Social and Symbolic Interactionism

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Social Interactionism

What is Symbolic Interactionism?

A psycological theory that attempts to explain how individuals choose how they will act based on their perceptions of themselves and of others, as well emphasizes the importance of symbols and meaning in human interaction; the view that human behaviour depends on the meanings that object or situations have for the individuals.

Where did Social Interaction originate from?

The phrase symbolic Interaction derived from Herbert Blumer, referring to the distinctive character of interaction between human beings- the fact that "human beings interpret or 'define' each other's action".


Socialization is governed by the following :

Meaning: We act towards people based on the meanings we asign to there.

(ex. Treating father and boyfriend differently)

Language: Criteria for miscommunication, misunderstanding things may have different meanings to different meanings to people.

(ex. 'good friends' may mean something different to two people)

Thought: Individuals speculations and final conclusion following the thought process.

That said, Blumer distinguishes three classes of objects: 1) physical objects; 2) social objects; and 3) abstract objects. The environment in which a person conducts her life can consist only of the objects that have acquired meaning for her. The nature of this environment, on the other hand, is comprised of the content of those meanings. So, two persons living in largely similar physical environs may have subjectively different 'actual' environments.