant reformation. EVAL= he does expand to tell us that there are different types of action 1) instrumental/ rational action= to work towards a purpose 2) Affectual/ Emotional action= we do things because we love to do it 3) traditional action= doing it because its tradition 4) Value rational action= certain values that affect how we react e.g. alcohol. He does break down actions types but this is only his opnion and some actions can fit into several typologies at once.

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Symbolic Interactionism

It originated in USA. its focus is small scale interaction such as labelling theory.Its a social construction as we create our own society. they reject the positivist methodology as there is no need to be factual and scientific. We will gain more through meaning. they look at how we examine emotion e.g. via facial expression, and how we share meanings e.g. how we know that anyone is angry just by looking at their body language and facial expression. they are also interested in how meanings change when the context is changed. We are constantly working on our interpretation of the world. We have also learnt and adapted the way we react to situations. its called symbolic interactionsim because it focusses on symbols and how we react to them e.g. red in most cultures is stop. They believe we are actors on the stage (world) and recognising what others may think about ourselves.

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Mead 1863- 1931

language is the most important symbol. We aren't genetically programmed to know symbols. We therefore have to learn them and how they change in different contexts. We need this to survive... this is a global phenomena. Also role taking is where we learn to empathise with others. this happens gradually. He is also interested in 'The Self'. there are 2 basic elements; the me= how you define yourself. the i= your self concept. The I is the formed by relations to others and labels others give to you. Our self concept develops during childhood through the play stage, game stage etc. Man creates his social environment and is shaped by it. We are influenced by culture but there is a flexibilty. We like diversity. Society and social roles aren't fixed they are and always will be adaptable.

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Blumer 1910+

Starts with similar material to Mead. Humans act on he basis of meanings which come fromo interactions. Society is a process of interactions. He believes people dont just respond mechanically to social systems like puppets. he rejects the idea that positivists have that you can isolate variables in human behaviour because behaviour is subject to a number of different variables. You can't tell what will affect what.

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Cooley 1922= SImilar views to Mead. He created the Looking Glass of Self. This is where you are continually imagining looking into a mirror and seeing what others see you like. This helps you to change yourself and improve on things you don't like or what others don't like about you.

Goffman 1963- 69= We are actors on a stage presenting ourselves to an audience and we use props to aid us. We then act in a certain way and use certain props in certain situations. when the props are removed and a uniform is put on, the identity is also removed and the individual becomes dehumanised.

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Cicourel and Kitsuse

We are labelled a criminal depending on looks and what we behave like in front of authority figures etc. This also happens in education. If the child looks and acts like they are from a middle class background, then their future prospects were very good e.g. university, lawyer etc. But if the child looked or acted working class then their future prospects were poor e.g. learning a trade etc. The counsellors took the individuals actual intelligence into account just their social class.

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Its not as deterministic as structural theories as it acknowledges that we have power. Yet within interactionism, labelling theory is quite deterministic, stating that once a label is applied= a self fulfilling prophecy. They ignore structural inequalitiese.g. social class. Functionalists say that there are patterns and structures but they are helpful as they keep society together. GOFFMAN= Are we really social actors? With different roles in each context? Is our real self really hidden? Don't we act with far less calculation/ more spontaneity?

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HUSSERL= 1859- 1938= based on philosophy and how we create sense in the world around us. they examine how we classify and categorise the world... which is a product of our mind. SCHUTZ= we share categories with each other. without typifications, social order would become impossible. We have shared 'life world' and we follow the 'recipe' without thinking too much. We all know a red light means stop without thinking too much. We gain understanding that the world goes in without us. BERGER AND LUCKMANN= reality is socially constructed.

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GARFINKEL says like Schitz that there is no such thing as a non- objective reality, we ceate it. meaningsa re potentially unclear. it depends on us using an index "What does this mean in this context?". Indexicality is therefore a potential threat to social order, if we misinterpret it. Reflexivity is when we use common sense knowledge everyday to stop the potential chaos of indexicality occuring. language is vitally important. we share a set of meanings which create a sort of reality. GARFINKEL= conducted an experiment with his own students and were told to breach reality and to act as if they were guests in a posh hotel. The parents got very angry. Social order isn't inevitable but an accomplishment. Social order is participant produced. This proves that we constrcut normality.

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