Teenage Wasteland: Suburbia's Dead End Kids

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Those who study symbolic interactionism also known as interactionists, “focus on the subjective aspects of social life, rather than on objective, macro-structural aspects of social systems.” (Ferguson, 1959: 36). Interactionists focus on a smaller group of people rather than society. Their main focus is how people interact with each other and they pay attention to daily lives of individuals. Symbols are meanings and people use these meanings to decide what to do in their daily lives.
In “Teenage Wasteland: Suburbia’s Dead-End Kids” by Donna Gaines, a group of teenagers commits suicide. Interactionists would look further into what happened and why it happened rather than expanding on it and comparing it to other teenagers in society. For example,
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When teenagers commit suicide, many feel sympathy to those that passed but for some reason, society is not so kind to them because of their social class: “At what point were they identified as outcasts? Was this a labeling process or one of self-selection? What kind of lives did they have?” (Ferguson, 1959: 11). To obtain the information of how the teenagers came to be, interactionists would have to live the life of the teenager and see what they go through. Interactionists would look at the daily lives of the teenagers and wonder what went wrong. Gaines was curious about the teenagers who were living in the same social situations as those who committed suicide and decides to observe other teenager’s lives. She realized that one of the factors that contributed to the teenagers suicide was the fact that the teens had parents that were flops. The teenagers had terrible lives and had immense pressure on their shoulders. Interactionists would observe teenagers the way Gaines did with a micro approach. In the excerpt, “Working at Bazooms: The Intersection of Power, …show more content…
They would see society as a whole and wonder what went wrong for the instability to occur. Is something going on in the world that is causing the suicides? Functionalists would find the bigger picture and observe why most people commit suicide. Observe why society is treating these teenagers as if they were worthless or unimportant to society. In the excerpt, “Working at Bazooms: The Intersection of Power, Gender and Sexuality” by Meika Loe, a functionalist would look at it as if it was a societal norm for a sexist gendered work environment to exist. Women are supposedly supposed to serve men and entertain them. A functionalist would look further on into the power, gender, and sexuality in

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