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In this lesson we discuss about the theory of symbolic interactionaism.

Shalini mishra is teaching live on Unacademy Plus

Shalini mishra
A passionate teacher, NET qualified, UGC NET Qualified. 9 years of teaching experience. Love to give my knowledge to all students in need.

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  2. Thinkerl George Herbert Mead

  3. . The two most important roots of Mead's work, and symbolic interactionism in general, are the philosophy of pragmatism and social (as opposed to psychological) behaviorism (i.e.: Mead was concerned with the stimuli of gestures and social objects with rich meanings rather than bare physical objects which psychological behaviourists considered stimuli) Pragmatism is a wide-ranging philosophical position from which several aspects of Mead's influences can be identified ot

  4. here are four main tenets of pragmatism to pragmatists true reality does not exist "out there" in the real world, it "is actively created as we act in and toward the world." 2) people remember and base their knowledge of the world on what has been useful to them and are likely to alter what no longer "works." people define the social and physical "objects" they encounter in the world according to their use for them Lastly, if we want to understand actors, we must base that understanding on what people actually do 3)

  5. . Three of these ideas are critical to symbolic interactionism: ) 2) 3) the focus on the interaction between the actor and the world a view of both the actor and the world as dynamic processes and not static structures and the actor's ability to interpret the social world

  6. . Thus, to Mead and symbolic interactionists, consciousness is not separated from action and interaction, but is an integral part of both. Symbolic interactionism as a pragmatic philosophy was an antecedent to the philosophy of transactionalism

  7. Social philosophy (behaviorism) e Mead was a very important figure in 2oth century social philosophy. One of his most influential ideas was the emergence of mind and self from the communication process between organisms, discussed in Mind, Self and Society, also known as social behaviorism Mead, like Dewey, developed a more materialist process philosophy that was based upon human action and specifically communicative action. Human activity is, in a pragmatic sense, the criterion of truth, and through human activity meaning is made. Joint activity, including communicative activity, is the means through which our sense of self is constituted

  8. The essence of Mead's social behaviorism is that mind is not a substance located in some transcendent realm nor is it merely a series of events that takes place within the human physiological structure. This approach opposed the traditional view of the mind as separate from the body. The emergence of mind is contingent upon interaction between the human organism and its social environment; it is through participation in the social act of communication that individuals realize their potential for significantly symbolic behavior, that is, thought

  9. For Mead, mind arises out of the social act of communication. Mead's concept of the social act is relevant, not only to his theory of mind, but to all facets of his social philosophy. His theory of "mind, self, and society" is, in effect, a philosophy of the act from the standpoint of a social process involving the interaction of many individuals, just as his theory of knowledge and value is a philosophy of the act from the standpoint of the experiencing individual in interaction with an environment

  10. ction is very important to his social theory and, according to Mead, actions also occur within a communicative process. The initial phase of an act constitutes a gesture. A gesture is a preparatory movement that enables other individuals to become aware of the intentions of the given organism. The rudimentary situation is a conversation of gestures, in which a gesture on the part of the first individual evokes a preparatory movement on the part of the second, and the gesture of the second organism in turn calls out a response in the first person, On this level no communication occurs. Neither organism is aware of the effect of its own gestures upon the other; the gestures are nonsignificant. For communication to take place, each organism must have knowledge of how the other individual will respond to his own ongoing act. Here the gestures are significant symbols

  11. A significant symbol is a kind of gesture that only humans can make o Mead the social psvchologist argued in tune with Durkheim that the individual is a product of an ongoing, preexisting society, or more specificallv, social interaction that is a consequence of a sui eneris societv, The selfarises when the individual ecomes an object to themselves. Mead argued that we are objects first to other people, and secondarily we become objects to ourselves by taking the perspective of other people

  12. "I" and This process is characterized by Mead as the the "Me". The "Me" is the social self and the "T" is the response to the "Me." In other words, the "I" is the response of an individual to the attitudes of others, while the "me" is the organized set of attitudes of others which an individual assumes

  13. Philosophy of science o Mead is a major American philosopher by virtue of being, lohn Dewey, Charles Peirce and William James along with one of the founders of significant contributions to the philosophies of nature, science, and history, to ragmatism He also made hilosophical anthropolo and rocess philosoph Dewey and Alfred North Whitehead is a classic example of a social theorist whose work does not fit easily within conventional disciplinary boundaries. considered Mead a thinker of the first rank, He

  14. far as his work on the philosophy of science, Mead sought to find the psychological origin of science in the efforts of individuals to attain Dower over their environment. The notion of a physical object arises out of manipulatory experience. There is a social relation to inanimate objects, for the organism takes the role of things that it manipulates directly, or that it manipulates indirectly in perception. For example, in taking (introjecting or imitating) the resistant role of a solid object, an individual obtains cognition of what is "inside" nonliving things. Historically, the concept of the physical obiect arose from an animistic conception of the universe.

  15. ay and game and the generalized other e Mead theorized that human beings begin their understanding of the social world through "play" and "game". "Play" comes first in the child's development. The child takes different roles he/she observes in "adult" society, and plays them out to gain an understanding of the different social roles. For instance, he first plays the role of policeman and then the role of thief while playing "Cops and Robbers," and plays the role of doctor and patient when playing "Doctor." As a result of such play, the child learns to become both subject and object and begins to become able to build a self. However, it is a limited self because the child can only take the role of distinct and separate others, they still lack a more general and organized sense of themselves

  16. . In the next stage, the game stage, it is required thata person develop a full sense of self. Whereas in the play stage the child takes on the role of distinct others, in the game stage the child must take the role of everyone else involved in the game. Furthermore, these role:s must have a definite relationship to one another. To illustrate the game stage, Mead gives his famous example of a baseball game:

  17. n the game stage, organization begins and definite personalities start to emerge. Children begin to become able to function in organized groups and most importantly, to determine what they will do within a specific group e Mead calls this the child's first encounter with "the eneralized ", which is one of the main concepts Mead proposes for other understanding the emergence of the (social) self in human beings. "The generalized other" can be thought of as understanding the given activity and the actors' place within the activity from the perspective of all the others engaged in the activity. Through understanding "the generalized other" the individual understands what kind of behavior is expected, appropriate and so on, in different social settings.