The impressions we give one another even first

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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 reality o Any 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 society Anthony Giddens Was a positivist, however, he also recognizes the contingency and conditionality of social life Positivism : study of social life conducted in hope of discovering and stating general principles that apply across a wide variety of times, places and settings. A product of the European Enlightenment, positivism is the polar opposite of postmodernism, which rejects the notion of finding general narratives Theory of structuration: Giddens, social structure is not a visible, concrete thing, but the result of ongoing performances. Society has rules and we have agency (free will) but we operate within society’s framework. The daily reproduction of social structure is like theatrical production, microscopically changing over time He sets out the principles that serve as guidelines for New Rules of Sociological Method, the fusion approach Criticized for placing an excessive emphasis on individual agency. In Giddens’ view, the

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