Symbolic Interactionism

811 Words 4 Pages
Mass media has been on the rise since the early 1920s, however, most recently has it only began to allow individuals to express their thoughts and ideas more easily. Generally speaking, television is a form of mass media that plays a significant role in reflecting as well as creating cultures. Television allows individuals to be overwhelmed with messages from an abundant amount of different sources leading to the influence on society’s mood as well as attitude. Though it becomes quite obvious that television affects societies as a whole, there is still quite a debate on how much it really contributes into different cultures. To truly understand the study of television and its implications one has to understand the three major ideologies of …show more content…
Symbolic interactionism being first, states that all communication is symbolic and based upon interaction and meaning. In other words, society is composed of symbols that individuals use to communicate with one another as well as develop their own views of the world (Blumer,1969). In the case of television, individuals compare their actions to those of the television stars in hopes to justify their wrong doing or even enhance their feelings of self-worth. As a sociologist looking at the study of television from the perspective of symbolic interactionism, one might ask how individuals might interpret the various symbols portrayed in TV programs or commercial ads that might affect the way in which an individual may act. For instance, during commercial breaks from the not so good program you are probably watching you get a news flash about how terrible cigarette smoking can be and all the negative effects it has on an individual’s health. After the viewing of this same commercial multiple times, you decide that you however are still going to continue smoking because although you are well informed about the harm smoking causes, you are more interested in being viewed with a positive image by your fellow peers. So, the symbolic meaning of smoking overrides that actual facts regarding smoking and risk (Crossman). In regards to the study of television through the …show more content…
Structural functionalism views society as a whole with each part working together. If something is not working correctly and becomes dysfunctional then one can expect social problems which would then eventually lead to social change. Again, in the case of television a sociologist might ask what is being portrayed to keep the society balanced. Is it the clothes that television stars are wearing? The new slang that is being introduced through these programs we watch? What is bringing two completely different individuals together that had nothing in common prior to watching the same show? The answers to the following questions however could be quite complex and require a thorough analysis of the media over time. As a sociologist looking at the case of television from this perspective, ones main focus perhaps might be explaining how television continues to provide stability and internal cohesion within ones culture or

Related Documents

Related Topics