Functionalism, Conflict Theory And Symbolic Interactionism

Improved Essays
Society can be characterized as a complex system; a system that can only be understood through the four major theories of society: Functionalism, Conflict Theory, Symbolic Interactionism, and Cultural theory. Two of the major theories that will be discussed are Conflict theory and Symbolic Interactionism. Conflict theory focuses on the different social groups of society and how those groups are in conflict with each other based on the differences in power. Symbolic interactionism, however, focuses on the interaction between people in society through meaningful symbols. Although there are differences in both theories, being that the focal point of conflict theory is power and conflict, and the focal point of symbolic interactionism is the interpretation …show more content…
In his chapter called,”Society as Symbolic Interaction,” Herbert Blumer, a sociologist, stated, "Thus, human interaction is mediated by the use of symbols, by interpretation, or by ascertaining the meaning of one another 's action" (Blumer 1969). Symbolic interactionism suggests that human behavior is the process of stimulus- interpretation- response. Humans do not just simply respond to stimuli, but instead, they interpret it, give it meaning, and then respond. In addition, there are three different levels of society: the macro level, meso-level, and micro-level. Symbolic interactionism has a focus on the micro-level. The micro-level is considered to be, “a small scale encompassing interactions and individuals in society, it looks at the small interactions between individuals” (Hutson 2015c). What makes interaction easier is the concept known as social construction. Social construction is, “the idea that society as a whole give meaning to things, objects, behaviors- everything- in our social world” (Hutson 2015c). Based on the idea of social construction, symbolic interactionism indicates that humans interact with each other through those meanings. Another concept of symbolic interactionism is the self and identity. As stated by G.H. Mead, a sociologist, an …show more content…
A current event being that police brutality against African Americans has been an issue in today’s society. There have been myriads of incidents of the police force brutalizing African Americans. A specific incident that recently occurred was when an eighteen year old African American male, named Michael Brown, was shot by a Caucasian police officer. After this incident, the African American community developed a statement and gesture called, “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot.” Many incidents have followed after this particular incident causing the African American community to rise up and fight against police brutality. A conflict theorist can explain this current event by stating that the police force have ultimate power, whereas the African American community does not. Basically, the police force and the African American community are in conflict with another because the police force abuse their power, and continue to abuse and retain that power. Now, a symbolic interactionist can explain this current event by stating that the statement and gesture, “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot,” is symbolic and has a meaning. Before responding to Michael Brown’s death, the African American community interpreted his death as something that will continue to happen to their people in their community, then they developed, “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot,” giving it meaning, and responded by using the statement and gesture as a way

Related Documents

  • Decent Essays

    According to symbolic interactionists argue that our sense of self comes directly from the evaluations of others and are behavior is shaped by the opinions we get from others. Symbolic interactionism gives a different perspective to sociology which is needed to fully understand a…

    • 492 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Improved Essays

    George Herbert Mead believed that the development of an individual was a social process, as where the meaning that they assigned to things. People change based on their interaction with object, events, ideas, and other people and assign meaning to things in order to decide how to act. Herbert Blumer…

    • 842 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Each of these approaches have different perspectives on how society works and how it can influence the individual in a society. The structural-functional approach focus on the relation between how each part of society cooperate and keeps the society organize. Functionalists think that individual in a society works together and acknowledge each other’s decisions help control the society. In contrast, the social-conflict approach have a more negative outlook on society and its conflicts. The social-conflict approach consists of several different categories, gender-conflict approach, class-conflict, and race-conflict approach.…

    • 926 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Social Imagination is an concept that is used by C. Wright Mills. Sociological Imagination is being able to describe the ability to look at things you do everyday and view it from a different perspective. Some examples of social perspectives are symbolic interactionism, functionalism, and conflict theory. Symbolic interactionism is an mirco, that focuses on face to face interactions. Functionalism is a macro, that focuses on the relationship between different parts of society.…

    • 1019 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Symbolic Interactionism (SI) is a micro level theoretical perspective where the focus of interest is how individuals create, negotiate, modify, or refute meanings between themselves and others (Rohall, Milkie, & Lucas, 2014). Herbert Blumer, the theorist who coined the term “Symbolic Interactionism” established three premises of this theory. The first premise is that meanings emerge from social interaction. During social interaction we undergo a process of intersubjectivity – groups in society create subjective meanings and individuals within this same society internalize these meanings into realities –modifying how we view our world. The second premise is that the actions we take towards objects or a situation are established by the meaning…

    • 721 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Those theories are, the Symbolic Interactionism Theory, the Conflict Theory, and the Functional Analysis Theory. The functional analysis theory focuses on the fact that society is a whole unit composed of various parts. It recognizes that each part has a specific function. The conflict theory views society as a constant competition for scarce resources. Finally, the symbolic interactionism theory focuses on how an individual uses symbols to understand and communicate.These theories are based off of social status, interaction…

    • 1030 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Sociology 1301 Courtney Baldwin Sociological Theories: Compare and Contrast The Structural-Functional theory definition: “Functionalism addresses the society as a whole in terms of function of its constituent elements such as norms, customs, traditions, and institutions.”(Subedi) The structural-functional theory looks at society as many different parts and how they work together to form a stable society; it is a macro-level oriented theory. One important component of the structural-functional approach is the idea of social structure. Social structure is patterns of social behavior. Using these patterns, functionalist can see how they bring people together. Augustus Comte, Emile Durkheim, and Herbert Spencer were all sociologists who used the structural-functional approach.…

    • 877 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Today, police officers use deadly, excessive force that leads to inexcusable assaults, beatings and shootings. These violations are seen nationwide to the minority community and are committed by various police officers that fail to receive punishment for their action which caused the forming of riots and starting of campaigns just like the Black Panthers back in 1996. In 2012, a group called the Black Lives Matter movement was formed. This group was created by Patrisse Cullors, Opal Tometi, and Alicia Garza. The objective of this movement is to create an America where they feel that black people aren’t systematically and intentionally targeted due to race.…

    • 1212 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Police Brutality Essay

    • 2251 Words
    • 10 Pages

    Since the establishment of slavery years ago, the treatment of black minorities has been unrighteous and unfair. The topic of police brutality has come to light in recent years, but it 's always been an issue. With the establishment of organizations like the Black Lives Matter group, people are paying more attention to the facts that surround the shootings of black men by white cops. America is finally opening it 's eyes to the shield it 's fronted to this topic, and people are ready to start talking about the changes that need to be made. Countless numbers of police shootings of unarmed black males have gone mainstream in the media, creating a surge of unrest and distrust for the people men and women should trust most...police officers.…

    • 2251 Words
    • 10 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    By definition, Symbolic Interactionism a theoretical perspective in which society is viewed as a composed of symbols that shared accordantly meaning that would influence the humans’ behavior interaction between one to another; It is a face-to-face interaction. Functional Analysis interpret the interrelated parts of society are functional, in which they view this society as a whole unit that composed various parts work together. The Conflict Theory developed by Karl Marx view society as composed of elite is dominant and control the poor or…

    • 736 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays

Related Topics