Symbolic interaction approach

HolmanPennsylvania State University- [Most of the research and writing of this paper was done while the first author was a Master of Science candidate at The Pennsylvania State University. A theoretical model of the interrelationships among perception of others, self image, and brand choice is developed in the paper. This paper makes one step in the direction of rectifying that situation by introducing a subset of sociological theory called "symbolic interactionism". When the conceptual frameworks of symbolic interactionism are applied to analysis of brand choices, new insight into this important aspect of consumer behavior issues as a result.

Symbolic interaction approach

The second employee reviews the minutes from the previous meeting and makes a list of potential topics to discuss.

Symbolic interactionism | Define Symbolic interactionism at

The third employee clears his afternoon schedule and spends a few minutes mentally readying himself to receive important information. How could four people interpret a seven-word statement in so many different ways? Symbolic interactionism attempts to explain such differences in message interpretation as it analyzes how people attach various meanings to words and symbols.

Words, objects, people and even oneself can function as symbols. Principles and Assumptions Symbolic interactionism focuses on three main aspects of communication: According to the theory, meaning is not inherent in objects, but is, instead, constructed and modified within different contexts through social interaction.

However, for humans to interact successfully, they must first possess a means of understanding each other.

Symbolic interaction approach

Language, though symbolic in itself, functions as that means. Interactionists also promote the following ideas: Humans are not products of society, but rather the creators of society. They define their environments and shape their own behavior. All of society is a series of interactions.

Therefore, to understand human behavior, social psychologists should make human interaction their main focus of study.

Self-concept is the result of how a person thinks other people view him or her based on the messages he or she receives.

Symbolic Interactionism Theory – Communication Studies

Social roles arise through the symbols people use to describe their environments. Since social interaction is always an ongoing process, roles, self-concept and human relationships remain in constant flux, though the rules and frameworks that govern them may be relatively stable.

Symbolic interactionism differs from other social psychology theories in that it focuses on human thought and interpersonal communication, rather than social systems or institutions, as the catalysts of human behavior. Also, instead of conducting research through surveys and interviews, interactionists prefer to study the face-to-face interactions of individuals.

The Formation and Perception of Self According to interactionists, communication not only determines human behavior, but also personal and social identity, as illustrated by the following process: Step 1 — Humans who wish to communicate create symbolic language to represent their ideas.

Step 2 — Through interaction, people assign specific meanings to the symbols they created. Step 3 — Humans then use symbolic language to describe their situations and environment.

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Step 4 — By defining their surroundings, people create roles for themselves. Roles establish social expectations for behavior.Symbolic interactionism differs from other social psychology theories in that it focuses on human thought and interpersonal communication, rather than social systems or .

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Communication Studies

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Symbolic Interactionism And The Symbolic Interactionist Approach - Required Question: The symbolic interactionist approach is, quite literally, how we interpret the world around us, given the symbols which construct society; essentially, it is how we interpret the meanings of the .

Another criticism of symbolic interactionism is its narrow focus. The paradigm is centered on small sets of people and the micro-interactions they have in everyday life. Micro-interactions take place between one or a few individuals, while macro-interactions take place at a larger scale.

The approach does not place emphasis on global macro-forces .

Symbolic Interaction Theory