Which Is More Important in Shaping Individual Identity: Social Structure or Social Interaction?

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Social structure and social interaction are the building blocks of present life. The need for people to interact with each other is crucial and has always been the key action to survive and sustain existence. Sociologists now refer to this as socialisation, to establish the important components of living and a person’s social identity. Social structure is more important than social interaction in shaping individual social identity, the reason for this to have more importance in shaping someone’s social identity, is because without social structure there would be no social interaction both are important in discussing macrosociology (social structure) and microsociology (social interaction). Within social structure is class, status and institutions they will be expanded upon later in detail on the way they influence one social identity more then social interaction. Social identity is defined as a person’s acknowledgement of belonging to a certain social category or group where its members possess the same social identification and observe the surroundings with an individual perspective (Hogg & Abrams 1988, p. 7). To better understand social identity, Social structure needs to be explained, it is defined as the framework of society that was already laid out before we were born. Social structure refers to the typical patterns of a group, such as its usual relationships between men and women or students and teachers. The sociological significance of social structure is that it gives us direction to and sets limits on behaviour (Henslin, J. 2010, pp. 76 – 77). Social interaction is a significant part of life in society also a part of an individual’s social identity, it is the different ways that people interact with one another. Culture lays the broadest framework, while social class divides people according to income, education and occupational prestige. Each of us receives ascribed statuses at birth, that are involuntary that are inherited and later achieved...
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