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Word Count: 663
Human beings exist and interact in a reality which they define themselves Inside of this reality they make use of social objects that is anything used between to actors in social situations that have meaning and function in that social environment Charon 46 Many social objects are used to represent something else and are interpreted to convey more meaning These social objects are known as symbols and it is the core of the symbolic interactionist perspective Simply defined a symbol is something that stands for something else In Sociology a symbol is classified as a social object that the members of a society have agreed represents a concept an object or an ideal that is not present They are used to communicate express intentions represent objects and groups and define the reality that surrounds us Charon 46-48 They can be separated into the categories of referential expressive and mixed symbols which can be interrupted as both of the previous mentioned types Referential symbols are used to define and classify parts of reality They can be used to represent an object in its absence The word pencil is immediately interpreted a shaft of wood with a graphite core used for writing or a mechanical device with the same purpose Now while the pencil itself is just a social object with a simple function the word pencil acts as a symbol in that it represents the physical object On a larger scale referential symbols are used to represent entire groups A red star can be used to represent a political party or philosophy Charon 50 Referential symbols can also be used to classify groups such as gender Diana Kendall gives the example of dressing infants in certain colours blue and red for males and pink and yellow for females to convey immediately communicate the sex of the child Kendall 70 These symbols are used as labels and divisions in society Expressive symbols are used to communicate
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