Theories of Symbolic Interactionism Exchange Theory and Rational Choice Theory

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Theories of Symbolic Interactionism Exchange Theory and Rational Choice Theory This essay will address actions of individuals and the contribution individual actions make to the social structure, how society flows to the actor via the “Me” and is constructed or reconstructed by the “I,” giving the “I” a place in creating society. I will further analyze the theories and explore the impact of norms and values on the decisions by the actors. This analysis will include the concepts and theories of symbolic interactionism, exchange theory and rational choice theory, through the works of Mead, Blau, Homans, and Ritzer. Mead was a pragmatist, and felt that reality does not exist but is created through actions; this demonstrates the need for interactions between the actor and the world. People, base their actions on what they remember being useful to them, and finally people have the ability to interpret the social world and act based upon the meaning of events to them rather than directly to events. (Ritzer 2000). The theory of symbolic interactionism grew from the understanding the mind was not a thing or structure, but was a process of thinking (Ritzer, 2000). This process comprised of three stages, which includes defining objects in the social world, outlining possible modes of conduct and seeing the consequences of alternative actions and elimination of unlikely possibilities allowing a focus on selecting the most optimal course of action (Ritzer, 2000), this process allows the “self” the ability to adjust with interactions with others. (Ritzer, 2000) Mead used the term society to mean the ongoing process that precedes both the mind and self (Ritzer, 2000) Clearly defined by Mead, society represents an organized... ... middle of paper ... ...el or being influenced by the macro level. He fails to look in detail at the influence that the individual or the micro has on the macro. Ritzer’s Major Levels of Social Analysis (2000) does a wonderful job of describing the American society. In looking at the model, area one of the macro would encompass the US government; area two is present cultures and norms. The micros would follow the model of Mead in allowing the individual the ability to make decisions and form or change society. The macros can influence or be influenced by the micros in an open society; this also would allow change to occur from a macro- to- macro or a micro-to-micro interaction. Bibliography: Jeong, Ho-Won. 2000 “Peace and Conflict Studies An introduction,” Burlington USA: Ashgate. Ritzer, George 2000 “Sociological Theory,” Fifth Edition, New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

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