Sociological Imagination/ Symbolic Interaction and the Self/ Ethnomethodology/ Reference Groups

Sociological Imagination
the capacity to think systematically about how many things we experience as personal problems are really social issues that are widely shared by others born in a similar time and social location

Social Contexts
The social environments, including economic and cultural conditions that influence people’s lives.

The study of diverse contexts and their impact on individuals

explains the impact of individual and small group interactions on human behavior; contain two theoretical paradigms- symbolic interaction and Ethnomethodology

Theoretical Paradigm
categories of explanation

Symbolic Interactionism
looking at the social patterns that describe how people make meaning through interaction and the use of symbols

something that stands for something else

an individual reflection on one’s own identity and social position

Looking-glass self
idea of Charles Cooley; We see ourselves through the eyes of others OR how others see us

Approach that depicts human interaction as theatrical performances
an approach, pioneered by Erving Goffman, in which social life is analyzed in terms of drama or the stage

Harold Garfinkel’s term for the study of the way people make sense of their everyday surroundings

Purpose of Symbolic Interaction
1) How do we develop a sense of self?
2) How do the opinions and judgments of others shape our identities?

assists in making meaning from situations through methods other than verbal communication or words

basic rules of society that help us know what is and is not appropriate to do in any situation

Harold Garfinkel’s Experiment
sending students out to break social norms (i.e. barter for a candy bar in a 711)

Conversation patterns
saying no without saying no in order to not hurt someone’s feelings

Social Location
the group memberships that people have because of their location in history and society (ex. homeless person is treated differently than a doctor)

Significant Other
George Herbert Mead; individuals close enough to us to have a strong capacity to motivate our behavior

Reference Groups
people we use as a reference to evaluate our own behavior

groups toward which individuals feel a sense of togetherness and share common values

Groups towards which individuals feel a sense of opposition and different values

Primary Groups
Typically small social groups whose relationships are both personal and enduring

Secondary Groups
Typically large social groups formed around some defined task or activity

Generalized other
George Herbert Mead; Social control exercised by common-sense understandings of what is appropriate in a specific time and place

through which we come to understand the expectations and norms of others, groups and the larger culture

Primary Socialization
takes place when an individual is young and socialized an individual to the norms and the generalized other

Secondary Socialization
takes place when an individual has matured and socialized the individual into specific reference groups they encounter during life (i.e. family, church, job)

Anticipatory Socialization
occurs when individuals judge themselves by the norms and values of a reference group

Distinct social category that is set off from others by a set of behavior and roles for the individual to assume (teacher, parent, child, etc)

Ascribed Status:
A status that is given at birth or assumed voluntarily later in life

Achieved Status:
A status that is earned through some degree of personal ability and/or effort

Master Status
The status that matters most to others

Role Sets
norms associated with each role (students respect the teacher, take exams, hang out with friends, show up on time, etc)

Role Strain
when is becomes impossible to do all of the required norms associated with one role

Role conflict
fulfilling the expectations of one of our roles conflicts with meeting the expectations of another

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