Stacey Roberts

Sociological Analysis seeks to understand how audiences assign meanings to messages they receive from the media and how audiences take up those meanings in their daily lives. Symbolic interaction: suggest that the character and the conduct of people’s social interaction are powerful shaped by the symbolic meanings they assign to objects, events, other people and social context . It was influenced by sociologist Max Weber(German) and George Herbert Mead ( American). However, it was Mead’s student Herbert Blumer that coined the term “social internationalism and outlined three core premises of his theory. Human beings act towards things on the basis of meanings the have for them. He believes that as simple as it may sound, many scholars often forget that objects, person’s ideals etc shapes out attitudes. Meanings derive from the social interaction one has with one’s fellows. Therefore meaning is negotiated through interaction with others e.g. social institutions like education, religion and media. Symbolic interaction is that these meanings are modified through an interpretive process used by the person dealing with the thing he/she encounters. Therefore interpretation is not an automatic application of established meanings but a formative process in which each person revises meanings as a guide for action based upon individual experiences.

Contemporary Perspective

Dramaturgy: used to explain the ways in which media shape human behavior. It was developed by Erving Goffman 1922-82. He used metaphor of theatre to explain the character and functions of public behavior, especially face to face interaction

He believed the self is a sense of who we are which is not a stable independent entity rather it’s a performed character which is endlessly staging. The self is not inherent or innate it is a product that emerges through social interaction, for example, it is hard to believe you are intelligent if people call you stupid and if you want to be considered all you have to do is publicly perform intelligence. Impression management: is the art of successfully staging a character or part of enacting a performance that creates the desired impression of the self.

Four stages

1. stage: describes a performance’s degree of publicness. Front stage refers to those performers that occur in full view of an audience while backstage refers to a place reserved only for the performer. There are things people will do in private but not when others are watching.

2. Setting: refers to the scene or situation in which the performance is occurring, from the actual physical location to the features of the locations. Settings plays powerful limits and constraints on performances of self.

3. Parts: describes the pattern of actions that define the character being performed. When playing a part a performer typically tries to convey particular image of his or herself through appearance.

4. Team: takes into account the cast of players who share who share in a performance. For example, a team may be defined as a set of individuals whose intimate cooperation is required if a given projected definition of a situation is to be maintained.

Question: what would be Blumer’s views on the contemporary perspective since he coined the term social internationalism. Would he disagree or agree?


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