Theories of Sociology: Interactionism

What was Weber interested in?
The meanings and motivations behind social actions when individuals make choices and have free will
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What does Social Action Theory argue?
There are some structures in society but these are made up of individuals carrying out social actions so we must concentrate on these instead.
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What is a social action?
An action carried out by an individual to which a person attaches meaning e.g. a kiss
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What are the three types of social action?
Emotional, Traditional and Rational actions
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How do sociologists understand the subjective meanings attached to action?
Using qualitative methods which will allow them to achieve Verstehen and identify casual explanations
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What is Symbolic Interactionism?
It focuses on the actions and interactions arguing the world consists of symbols that have a culturally defined meaning and appropriate ways of acting
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What does Mead argue in symbolic interactionism?
Animals have instincts that define their actions however, humans rely upon interpreting symbols to shape their meanings. A symbol indicates the response and without symbols there would be no human interactions and society would not exist
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How can sociologists understand the behaviour of others in symbolic interactionism?
By taking on the role of the other we build up a self concept called the looking glass self
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What is Goffma's Dramaturgy?
Goffman draws an analogy with society and drama. He argues we are all actors using props and resting backstage between each performance. Our aim is to present out audience with a convincing performance of the role we have adopted
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Give an example of Symbolic Interactionism
Labelling Theory
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What is Phenomenology?
It emphasis the idea that humans classify and make sense of the world around them as individuals. They come into contact with the world through their sense and its impossible for the external world to exist outside of the experiences of individuals
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How do humans create their own reality?
Humans have to organise sensory experiences into categories and this categorisation is done in a subjective nature so humans cannot be sure of the absolute truth
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Give an example of a phenomenology study
Atkinson's study of suicide looked at how the death got definined as suicide by a coroner rather than the causes or the types of people most likely to commit suicide
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What is the aim of a phenomenology sociologist?
To try and understand how people perceive the world around them as the meaning of any action depends upon its context.
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What does Schutz argue?
There has to be a shared understanding of categorisation
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What is ethnomethodology?
Garfinkel put the ideas of phenomenology into practise and is concerned with the methods used by members to construct, account for and giving meaning to the social world. Society has social order because it is socially constructed
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Give an example of reflexivity
Language and communication allows members to relate to each other and give everyday commonsense interactions some form of meaning and common understanding
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*** ford Garfinkle view the social world?
It is fragile and easily disrupted
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What are breaching experiments?
Garfinkle encouraged his students to demonstrate the nature of social order by disrupting it and challenge their reflexivity by undermining the taken for granted assumptions. Members had to try and attach meaning and make sense of these disruptions
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What did Garfinkle conclude?
His experiments show how the ordinariness of everyday situations is not inevitable but actually an accomplishment of those members who take part and engage in it
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Card 2

Front

What does Social Action Theory argue?

Back

There are some structures in society but these are made up of individuals carrying out social actions so we must concentrate on these instead.

Card 3

Front

What is a social action?

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

What are the three types of social action?

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

How do sociologists understand the subjective meanings attached to action?

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