Symbolic Interaction and Marriage
Marriage is a controversial topic in the world today, and for a variety of reasons. Young marriage, same-sex marriage, re-marriage, lack of marriage; there are a variety of hot topics surrounding the idea of marriage. According to the Oxford University Press dictionary, marriage can be defined as, “the formal union of a man and a woman, typically recognized by law, by which they become husband and wife”. Another definition, according to Sociology Guide.com, says that, “Marriage is one of the universal social institutions established to control and regulate the life of mankind…Its purposes, functions and forms may differ from society to society but it is present everywhere as an institution”. The idea of marriage and the concepts surrounding it are not necessarily universal, so it is beneficial to gain understanding on what makes up all the different constructs of such a significant matter. In order to better understand how ideologies about such a topic are formed, it is helpful to understand sociological perspectives that lay a framework about why individuals think and feel the way they do about certain topics. One sociological theory that may help to explain the different values and understandings of marriage is symbolic interaction. Dolgon and Baker explain that, “the basic element of symbolic interactionism is the individual and his or her own construction of identity that takes place in small groups and organizations” (34). They also go on to say that larger institutions and structures also have importance because of the ways in which people continue to make them important. This basic understanding of symbolic interaction, when applied situationally, can lead to a further understanding of the conflicts and conversations around marriage in modern today.
Symbolic interaction has many factors to it that make it such an applicable theory. Dolgon and Baker explain how people behave based on the situation at hand. They say,...
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