Sembolic Interactionism

Topics: Sociology, Social constructionism, Reality Pages: 5 (1609 words) Published: February 12, 2013
Introducing the Symbolic Interactionizm Theory
Before discussing the interactions between self and the social world and terms of “I” and “me”, we should focus on The Theory called Symbolic Interactionism. This is “A theoretical approach in social psychology and sociology, stemming largely from the writings of the US social psychologist George Herbert Mead (1863-1931), in which people are assumed to respond to elements of their environments according to the meanings they attach to those elements, such meanings being created and modified through social interaction involving symbolic communication with other people” (Colman, 2006). According to this approach “people communicate through symbols and either the individual reality or the social reality are created from meaningful interactions among people, interpreted by those symbolic communication; thus the point of view of the person depends on how he/she interprets those symbols. All kinds of realities can be seen as conducted realities. In other words, social reality and human behavior are symbolic and subjective in terms of both form and content” (Budak, 2005).

The evolution of the “self” concept is created by other people in the social life. In other words, other people are like mirrors which bring the concept of “self” to the concept of “reflective self”. According to this, one’s first mirror is the face of mother. The infant perceives its own face through mother’s face. So called self image of the individual is not constant and unchangeable. It’s produced and conducted again and again in the social conduct. So self is emergent (Mead, 1913). Along with socialization self can find many other mirrors in its social surrounding. At the beginning there are only the family members but afterwards the number of the reflection increases. One finds him/herself in the culture not only shaping his/her way of thinking, feeling etc. but also shaped by him/her. As a background, culture takes an important role of self concept; because in everyday life practises, every member of the society produces meanings and also takes actions according to those meanings. As a result, social norms are formed. Social norms are “the rules define the standards which tell members what kind of behavior behaviors can be accepted or not and which the attitudes, beliefs and thoughts seemed to be normal in each society” (Budak). These are the rules that members don’t need to tell each other but they know how to act in their cultural settings. We can call those accepted rules “common sense”. Socialization works as a mediator for new members of the society to learn those behavior settings. The symbolic interactionism can not be discussed without mention the historical processes. The subjective meanings created in a society are affected by the conditions which has caused the conduct of that society. Thus we have to talk about a interdependent relationship and interaction. Social norms are formed in this way and take a role of shaping the lives of the members in their society.
The Social Constructionism
According to the Social Consructionism, there is no certain reality. Reality changes continuously by actors creating new roles and meanings which are social products. Creation of those new roles and meanings are mediated by language and now reality is nothing but social constructed reality. With saying that it seem to be accepted, there is another reality rather than “objective reality” which means that there is only one reality and it is “all about the physical objects, events and powers can be observed, measured and tested in the outer world (Budak, 2005). Opposite to this objective reality understanding, from a social constructionist view, personhood can be described as emergent, contextual, discursive, multiple, relational and mutual (Wetherell and Maybin, 1996).

Two of the theories try to analyze the dialect between “I” and “me”. In psychology there are a lot of terms for referring them,...
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