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Macrolevel vs. Microlevel. The conflict and functional perspectives have been criticized for focusing primarily on macrolevel analysis. Macrolevel analysis – examines whole societies, large-scale social structures, and systems (instead of looking at dynamics of individuals’ lives)

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macrolevel vs microlevel
Macrolevel vs. Microlevel
  • The conflict and functional perspectives have been criticized for focusing primarily on macrolevel analysis.

Macrolevel analysis – examines whole societies, large-scale social structures, and systems (instead of looking at dynamics of individuals’ lives)

  • Symbolic Interactionism examines people’s day-to-day interactions and their behaviour in groups; this is called microlevel analysis.

Microlevel analysis – focuses on small groups rather than large-scale social structures

symbolic interactionist perspective
Symbolic Interactionist Perspective
  • This perspective is based upon the assumption that society is the sum of the interactions of individuals and groups.
symbolic interactionist perspective3
Symbolic Interactionist Perspective
  • Symbolic interaction occurs when people communicate through the use of symbols.

Symbol – anything that meaningfully represents something else

For example: signs, gestures, written language and shared values

(eg. saluting a nation’s flag may be a sign of patriotism or loyalty, whereas burning that same flag may show contempt)

symbolic interactionist perspective4
Symbolic Interactionist Perspective
  • Some interactionists focus on people’s behaviour, while others focus on the ways in which people impose their behaviour on others.
  • From this perspective, each person’s interpretation or definition of a given situation becomes a subjective reality.
    • Subjective reality – an individual’s take on reality, which is influenced by personal opinion
symbolic interactionist perspective5
Symbolic Interactionist Perspective
  • People generally assume that their subjective reality is the same as that of others; however, this may be incorrect.
  • To interact with others, we define the situation according to our own subjective reality.
  • Because this perspective focuses on the microlevel of society, it helps us to see how individuals interact in their daily lives and interpret their experiences.
symbolic interactionist perspective why does prostitution continue to exist in canadian society
Symbolic Interactionist Perspective - Why does prostitution continue to exist in Canadian society?
  • The symbolic interactionist perspective examines people’s lived experiences to determine such things as why people become prostitutes, whether prostitutes like their work, and why men seek out prostitutes—in short, how people define social realities.
  • People’s actions and behaviour can be understood only by looking at them as individuals.
  • What is important in human relationships is not what an outsider might think is happening, but what the participants believe is going on.
symbolic interactionist perspective why does prostitution continue to exist in canadian society7
Symbolic Interactionist Perspective - Why does prostitution continue to exist in Canadian society?
  • Violating rules of society
  • A means of earning money
  • Clients might be living out a fantasy
  • Being a risk-taker (prostitute and client)
  • To sum up: it is an individual’s right to choose how to earn money as long as it hurts nobody, and it does not involve children. Arguably, society is being dictated to by outdated perceptions of moral right and wrong because it would seem an individual’s morality is different from the social.