Social interaction
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Social Interaction. Groups, Institutions, & Social Construction of Reality. Group V Institution. Group Composed of specific, identifiable people 2 or more people who interact frequently and share a common identity and a feeling of interdependence

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Social Interaction

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Social interaction

Social Interaction

Groups, Institutions, & Social Construction of Reality


Group v institution

Group V Institution

  • Group

    • Composed of specific, identifiable people

    • 2 or more people who interact frequently and share a common identity and a feeling of interdependence

      • i.e. families, childhood friends, university classes, work & community organizations, society

    • Primary V Secondary group


Group v institution1

Group V Institution

  • Institution

    • A standardized way of doing something

    • A set of organizaed beliefs and rules that establish how a society will attempt to meet its basic social needs:

      • Children are born & socialized, goods & services are produced & distributed, order is preserved

    • i.e. family, religion, education, economy, gov

    • i.e. mass media, sports, science, medicine, military


Group v institution2

Group V Institution

  • Family as a Group

    • “your family” or “my family” = a family (grouping)

  • Family as an Institution

    • Ideologies and standardized patterns of behaviour that organize family life = family (social institution)

    • Certain statuses are organized into relationships

      • (husband-wife, parent-child, brother-sister)


Social institutions

Social Institutions

  • Functionalist view on Social Institutions

    • Social Institutions perform 5 essential tasks

      • Replacing members

      • Teaching new members

      • Producing, distributing, and consuming goods & services

      • Preserving order

      • Providing & maintaining a sense of purpose

    • All societies require these tasks, yet the institutions in each society perform these tasks in different ways depending on their specific cultural values & norms


Social construction of reality

Social Construction of Reality

  • People interpret social interactions in different ways

    • Ethnicity, gender, and social class play a role

    • Varies based on the statuses we occupy and our unique personal experiences

      • i.e. members of the dominant classes regard the poor, unemployed, and working class as less worthy of attention


Social construction of reality1

Social Construction of Reality

  • Symbolic Interactionists believe that there is very little shared reality beyond that which is socially created

  • Social Construction of Reality:

    • The process by which our perception of reality is shaped largely by the subjective meaning that we give to an experience

    • Influences what we “see” and how we respond


Social construction of reality2

Social Construction of Reality

  • We act on reality as we see it

    • “the definition of the situation”

      • We analyze a social context in which we find ourselves, determine what is in our best interest, and adjust our attitudes and actions accordingly.

  • This can produce a self-fulfilling prophecy

    • A false belief or prediction that produces behaviour that makes the originally false belief come true


Social construction of reality3

Social Construction of Reality

  • Reality can be constructed by the dominant group

    • Dominant group members with prestigious statuses may have the ability to establish how other people define “reality”

      • i.e. the media often set the tone for our current opinions about homelessness, teen crime, and what is considered “cool” at the moment via negative or positive news stories


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