Sociological Theory Sociology There Were Several Theories Essay

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Sociological Theory


There were several theories that I found interesting as a part of the course, yet the theory that I connected with most personally was Symbolic Interaction. This theory was established first by George Herbert Mead, who coined the phrase "symbolic interactionism" first. The theory has been present in the field of sociology for several decades, and after the death of Mead, other sociologists took on the theory in their own works, studies, and theories. This theory is one of my favorites for a few reasons, one of which is because I believe I have seen it at work in my own life and in the interactions of others in their lives.

I also agree with the validity of this theory because I feel that it coincides with other theories in other fields, such as psychology. There are psychologists, such as Freudian psychologists and Lacanian psychologists that have theories that are similar or analogous to the sociological theory of symbolic interaction. The similarities I see with such theories in psychology are those that argue about language, behavior and the unconscious. Everything we say and do is an expression of the unconscious, mostly without our conscious knowledge. Every word we speak and every action we take is dense with meanings, including the ones we intend and the ones we do not intend or of which we are unaware. Furthermore, these theories contend that our words and actions are fundamental representations of our identities.

Symbolic interactionism has several points of overlap with other theories in other fields, insofar as everything about us -- words, actions, behaviors, environment, etc. -- is an expression of how we define ourselves and how we define ourselves in relation to others. All of these factors contribute directly to how
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we define and perform our identities, which is something we are doing constantly. We have the power to create our identities through external measures and we cultivate meaning of ourselves and of our worlds according to symbolic interactionism. This is a theory with which I can strongly agree with and feel connected to.

I additionally like the theory of symbolic interactionism because the theory is predicated upon social interaction with others. It is also a theory that posits that people do not directly interact with reality, but that reality is mediated through social definitions, social contexts, and social interactions, and that is what people are reacting and interacting with. The theory proposes that there are multiple realities with which humans exist within: physical reality, social reality, and the reality that is unique to that person because of individual personal history and perception. The fact that we interact with or exist in multiple realities is also interesting to me as I have an interest in fields such as quantum physics/mechanics, in which there is a theory that every choice, outcome, or reality that can exist, does exist, in a parallel reality to the one we occupy now. Thus, for me, symbolic interactionist theory is a theory that I find very intriguing in of itself, and at the same time, I find it interesting that this theory that is a part of sociology also has similarities in other fields, some of which people would think are unrelated, based on some of the basic principles of social interaction.

I think symbolic interactionist theory would be a strong theory to consider in terms of people who are isolated from society, living in marginalized situations or circumstances. These people would, in extreme cases, be quite unable to function and integrate well back into society because they do not interact socially with others. Such persons would have…

Sources Used in Documents:


Sage Publishing. (nd). Chapter 16: Symbolic Interactionist Theories of Identity. Web, Available from: 2013 July 08.

Shott, S. (1979). Emotion and Social Life: A Symbolic Interactionist Analysis. The American Journal of Sociology, 84(6), 1317 -- 1334. 2013 July 08.

Smith, Ronald W. And Bugni, Valerie, "Symbolic interaction theory and architecture" (2006). Faculty Publications (S). Paper 5. Available from: 2013 July 08.

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