Symbolic Interactionism and Geertz’ Deep Play
Symbolic interaction, one of the three main perspectives of the social sciences of Anthropology and Sociology, was thought to be first conceived by Max Weber and George Herbert Mead as they both emphasized the subjective meaning of human behavior, the social process, and the humanistic way of viewing of Anthropology and Sociology. As human behavior and socialization were observed, Mead discovered that behavior may be either overt, meaning observable, or covert, the underlying meaning that behaviors tend to imply. Symbolic interaction was further developed and basic principles and assumptions were established. The basic assumptions of Symbolic Interactionism are 1) beliefs, however intelligible, become comprehensible when understood as part of a cultural system of meaning, 2) actions are guided by interpretation, allowing symbolism to aid in interpreting ideal as well as material activities, and 3) culture is an independent system of meaning deciphered by interpreting key symbols and rituals. According to studies done by Rose in 1962, Blumer in 1969 and the collaboration of Manis and Meltzer in 1978, the basic principles are as follows: 1. Human beings, unlike lower animals, are endowed with the capacity for thought. 2. The capacity for thought is shaped by social interaction. 3. In social interaction, people learn the meanings and symbols that allow them to exercise their distinctively human capacity for thought. 4. Meanings and symbols allow people to carry on distinctively human action and interaction. 5. People are able to modify or alter the meanings and symbols that they use in action and interaction on the basis of their interpretation of the situation. 6. People are able to make these modifications and alterations because, in part, of their ability to interact with themselves, which allows them to examine possible course of action, assess their relative advantages and...
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