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Action Theory Notes

In: Social Issues

Submitted By hawardsheri
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Action Theories - Theory and methods
This is not a structural theory. Action theories focus on individual behaviour in everyday social situations. This is a bottom up approach – looking at meanings and interpretations of actions. There are many branches of action theories; Symbolic interactionism, Labelling theory, Dramturgical model, Phenomenology, Ethnomethodology, Structuration theory and Webe’rs integrated approaches

Key features: 1. Society and social structures/ institutions are socially constructed (family does not exist externally to our daily lives) 2. People have free will to do things and form their own identities 3. Prefer to research on small groups of individuals (micro) 4. People’s behaviour is driven by their beliefs, meaning and emotions gives to a situation. e.g how mother interprets crying of baby, meaning of the cry will affect her actions and the babies behaviour will affect the mother

Symbolic interactionism
This focuses on how we create the world through our interactions. Our interactions are based on the meaning we give to situations and we can convey this through symbols like language.
G. H. Mead – The Role of Others – Symbols vs Instincts
Symbols versus instincts: * Animals are guided through instinct whereas we are guided by our responses to the world in the form of meanings we attach to significant things. * We create the world by attaching symbols to meanings we have attached. The symbol of putting a finger to your mouth, comes with the meaning ‘to be quiet.’ * There is an interpretive phase between a stimulus and our response to it, i.e. we see the above gesture, interpret it and we are quiet.

Taking the role of other
We interpret others actions by putting ourselves in their shoes and understanding it from their perspective, seeing ourselves as they see us.
As young children we internalise...

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