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Symbolic Interactionism

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on 5 September 2017

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Transcript of Symbolic Interactionism

George H. Mead
Based on writings of George Herbert Mead
Professor of Philosophy
Most humanizing activity people can engage in: talk (language, gestures)
Herbert Blumer, "Mind, Self, and Society."
Meaning, Language, and Thinking (premises)
Creation of "self" and socialization into society (conclusion)
Interpretive Framework (It's people's interpretations that count).
Theorist(s) Behind the Theory
Humans act toward people or things on the basis of the meanings they assign to those people or things
Meaning is a Social Construction of Reality (1st)
An individual's interpretation of symbols is modified by his or her own thought processes
Inner dialogue= minding
Did any of you read for today?
Take the role of other: do this from a young age
Humanity vs. Animals

Meaning + Language + Thinking = Grasping SELF

Introspection vs. Looking glass self
Our self-concept comes from significant others' judgments
Without language, there is no "self".
Ongoing process of combining "I" with "me".
Thinking: Taking the Role of Other (3rd)
What's your Interpretation?
Disdain for determinism
Humans act due to their interpretation- NOT stimulus

Stimulus----> Response

It's the meaning that matters...
The more a meaning is shared, the harder it is to resist (socialization).
Social Construction of Reality...
Symbolic Interactionism
Meaning is not inherent; Meaning is negotiated.
Sometimes words sound like the thing is describes (ex: crash, snip, moo, quack--onomatopoeia)
Otherwise: no logical connection; words are arbitrary.
Naming is the basis of society; extent of knowing = extent of naming
Oxford Online Dictionary; how many new words added per month?
Examples: selfie, emoji, food baby, fauxhawk, read (throw shade), tea
Not just expression. The way we learn to interpret the world
Meaning Arises out of Language (Interaction) (2nd)
Default Assumptions
Familiar Conception?
A man and his son were in a terrible accident, the man died. The son was rushed into emergency surgery. The doctor walked into the room looked down at the boy and said "I can't operate on this boy, he's my son". How can this be?

Words we use often have default assumptions.
Don't think about mental leap
Hegemony: dominant ideology; upper class worldview (seemingly justified) becomes norm

Symbols can also be nonverbal (class ring, Rolex,
Sorority/ Frat shirts) ...w/out symbolic interaction, there' no meaning
Others' Words Matter
Generalized Other: Composite image based on societal expectations (learning). Mental dialogue.

The "me" is nonexistent at birth; this is developed overtime through interactions

We have significant impact on how others view themselves (self-fulfilling prophecy)
Society and Socialization: Where does "Me" come from?
What meanings would these people assign?
Which is real?
All have
- Social construction takes place via:
- the way others respond to us (Mead)
- the way we respond to others (Levinas)
(ethical echo and face of other)
-Clarification of values
-Fresh insight into people
-Community of agreement
-Reform society
-Aesthetic appeal

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