In order to understand society, we must look at the day to day interaction and analyze the individual’ s roles, gestures, communication pattern, environment and definitions. “ Symbolic interactionism springs from a concern with language and meaning. ..Symbolic interactionism directs our attention to the detail of interpersonal interaction, and how that detail is used to make sense of what others say and do. ” (Giddens, 2006:22-23) The social researchers make use of the symbolic perspective to understand a social issue, rather than using the functional or conflict perspective. Symbolic interactionism is a major and influential theoretical perspective in many areas of sociology.
It plays a dominant role particularly in micro-sociology and sociological social psychology; as well as family individuals. Figures show that in less than a century, marriages ending in divorce have gone from 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 3 (Yeo & Lovell, 2004). Symbolic interactionists argue that people’ s selves are social products, but that these selves are also creative and purposive. Herbert Blumer (1969), an interpreter and a student of George Herbert Mead; was the one who coined the term ‘ symbolic interactions’ by putting forward an influential summary of the perspective.
Most interactionist research uses the qualitative research method such as participant observation to study aspects of social interaction and/or individual’ s selves. Interactionists mainly focus on the subjective aspect of social life rather than the objective or the macro-structural aspects of social systems. The reason is that the base of their theoretical perspective is on the image of humans rather than the image of society, as done by the functionalists. From the viewpoint of interactionists, the society consists of patterned and organized interactions among individuals.
“ Symbolic Interactionism stresses the exchange of symbols between individuals in social interaction.
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