exam 1 study guide - Micro-Level Theories Symbolic...

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Micro-Level Theories: Symbolic Interactionism-- George H. Mead Said we act towards one another basing our ideas on “significant symbols” Societies are only possible by the use of symbols. Hand gestures Objects Language o Allows humans to communicate, reflect on the past, etc. 2 main points: We use symbols through interaction to form societies. Nothing gets done in society unless it’s done by the people. Behaviorism-- B.F. Skinner Explained all behaviors in terms of stimuli and response. When we are presented with stimuli, our senses trigger our brains to respond. Behavior is modified by rewards and punishments. Many sociologists reject this idea because choices and the use of the mind is missing—we can control our reactions. Rational Choice/Exchange Theories o Benefit = reward-cost/risk We make our own choices based on the cost benefit view/ reason. If the costs are too high, we are less likely to engage in it. This view is often rejected as well because our behaviors can be impulsive. Social Learning Theory-- Albert Bandura How we learn: 1) Internalizing how we are taught by others. o The right and wrong way to do things. 2) Rewards/Punishments—when we do something that people like, we’re rewarded; when we do something that people don’t like, we get punished. 3) Vicarious Learning—we can watch other people and the way they do things and the reactions they get. o We still have to try out the learned behavior because not all of these are going to be the same for everyone. Dramaturgy-- Erving Goffman o Social life in terms of a stage. When we are in front of people act as if we have an audience and we are a character. We have to convince them of our character. Biology and Culture Sociobiology-- Edward Wilson, 1975 o Major premise: Reproducing our genes more efficiently. Organisms don’t reproduce—genes do. Differences in Sexes o Alpha Males Fight off all competitors and then gains sexual access to all the females.
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Sperm is cheap; it’s a constantly renewable resource. Strategy: spread genes far and wide. o Females Eggs are not a renewable resource. Women are born with a high number of eggs, but they disappear over the years. Prime years of fertility: ages 20-24 Strategy: find the one best male, with the best set of genes, which will produce the most viable offspring. Social Interaction World-Openness and Plasticity o We can adapt to almost any environment. o We have the longest maturation time. It takes 15-25 years to reach full physical and mental maturation. o We have to be taught how to survive a social world. Interaction with other human beings is vital, especially for mental and emotional maturation.
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