A Symbolic Interactionism Theory

135 views 5 pages ~ 1205 words
Get a Custom Essay Writer Just For You!

Experts in this subject field are ready to write an original essay following your instructions to the dot!

Hire a Writer

Different concepts, events, or even occurrences are described by many theories. Some of them have been successful and turned out to be real, while others have remained little more than speculations.

This study's objective is to define symbolic interaction theory. This theory, known as symbolic interactionism, is a sociological point of view that was formed around the middle of the 20th century and is still relevant in several fields of the discipline. In social psychology and microsociology, it is particularly crucial. Symbolic interactionism is a product of American pragmatism, specifically the writings of George Herbert Mead. Symbolic interactionism is an American theory that develops from practical considerations and that alludes to people's particular utilization of dialect to make images, normal implications, for deduction and correspondence with others.

According to this theory, italso involves different assumptions. To begin with is the assumption that meaning is created in interaction between people, it can be from different backgrounds or even social class. Communication is the key element in fostering better relationships amongst people, and this is seen through how they interact with each other. And at the end, a bond is created as a result of the interaction. Hence, it is important for people to interact even if not on a daily basis. Another assumption is that an interpretive process modifies meaning. A better interpretation of something brings about a clear understanding of it, thus a meaning is created.

Third, cultural, and social processes have a great influence on people and groups as a whole. Culture can be used to identify a certain group of people, their beliefs and practise, and a way of life generally. In addition, how humans act, is on the fact that, what they truly mean to someone else. This is true, for if someone means something to either a friend or even spouse, their actions will be quite different as opposed to when they mean nothing to them. Moreover, self-concepts provide an important motive for human behaviour. The motive behind a certain mind-set can be created on a basis of having personal ideas towards something; this will highly determine how the individual will react.

According to this theory, people live both in the natural and the symbolic environment. Symbolic interaction is a process that is enlivened the reciprocal meaning and values by aid of the symbols in the mind. Meanings constitute of reciprocal interaction between persons. Objects don't have meaning on their own. But objects get their meanings from the social actors. Consequently symbolic interaction is a process of "interpretation of the action". Dewey, Cooley, Mead, Blumer and several other theorists attribute to this theory. Although all of them explain the certain aspects of human behavior, they all differ among themselves regarding the relative significance of interactionist perspectives. İn this study, which totally depends on literature review, symbolic interaction theory is explained.

Individuals develop self concepts through interaction with others.

Self concepts provide an important motive for behavior.

Social structure is worked out through social interaction.

How it has been applied on behaviours of racism

'Labelling' is a key concept in interractonism- and it is especially relevant to the study of racism.

for example this text shows how the USA bureaucracy labelled and stereotyped people in different ethnic groups - the author then shows the consequences of this labelling process .

CONSTRUCTING "RACE" AND "ETHNICITY" IN AMERICA: CATEGORY-MAKING IN PUBLIC POLICY AND ADMINISTRATION, by Dvora Yanow. Armonk, NY: M.E.Sharpe, 2003. 272pp. Cloth.$73.95. ISBN: 0-7656-0800-6. Paper.$27.95. ISBN: 0-7656-0801-4

An extract from the review of the book (ref below)- highlights the interractionist aspects of that example of racism

Extract from book review:

"(The author examinines) ....the categories deployed by the state within the federal Office of Management and Budget, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, census, local agencies, and even published academic research on policy making. ... .... On the one hand, we learn about the changing nature of these categories-e.g., the Census has articulated race in many categorical terms such as whites (rather constantly), slaves, colored persons, *****, Black, mulatto, quadroon, octoroon, African American, to contemporary mixed categories-the divergent historical technologies by which such categories are "counted," and the imaginations that inform both the conceptual and methodological transformation. On the other hand, we see the curious persistence of belief, arrayed against historical variability, that these categories are "grounded in science, given by nature, fixed, and immutable" (p.x).

Through their very administration, then, Yanow shows how the deployment and measurement of these categories do a form of epistemological and social violence in several ways.

-First, they reify these identities, lumping together divergent histories and social problems under balky phenotypical or linguistic labels (such as "Asian" or "Hispanic") whose very status erases the recognition and significance of political, economic, and family differences.

-Second, they facilitate the official allocation of rewards on the basis of these labels, creating a broadly-based political compulsion to adopt and use these categories-***-identities ... ...

-(Third) ideas of citizenship and entitlements are constructed on the basis of these labels,... ... ... ...

(Finally) these categories organize the forms of knowledge around which administrative power is authorized: they are treated scientifically by administrative institutions and thus produce policy that lends scientific prestige to government, inhibiting democratic reform and reformulation..

Now as an exercise for you to really understand 'interractionism and racism':

Have a go at summarising the key points here to get to grips with how labelling works, and how powerfully it works, in racism.

Note: Pay particular attention to 'categorisation' and its effects.

Source(s): Review by Jonathan Goldberg-Hiller, Department of Political Science, University of Hawai'i at Mānoa http://www.bsos.umd.edu/gvpt/lpbr/subpag...

Social theory provides a lens through which we can analyse the role of trust in health systems. However, the majority of theoretically informed trust literature addresses 'institutional' or 'interpersonal' trust individually, failing to investigate trust as determined by a 'web' of mutually interacting relationships between individuals and social systems. Current theoretical assumptions are also problematic as they fail to recognise the role that social factors (such as socio-economic status, class and age) play in an individual's willingness to trust. Through the analysis and critique of existing social theories of trust, this paper demonstrates a need for further empirical research into the multidimensionality of trusting relationships, while suggesting new directions for research in public health.

Source: Meyer, S., Ward, P., Coveney, J., & Rogers, W.. (2008). Trust in the health system: An analysis and extension of the social theories of Giddens and Luhmann. Health Sociology Review, 17(2), 177-186. Retrieved July 16, 2010, from ProQuest (a database provided at my local library site).

Of course, this may not mean that much to you unless you can access the full article, read through it and refer to some of the sources in the article's bibliography (list of sources referenced in the article)


Herman, N. J. (2003). Symbolic interaction: An introduction to social psychology. Walnut Creek, CA [u.a.: AltaMira [u.a..

Blumer, H. (1986). Symbolic interactionism: Perspective and method. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Griffin, E., Ledbetter, A., Sparks, G. (2015). A First Look at Communication Theory, 9th ed. Boston: McGraw Hill. ISBN: 978-0-07-352392-7

Stryker, S. & K.D. Vryan (2003).The symbolic interactionist frame.Handbook of Social Psycchology, Edt: J.D. Delamater, NewYork: Springer.

March 10, 2023

Science Life Psychology


Scientific Method Work

Number of pages


Number of words




Writer #



Verified writer

LuckyStrike has helped me with my English and grammar as I asked him for editing and proofreading tasks. When I need professional fixing of my papers, I contact my writer. A great writer who will make your writing perfect.

Hire Writer

This sample could have been used by your fellow student... Get your own unique essay on any topic and submit it by the deadline.

Eliminate the stress of Research and Writing!

Hire one of our experts to create a completely original paper even in 3 hours!

Hire a Pro