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Assess The Usefulness Of Interactionist Approach To The Study Of Society

928 words - 4 pages

Assess the usefulness of interactionist approach to the study of society

Unlike action theory, structural theory is the opposite and primarily focuses on small scale interactions between smaller groups. This includes gangs or cults. Sociologists who support action theory believe that we as humans are actively thinking and are unpredictable; therefore we cannot generalize human social behavior. There are many examples of humans defying the laws of societies accepted social behavior, including choosing to be an atheist and not giving into socialization.

One example of a sociologist who explains social action theory is Garfinkel. Garfinkel states that social order is created from the ...view middle of the document...

Mead also claimed that we have a number of different selves which we turn into when we are in certain situations; i.e. we may have one self for the work place and another self for home life. Therefore the theory is useful in terms of the family as it helps us to understand that children may use their imagination and play the role of family members, presenting how children can see themselves as others are. Mead concluded that society is like a stage, in which we are all `actors'. Mead’s theory of Interactionism is useful in the study of society as it explains why people behave in different ways in certain situations.

Furthermore, Weber states that structural and action approaches are both fully important to fully understand human behavior. To get a full sociological explanation it involves two levels; the level of cause and the meaning. Weber went on further to explain four types of action; Instrumentally rational action, value rational action, traditional action and effectual action. Instrumentally rational action is where the actor calculates the most efficient means of achieving a given goal. Value rational action is where the action towards a goal which is desirable for its own sake, such as believing in god to get into heaven. Where as traditional action is classifies as customs and habitual actions, which are often automatic. Finally, effectual action is action in which expresses emotion. This relates to how Calvinsm helped to bring about social change in many past societies. Weber states that the spirit of capitalism has an unconscious similarity to Calvinist beliefs and attitudes. This represents how social action theory is useful in order to help...

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