<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

Symbolic interactionism

Rising from the concept that our world is socially constructed, symbolic interactionism studies the symbols and interactions of everyday life. To interactionists, beliefs and experiences are not sacred unless individuals in a society regard them as sacred. The Star of David in Judaism, the cross in Christianity, and the crescent and star in Islam are examples of sacred symbols. Interactionists are interested in what these symbols communicate. Because interactionists study one-on-one, everyday interactions between individuals, a scholar using this approach might ask questions focused on this dynamic. The interaction between religious leaders and practitioners, the role of religion in the ordinary components of everyday life, and the ways people express religious values in social interactions—all might be topics of study to an interactionist.

Summary

Religion describes the beliefs, values, and practices related to sacred or spiritual concerns. Social theorist Émile Durkheim defined religion as a “unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things” (1915). Max Weber believed religion could be a force for social change. Karl Marx viewed religion as a tool used by capitalist societies to perpetuate inequality. Religion is a social institution, because it includes beliefs and practices that serve the needs of society. Religion is also an example of a cultural universal, because it is found in all societies in one form or another. Functionalism, conflict theory, and interactionism all provide valuable ways for sociologists to understand religion.

Short answer

List some ways that you see religion having social control in the everyday world.

Got questions? Get instant answers now!

What are some sacred items that you’re familiar with? Are there some objects, such as cups, candles, or clothing, that would be considered profane in normal settings but are considered sacred in special circumstances or when used in specific ways?

Got questions? Get instant answers now!

Consider a religion that you are familiar with, and discuss some of its beliefs, behaviors, and norms. Discuss how these meet social needs. Then, research a religion that you don’t know much about. Explain how its beliefs, behaviors, and norms are like/unlike the other religion.

Got questions? Get instant answers now!

Further research

For more discussion on the study of sociology and religion, check out the following blog: (External Link) . The Immanent Frame is a forum for the exchange of ideas about religion, secularism, and society by leading thinkers in the social sciences and humanities.

Read more about functionalist views on religion at (External Link) , symbolic interactionist view on religion at (External Link) , and women in the clergy at (External Link) .

Some would argue that the Protestant work ethic is still alive and well in the United States. Read British historian Niall Ferguson’s view at (External Link) .

References

Barkan, Steven E., and Susan Greenwood. 2003. “Religious Attendance and Subjective Well-Being among Older Americans: Evidence from the General Social Survey.” Review of Religious Research 45:116–129.

Durkheim, Émile. 1933 [1893]. Division of Labor in Society . Translated by George Simpson. New York: Free Press.

Durkheim, Émile. 1947 [1915].  The Elementary Forms of Religious Life . Translated by J. Swain. Glencoe, IL: Free Press.

Ellway, P. 2005. “The Rational Choice Theory of Religion: Shopping for Faith or Dropping your Faith?” Retrieved February 21, 2012 ( (External Link) ).

Fasching, Darrel, and Dell deChant. 2001. Comparative Religious Ethics: A Narrative Approach . Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwel.

Finke, R., and R. Stark. 1988. “Religious Economies and Sacred Canopies: Religious Mobilization in American Cities, 1906.” American Sociological Review 53:41–49.

Greeley, Andrew. 1989. “Protestant and Catholic: Is the Analogical Imagination Extinct?” American Sociological Review 54:485–502.

Hechter, M. 1997. “Sociological Rational Choice Theory.” Annual Review of Sociology 23:191–214. Retrieved January 20, 2012 ( (External Link) ).

Hightower, Jim. 1975. Eat Your Heart Out: Food Profiteering in America . New York: Crown Publishers, Inc.

Marx, Karl. 1973 [1844]. Contribution to Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right . Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

Ritzer, George. 1993. The McDonaldization of Society . Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge.

Weber, Max. 2002 [1905]. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism and Other Writings , translated by Peter R. Baehr and Gordon C. Wells. New York: Penguin.

Questions & Answers

how does society cause desaeas
Kahange Reply
what is deviant behavior and why is relative.
Haruna
samajsatra ki paribhasha de
Ali Reply
wt
Aijaz
समाजशास्त्र मानव समाज का अध्ययन है। यह सामाजिक विज्ञान की एक शाखा है, जो मानवीय सामाजिक संरचना और गतिविधियों से संबंधित जानकारी को परिष्कृत करने और उनका विकास करने के लिए, अनुभवजन्य विवेचनऔर विवेचनात्मक विश्लेषण की विभिन्न पद्धतियों का उपयोग करता है।
Soumya
समाज के विभिन्न पहलुओं के क्रमबद्ध अध्ययन को समाजशास्त्र कहते हैं |
Soumya
समाजशास्त्र मानव समाज का अध्ययन है। यह सामाजिक विज्ञान की एक शाखा है, जो मानवीय सामाजिक संरचना और गतिविधियों से संबंधित जानकारी को परिष्कृत करने और उनका विकास करने के लिए, अनुभवजन्य विवेचनऔर विवेचनात्मक विश्लेषण की विभिन्न पद्धतियों का उपयोग करता है।
Soumya
what is sociology?
Dulom
the study of human behaviour and its environment
Jimmy
The study of human behaviour beliefs etc.study of man's life from woom to tom
Zahid
what's criminal investigation?
Haruna
it is simple be defines as the process of collecting information or evidence about a particular issues eg.place, when, interrogation and many more
Oduro
what is the nature of social problem?
rashid
relative deprivation
Batch Reply
Why is Max Weber different from other founding fathers of sociology
Bertha Reply
what problems sociologist faced in their profession
Mishi Reply
The sociologists professional ethics defines the rules of the sociologists professional activities. Observing moral standards is an expression of care not only for the sociologists common good, but also for the society common good as the society is examined by the sociologists and the soci
Aijaz
It varries from country to country. As it is comparatively a new profession, I think job placement itself is one among the key concern for the new Sociologists. Main reason is that what they do is usually considered to be something that is not as good as what other professionals do.
Naughty
thanks
Mishi
who is Karl Marx
Cyborg Reply
Karl Marx was a German philosopher, economist, historian, sociologist, political theorist, journalist and socialist revolutionary. Born in Trier, Germany, to a Jewish middle-class family, Marx studied law and philosophy at university.
Aijaz
okay
Haruna
Charz fond of watching Tv series she spends most of her time after school hours watching TV consequently she had very poor performance in her academic year exams. using the behavioral theories describe charz problem and suggest ways to solve it.
Chax Reply
l really want to know the main difference between culture and society
Kaifa Reply
Society is composed of people where as culture is what they think and what they do. Culture is the way people live. Society is a larger group of people. Their similar ways of living constitute their culture.
Naughty
sure
ROBERT
exactly, thanks.
Hawa
Explain Karl Marx concern on ecology ?
Indana Reply
who is a lanbroso?
Haruna
To link Marxism and ecological transition may seem at first like trying to bridge two entirely different movements and discourses, each with its own history and logic: one having mainly to do with class relations, the other with the relation between humans and the environment. However, historically
Aijaz
           View all Cesare Lombroso, was an Italian criminologist and physician, founder of the Italian School of Positivist Criminology. Lombroso rejected the established classical school, which held that crime was a characteristic trait of human nature. ok
Aijaz
Hi
Ariful
hello
Ophelia
hello
Amin
what is the best book for explane theories of sociology?
Amin
Classical Sociological theory by George Ritzer
Mubarak
yeah ritzer is one of the best
musharaf
sociological rheory of laura desfor edles is alsoo
musharaf
his wording is very easy
musharaf
I never seen this book Musharaf
Mubarak
try to consult. actully this book is of contemporary era's theorist
musharaf
Okay I will do it right nw
Mubarak
Thank you so much Musharaf for ur concerns
Mubarak
my pleasure sir
musharaf
I think the book not free. right
Amin
tnx my friend.
Haruna
hi friends
Vicky
hi Indana
Akak
what is culture
Dancan Reply
is the totally way of life
Marvin
what do you mean by method ?
Gautam Reply
   In object-oriented programming, a method is a programmed procedure that is defined as part of a class and included in any object of that class. A class (and thus an object) can have more than one method. A method in an object can only have access to the data known to that object, which ensures d
Aijaz
👍
Aijaz
what is sociology?
Steven Reply
It is the study of human social relationships and institutions
Oduro
scientific.
Steven
It is the scientific study of human social relationships and institution
Steven
scientific analysis of a social institution as a functioning whole and as it relates to the rest of society
Venkat
Nice
Steven
what sort of career are you interested in ? how could studying sociology help you in this career?
Sharmo Reply
how do you think taking a sociology course might effect your social interactions?
Sharmo Reply
am studying at uni and in the course I have chosen there is sociology so I just wanted to know more about it.
Corinne
I am studying at University and I think the course change your social interactions. becouse sociologists have other vision of stuffs means world.
Joel
am teaching sociology in my opinion sociology must be taught from primary level to all kinds of students because social interactions and values are important to everyone.
Ajaib
sociology is the only subject which is studied by every person from his fist day of the birth to till death
musharaf
do you really think so
Corinne
it is the study of the society and how people live in the society
Muhammad Reply

Get the best Introduction to sociol... course in your pocket!





Source:  OpenStax, Introduction to sociology 2e. OpenStax CNX. Jan 20, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11762/1.6
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Introduction to sociology 2e' conversation and receive update notifications?

Ask