Symbolic Interactionism, By George H. Mead Essay

1057 Words Feb 15th, 2016 5 Pages
The Symbolic Interactionist Perspective, also called Symbolic Interactionism, leads sociologists to think about the symbols and details of everyday life, what these symbols could possibly mean, and how humans interact with each other. It was introduced by the American Philosopher George H. Mead in the 1920s, but the origins of symbolic interactionism traces to Max Weber’s claim that individuals will act according to how they interpret the meaning of their world. Unlike the other perspectives, it focuses on a micro level, where interaction is more important than the social structure of things. According to the theory, people attach meanings to symbols, and then act accordingly. The three main premises are that people act toward things base on the meanings those things have for an individual, the meanings arise out of interaction with others, and these meaning are manipulated through interpretation as people deal with the things they encounter. This theory focuses on how people build social reality. Verbal conversations where words serve as the ‘symbol’ is just one example. The sender, the one who is speaking, has one meaning for the words, while the receiver, the one who is listening, may interpret the words differently. Words are not fixed things; our words have different meanings depending on the context and the way the words are interpreted. Symbolic interactionists think about how people act and then figure out what meanings individuals give their actions and symbols, as…

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