Analyzing Social Behavior: Prostitution

Essay by mpaoneCollege, UndergraduateA+, December 2004

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Prostitution is said to be the world's oldest profession. People say prostitutes are there because of necessity, and some say choice, opinions varies. I am sure that the reason one enters this way of life is different from that of someone looking in on the situation. Most people would probably say that they have a choice to do what they do. And yes, most people do have a choice to some extent. When looking at the following forms of research we will see that the answer to "why" is not always the same for everyone.

Herbert Blumer, originator of the term "symbolic interactionism," had a profound effect on social theory and methodology. A respected critic and devotee of George Herbert Mead, Blumer expounded with fervor on the importance of meaning to the individual as an acting entity, the primacy of direct empirical observation as a methodology, and the centrality of the "definition of the situation" introduced by W.

I. Thomas. John Dewey, a noted Pragmatist, also heavily influenced Blumer's thoughts. This discussion of Blumer's thought will be preceded by a brief overview of both Dewey's and Mead's main ideas, from which Blumer's were largely drawn. The overview of Blumer's contributions will touch on the premises underlying Symbolic Interactionism, follow with an exploration of what Blumer called the "root images" of Symbolic Interactionism, and conclude with a few remarks about Blumer's assertions regarding methodology as it relates to empirical science. Blumer described his discipline as follows: symbolic interactionism is a down-to-earth approach to the scientific study of human group life and human conduct. Its empirical world is the natural world of such group life and conduct. It lodges its problems in this natural world, conducts its studies in it, and derives its interpretations from such naturalistic studies.

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