Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Sending a message about symbolic interaction...

This American Life episode 475: Send a Message had three stories that can help understand symbolic interaction.  Act 1 (about 8min into the show) is about a family that sees special meaning in a pair of knitted pants and a knitted dress.  Everyone in the family is affected by these items both physically and emotionally.  Are there items or actions that hold significance to you or your family?  Maybe it's who gets to carve the Turkey or who sits in a special chair or who gets to choose a show on tv?  This is just one family, but can you think about how certain items might might affect larger groups of people?  That is symbolic interaction.

Act 2 is about the symbolism of New York and what that means to those who live there and how that might influence them to act and think.  How might the place where you live affect the way you act and think? While this is an example of the sociological imagination, it is also an example of symbolic interaction - people from New York act and think symbolically based on their expectations of NYC.  This might also serve as an example of a subculture.  New Yorkers think of themselves differently.  They also have different norms: understanding the subway, walking, talking differently than the rest of America.  They are a subculture.

Lastly, the most powerful Act on the show was act 3 called soul sister (34 minutes into the show).  This segment not only speaks to symbolic interaction but it does so in regards to race.  This is a great example of the power of symbols in how they affect people and people's own image of themselves. 

No comments:

Post a Comment