Theories Of Symbolic Interactionism

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To understand Messner’s study we first need to understand what symbolic interactionism is. Symbolic interactionism is the perspective that people develop and grow by the process of their social interaction. It was developed by George Herbert Mead in the late 1800s to early 1900s. The three core assumptions include that we respond to things in our environment based on their meanings, meanings are not inherent in things; they emerge from social interaction, and shared cultural meanings are continually changing and emerging. This theory argues that humans communicate through symbols of shared meanings. Symbolic interactionists believe society was built off of social interactions; they also argue that the world is a socially constructed reality.
We also need to understand what a value, norm, and symbol is because all three of these things are beginning factors into learning and understanding the subject of sociology. A value is defined as, “a broad idea regarding what is desirable, correct, and good that most
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When the boys first started participating in sports, they thought that the sports teams and competitions were about finding a “kind of closeness” with others in a sense of family within the team. But as the boys grew older the importance with in the sport changed. It became about the success and being on top. To be successful you had to win. One man from Mexico said as he got older he, “noticed that if he played well, was a winner, he would get attention from others (Messner 2012 pg. 145, 146).”Using his basketball camp experience where the older boys cheered loudly or quietly depending on how well the younger boys performed, Messner says that as the boys got older just being friends with others didn’t satisfy the kind of attention and connection they were looking for; that it was being better and beating the other guys-“that is the key to acceptance (Messner 2012 pg.

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