The Symbolic Interaction Theory Analysis

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What exactly is religion and what is an institution? Religion can be defined as a “system of beliefs and practices related to sacred things that unites believers into a moral community” (Brinkerhoff 285). An institution “is an enduring social structure that meets basic human needs” (Brinkerhoff 76). Religion creating a huge impact on society and vice-versa, sociologist can view religion in many different perspectives. Considering religion as an institution; how would structural functionalist, conflict theorist, or symbolic theorist view it? The view of the conflict theorist see the world indulged in conflict as well as stress and because of this, change should occur within the society regardless if it is for the best or for the worst. With …show more content…
How do certain symbolic meanings affect the individual that is of that certain religion? This is a question that may be asked by someone who is using Symbolic Interaction Theory to approach religion. The three main assumptions of this theory are that meanings are important, meanings grow out of relationships, and meanings are negotiated between people. The first assumption being how “any behavior, gesture, or word can have multiple interpretations and symbolize many things” (Brinkerhoff 11). An example would be how a cross would represent the crucifixion of Jesus also showing how the meaning toward religious people view it as salvation rather than just an accessory. The second assumption is due to the meaning of something being changed, so might the relation between the individual and a social structure. If the religion demands the abolishing of certain acts, then the individual may change the way he or she acts toward that abolished relationship. One who is part of a religious group and part takes in an action that is shunned by that religion in general may stray away and reshape the individual. An example might be to quit smoking due to the external influences. That person will now not be as inclined to visit a smoker’s lounge as they may have been before certain qualities were implemented. The last and final assumption of this theory is the agreed upon meaning of something between individuals. To avoid extreme disagreements between others, negotiations of meanings and representations are made. An example is the interpretation of a religion in general and how it should be viewed with what the content actually defines. This can be seen on a church level or down to a small family. What to establish as the norms and the fine line between yes & no’s or do’s & do nots. In conclusion

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