Predecessors of Interactionism and Humanistic Perspective - History of Sociology

Predecessors of Interactionism and Humanistic Perspective

A distinctive feature of early American sociology is the pronounced humanistic orientation of sociology and the propensity to social reform of society.

Lester Ward (1841 - 1913), considered one of the founders of American sociology, believed that the human being is bifurcated between the natural world and the social world. The same split society turned out to be.

It is simultaneously dominated by the blind laws of natural selection, which compel people not to spare each other in competitive struggle, and reasonable laws of good, based on high humanistic values.

The society, according to another classic of American sociology William Sumner (1840-1910), must be considered in a sociocultural context, based on social norms, traditions and customs. The customs (folkways ) are reminiscent of the rules of propriety, such as the requirement to use a knife and fork. They differ among different peoples and cultures. Mores - a more rigorous kind of norms. They constitute a group morale, or morality. These include the requirements to respect the elders, to help relatives. The right includes philosophical and ethical assessments of actions. On the customs and customs, natural institutions are based, for example, religion, family, property, and on laws - prescribed institutions (banks, election system).

Humanistic traditions were most fully expressed in symbolic interactionism - the first actual American theoretical flow in sociology.

Among the founders of symbolic interactionism are the American social philosopher George Herbert Mead (1864-1931), his contemporary sociologist Charles Cooley (1864-1929), and finally, their predecessor, the psychologist William James (1842-1910).

Cooley Charles Hortoy (1864-1929) is an American sociologist, the direct predecessor of symbolic interactionism. The fundamentals of Cooley's sociological theory are set forth by him in the works "Human Nature and Social Order" (1902), Social Organization (1909), Social Process (1918), Sociological Theory and Social Research (1930). According to his education, C. Cooley is an economist, later reoriented to sociology. He gained fame through work in the field of socialization and primary groups. He belongs to the creation of one of the first sociological and socio-psychological concepts of personality, which initiated the independent direction in world sociology - interactionism.

The main concept of Cooley is called the theory of the "mirror I". Its origins go back to pragmatism, in particular ideas about the "social I" W. James and the view of J. Dewey. Final conception Cooley received later from J. Meade. According to W. James, a person has so much "social I" as there are individuals and groups about whose opinion he cares. Continuing the ideas of James, Cooley called the most important sign of a social being the ability to distinguish himself from the group and to realize his "I". This happens through communication with other people and the assimilation of their opinions about themselves.

Cooley suggested that I consists of the "I-feelings", which are formalized through a relationship with others. We see ourselves through reflection of our feelings in the realities of others. They are a mirror for us. Our understanding of ourselves is a process, not a fixed state, it always develops as we interact with others, whose opinions about us are constantly changing. A person is not a passive receiver, on the contrary, he actively manipulates decisions of others, selecting them, how to adhere or not, evaluates the role of partners. All the information received from others affects us. We tend to take only those angles that confirm our own image of ourselves, and resist all others.

Cooley emphasized the fundamental role of consciousness in the formation of social processes. Human life is the integrity of the individual and social. Cooley is the creator of the theory of primary groups embodying the universal character of human nature, and the theory of the "mirror I". The nature of the person Cooley defined as biological and social, developed through interaction in primary groups and is a complex of social feelings, attitudes, moral norms.

Mirror Me (looking-glass self) - is a society that serves as a kind of mirror. In such a mirror, we can see the reactions of others to our own behavior. Our notion of ourselves takes its origin precisely in such a reflection, observing the answers of other people or imagining what they should be, ie. how the surrounding people should react to this or that our action - we are only able to evaluate ourselves and our own actions.

Sociological Workshop

Try to build your own "mirror I". How will it look? Which people do you think are of opinion? Why? Write a small written report.

If the image that we see in the mirror or just imagine that we see is favorable, our "I-concept" receives reinforcements, and the actions are repeated. And if unfavorable, our I-concept is revised, and behavior changes. We are defined by other people and guided in our behavior and perception by such a definition.

Receiving confirmation of our idea of ​​ourselves again and again, we become stronger in ourselves, gradually acquiring the integrity of ourselves. The person-assimilated ideas of one's own "I" that arise in the creation of other people, Cooley calls "representations of representations".

Such representations are recognized as social factors and act as the main subject of sociology. I-concept is formed, refined and strengthened day by day in the interaction of people with each other. By how others treat him, a person can judge to which type of people he belongs. Everyone's opinion about his intellectual abilities, moral qualities and physical abilities, about what actions he expects from him, arises in the course of interaction in organized groups (primary and secondary). Therefore, Cooley understood the sense of his own self-determination as the "mirror I".

The concept of yourself, in essence, is a reflection of the properties of a person as they are perceived in the society of which he is a member. He constructs a personification based on reactions attributed to other people. If you are treated as if you are something special, you will soon begin to think of yourself as someone outstanding. Wherever people lived, to which race or age group they belonged, they are all very sensitive to the reactions of others. Therefore, they react to any signal that could serve as a guide.

Human society, according to C. Cooley, is based on a special kind of communication between those who sympathize with each other. The key to understanding a person's behavior lies in his relationships with other people.

Only the interaction of people, or interaction, creates a society and forms a person. In such interactions, people create their own "mirror I", which consists of three elements.

1. What we think others see in us. For example, I think that people pay attention to my clothes.

2. The way in our opinion, they react to what they see. For example, they see my clothes, and they like it.

3. The way we respond to the reaction of other people to us. Since my clothes like others, I'm going to continue to dress the same way.

There are no other ways in which we make up an opinion about ourselves - self-consciousness, self-appreciation and self-feeling, except for the idea that one can object to ourselves, thinking about how others imagine ourselves. What they really think does not really matter. More important is how we interpret their actions against us. They define our self-esteem and our social values.

The interaction takes place mainly through contacts "face to face", which occur primarily in primary groups, in particular the family. It is in the family that the infant turns from a savage into a social being. Close ties with other people support a person throughout his life, ordering his way of thinking, giving him a sense of purpose.

Mirror Non-I . Kierstin Gruis, a 29-year-old graduate student in the field of sociology, decided on an unusual experience: for a whole year she avoided self reflection to increase self-esteem and inspire others not to pay too much attention to her appearance.

Most women can not do without a mirror for half an hour. They constantly check to see if their clothes and make-up are in order, but the ambitious student decided not to look at herself for a year. Kierstin said that to avoid mirrors it was very difficult: on the streets of the city now and then met mirrored surfaces. At home, the girl closed the mirror in the bathroom so she could brush her teeth and wash, without violating the conditions of the experiment. She even learned how to use car mirrors so that she does not see herself in them.

Kierstin's makeup brings to the touch. Initially, her beginnings caused a lot of difficulties, but then the girl adapted and recognized that the experiment made her realize that it really is not that important that most of her acquaintances think.

She started her anti-mirror project in 2010. In the first month, she recalls, in half of cases she left the house with her mascara carcasses on her face. She learned to evaluate clothes when buying on the advice of friends and husband, instead of looking at yourself in the mirror. Even on her wedding day, Kirsteen never looked at herself. "For me, the day has a special meaning, no matter how I look," she says. Interestingly, she and Michael danced at their wedding under the song "I'll be your mirror."

Kirstin's experiment ended on March 12th. On this day, for the first time in 12 months, she looked at her reflection surrounded by family and friends. "I had a slightly ambivalent attitude, but I was happy with what I saw," recalls Kjersteen.

The process of socialization begins with the fact that the child learns to understand himself as an object through the adoption of the roles of other people. The child perceives himself as the recipient of the action before the actor. Noticing how other people treat him, the child begins to realize his place within the culture and interpersonal relationships.

The process of socialization takes place primarily in the primary groups. The term "primary group", introduced into the sociology of C. Cooley, characterizes communities in which there are trusting, "face to face" contacts and cooperation. They are primary in several senses, but mainly because they play a fundamental role in shaping social nature and human ideas. The psychological result of intimate (trust) connections is the connection of people into a certain integrity.

To describe this integrity, we use the We (as a concept it is written with a capital letter), which characterizes some sympathy and mutual identification of people. Each of us lives with some sense of integrity, uniting people.

The primary relations are the basis of the primary group. They differ in the following features. Individuals interact in them as unique and holistic beings.

Uniqueness means that a response addressed to one individual can not be melted down to another. In accordance with this, the first criterion of primary relations, the relationship between the seller and the buyer can not be called primary. After all, they can be redirected: the seller can come into contact with another or other buyers, and vice versa.

They are not unique, but are interchangeable. However, a child can not replace his mother, and vice versa. They are irreplaceable and unique. The seller and the buyer enter into a temporary contract and bear a limited responsibility to each other. So are the relations between the workers and the employer.

But this is not the relationship between husband and wife: they bear full responsibility to each other, love and family absorb them whole, not partially or temporarily. This is the second criterion of primary relations.

In the surrounding reality, says Cooley, there are fewer primary relationships than secondary ones. Primary are less common, although they play a more important role in people's lives.

Primary relationships are deeper and more intense than secondary ones, they are more complete in the ways of manifestations: in the interactive "face to face" symbols, words, gestures, feelings, reason, needs. Family relationships are deeper, fuller and more intense than business or production. The former are called informal, while the latter are called formal. In formal relations, one person serves as a means or purpose to achieve what is not in informal, primary relationships.

Sociological Workshop

Describe your primary and secondary relationships. You can build a diagram, a picture, give a photo.

Wherever people live or work together, primary groups arise on the basis of primary relations: small working groups, family, friendly companies, play groups, neighbor communities (communities). They arise historically before secondary, existed always and exist now.

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