Social Interaction. The way in which people behave toward and respond to one another in a reciprocal manner. Social Interaction as Part of Social Structure. What do sociologists mean when they use the term social structure? the relatively stable patterns of social interaction that characterize hu
1. Social Structure & Interaction
2. Social Interaction The way in which people behave toward and respond to one another in a reciprocal manner
3. Social Interaction as Part of Social Structure What do sociologists mean when they use the term social structure?
“the relatively stable patterns of social interaction that characterize human social life”
Three levels of social structure:
4. Statuses and Roles Status
Most interaction in social situations is guided by status
Individuals occupy many statuses
5. Statuses and Roles status symbols
Can signify high or low status, unlike the casual use of the term, which generally refers to symbols of high status only.
Lots of expensive jewelry
Missing front teeth
6. Types of Statuses Achieved vs. Ascribed Status
A position gained through an individual’s own efforts or skill; can be positive or negative
Assigned at birth or based on factors outside of an individuals control; cannot be changed
7. Types of Statuses Master Status
Social position that is exceptionally powerful in determining an individual’s identity, often to the point where other statuses are virtually ignored
Can also be negative as in the case of stigmas
Johnnie Cochran - African American Lawyer
Ruth Bader Ginsburg - Female Supreme Court Justice
Can you think of other examples?
Priests, sex offenders, drug dealers
8. Statuses and Roles Role
Norms associated with a particular status
Tell us what to do and what to expect
Role is the dynamic dimension of status.
9. Role Strain vs. Role Conflict Role Strain – difficulty performing all of the elements of the role set connected to a single status – especially likely when role sets are relatively complex
Role Conflict – occurs when the expectation of the roles for one status clash with the roles associated with one or more of the different statuses occupied by the same person
10. Statuses and Roles Compartmentalization
(AKA “role segregation”)
Playing different and conflicting roles at different places in front of different people
The feeling that one is nothing more than the roles he or she plays
11. Statuses and Roles Role Distance
Communicating, verbally or nonverbally, that one is more than his or her role might suggest.
Example: “I may be waiting tables, but I’m really an actress.”
12. Statuses and Roles Role Exit – the process by which people disengage from important social roles
Involves beginning to doubt the ability to continue in a certain role, the decision to leave the role, rebuilding relationships with others according to different roles, and even learning new social skills
Retirement is an important example
13. Nonverbal Communication Communication is a critical part of social interaction
Communication is not exclusive to verbal exchange
Nonverbal communication includes body movements, gestures, and facial expressions
Research estimates that over 90% of the meaning of our messages is communicated nonverbally (Mehrabian)
14. Theoretical Perspectives on Social Interaction Symbolic Interactionism
Focuses on people’s behavior in face-to-face social settings
Herbert Blumer argued that people do not respond directly to the world around them, but to the meaning they bring to it
e.g., I react to the subjective meanings attached to an object not the innate traits of that object
15. Theoretical Perspectives on Social Interaction Social Construction of Reality
The shaping of our perceptions of reality by the subjective meanings we bring to any experience or social interaction
Society and Reality are socially constructed
We can frame a situation in a certain way in order to sell our construction of the reality to others – can be thought of as “spinning” a specific version of reality
16. Theoretical Perspectives on Social Interaction Communication doesn’t simply allow us to share an understanding of reality—it also serves as a means by which we can create reality.
Importance of communication in creating reality seen in the translation of meaning between languages.
KFC’s slogan, “Finger-lickin’ good,” when translated into an equivalent phrase in Chinese, came out as “eat your fingers off.”
17. Theoretical Perspectives on Social Interaction The Thomas Theorem
Situations that are defined as real are real in their consequences.
Reality is “soft” when it is being shaped, but it becomes “hard” in its effects.
18. Theoretical Perspectives on Social Interaction Ethnomethodology
The study of how people socially construct their everyday world and give meaning to their experiences and interactions
Seek to discover the hidden rules in social interaction
When someone asks “How are you doing?”
How do you respond? Do you go into great detail in answering? Why or why not?
19. Theoretical Perspectives on Social Interaction Dramaturgy
Uses the analogy of a theater performance to understand the process of social interaction
Individuals are social actors and we construct our reality through role playing
Social interaction is a cooperative process that requires people to understand and play their roles properly
For example, How do you behave when you enter an elevator? Do you make a point of introducing yourself to other riders? Why or Why not?
20. Factors Affecting the Interaction Process Impression Management
Strategies we use in an interactive setting to provide information and cues that will lend a positive portrayal of self
Your expectations of others lead them to behave in ways that confirm the expectations
21. Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
22. Theoretical Perspectives on Social Interaction Conflict Theory
Those who wield power shape the social construction of reality
Through control over important institutions and the information that is disseminated, elites direct people’s perceptions on issues and situations
Examples: the issue of welfare in America, the War in Iraq
23. Theoretical Perspectives on Social Interaction How would functionalists view social interaction?
What would they focus on?
24. Two interesting examples of social interaction in the United States:
“Civil inattention” – what might also be called “politely ignoring”
What do you say when people ask, “How are you?” Are you honest? Why or why not? Interaction in Everyday Life: Some Examples