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individuals to bring about social change, they also produce social change•Georg Simmel (one forerunner of the interactionist approach): studied the effects of urbanization on people’s lives in cities. He sees the urban lifestyle to be markedly different from rural or small-town life: as relentlessly, supremely alienating, with inhabitants numbing their emotions to cope with the excessive stimulation that city life offers•Shared situational norms: guide the course of interaction•Negotiation: ways in which people try to make sense of one another, ex., by conferring, bargaining, making arrangements, compromising, and reaching agreements. Definitions of the situation typically emerge out of interpersonal negotiations.•The impressions we give one another (even first impressions) have consequences for how people interact with us. •Although interactionists argue that society is dynamic, they recognize that situations physically and socially constrain what people can reasonable do and therefore limit the kind of definitions that are available. This means that although a definition of the situation constrains interaction, it is not rigid. (There may be some defined circumstances under which you may wear a bathing suit to church or a ratty pair of jeans to your girlfriends’ house)Social constructionism approach •Most important thinking to emerge from symbolic interactionism in recent decades •Social constructionism: examines how people interact to create a shared social realityoAny idea, however natural or obvious it may seem, is just an invention of a particular culture or society •Grows out of the symbolic interactionism work of George Herbert Mead: children learn to interact with others by acquiring a shared system of symbols, including language, which allows them to share and negotiate meanings. Shared meanings (including shared symbols) make social interaction possible. Social life is thus the sharing of meaning, the co-operate (social) construction of reality•Berger & Luckmann: all knowledge is created, preserved & spread by social interaction. Our understanding of the world is socially constructed •Goffman: thinks of society as a theatre in which people compose and perform social scripts together. Often, we become the person we pretend to be. It is inside our social roles that we find and express (or hide and protect) our true identity•Meanings are socially imposed and constructed. I.e. a red rose is considered beautiful and romantic, while a daisy is simple, and a cabbage, ugly. These are social constructions, but they are powerful nonetheless. (Would you give your loved one a dozen cabbages on Valentine’s Day?) •The meaning of anything, including a social problem, is the product of the dominant culture & symbolic practices in a group or societyAnthony Giddens•Was a positivist, however, he also recognizes the contingency and conditionality of social life•Positivism