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Word Count: 989
Assess the claim made by Interactionists that the social world has to be explained in terms of the meanings that actors give to their actions Interactionists believe that the social world is constructed by meanings which individuals attach to events and actions These are transmitted across generations through language Social world is used to contrast the natural world This is the world constructed by human beings and their activities It includes physical artefacts that people manufacture and also patterned regularities that we create through our interactions The social world is therefore composed of building institutions structures dyads triads etc Meaning is the beliefs intentions purposes or motives that actors attach to their actions There is a wide range of theories that support the claim made above such as Symbolic Interactionism and Social action George Herbert Mead would be one of the most significant figures in the development of Symbolic Interactionism In Meads opinion human thought experience and conduct are essentially social Human beings interact with each other in terms of symbols the most important of which are contained in language A symbol in Meads view doesnt stand for an object or event it explains them in a particular way that indicates a response to them Symbols provide the means whereby humans can interact meaningfully with their natural and social environment Without symbols humans will not interact and therefore no human society Symbolic Interactionism is needed for humans to direct their behaviour as they have no natural instincts to do this own their own This is because humans are not genetically programmed to react automatically to particular stimuli Humans must construct and live in a world of meaning if they are to survive Role-taking involves the individual taking on the role of the person imaginatively that the individual is interacting with For example if a person sees someone crying or shaking a fist then the person will place himherself in their place
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