Symbolic Interaction Theory
People act based on symbolic meanings they find within any given situation. We thus interact with the symbols, forming relationships around them. The goals of our interactions with one another are to create shared meaning.
Language is itself a symbolic form, which is used to anchor meanings to the symbols.
Key aspects are:
We act toward others based on the meaning that those other people have for us.
Meaning is created in the interactions we have with other people in sharing our interpretations of symbols.
Meanings are modified through an interpretive process whereby we first internally create meaning, then check it externally and with other people.
We develop our self-concepts through interaction with others.
We are influenced by culture and social processes, such as social norms.
Our social structures are worked out through the social interactions with others.
Pay attention to the symbols within the persuasive context and utilize them. You can place the symbols there. How people interpret them includes how you interpret them.
Pay attention to the symbols within the persuasive context and notice how they are affecting what happens.
Perhaps the most important and enduring sociological perspective from North America has been that of symbolic interactionism. It traces its roots in the pragmatist philosophers such as Peirce, Dewey, Cooley, and Mead. As Plummer notes, "it seeks to unify intelligent thought and logical method with practical actions and appeals to experience" (p. 227). The sociologists who developed and have continued this perspective include Blumer, Becker, Goffman, Denzin, and Hochschild. Some of the characteristics of the symbolic interaction perspective are an emphasis on interactions among people, use of symbols in communication and interaction, interpretation as part of action, self as constructed by others through communication and interaction, and flexible, adjustable social processes. Its concern tends to be the interaction order of daily life and experiences, rather than the structures associated with large scale and relatively fixed social forces and laws.
While the symbolic interaction perspective is sometimes associated with Mead, it was Herbert Blumer (1900-1987) who took Mead’s ideas and developed them into a more systematic sociological approach. Blumer coined the term symbolic interactionism in 1937, keeping this sociological perspective alive through the early 1950s at Chicago, and then in California where he was a professor at the University of Californa in Berkeley. While Holton and Cohen argue that Blumer took only certain ideas from Mead, it was the specific aspects developed by Blumer that formed the basis for later symbolic interaction approaches.
Symbolic Interactionism as thought of by Herbert Blumer, is the process of interaction in the formation of meanings for individuals. Blumer was a devotee of George H. Mead, and was influenced by John Dewey. Dewey insisted that human beings are best understood in relation to their environment (Society for More Creative Speech, 1996). With this as his inspiration, Herbert Blumer outlined Symbolic Interactionism, a study of human group life and conduct.
Blumer came up with three core principles to his theory. They are meaning, language, and thought. These core principles lead to conclusions about the creation of a person's self and socialization into a larger community (Griffin, 1997)
The first core principle of meaning states that humans act toward people and things based upon the meanings that they have given to those people or things. Symbolic Interactionism holds the principal of meaning as central in human behavior.
The second core principle is language. Language gives humans a means by which to negotiate meaning through symbols. Mead's influence on Blumer becomes apparent here because Mead believed that naming assigned meaning, thus naming was the basis for human society and the extent of knowledge. It is by engaging in speech acts with others, symbolic interaction, that humans come to identify meaning, or naming, and develop discourse.
The third core principle is that of thought. Thought modifies each individual's interpretation of symbols. Thought, based-on language, is a mental conversation or dialogue that requires role taking, or imagining different points of view.
Answered By: luckylyndy2 - 2/21/2007