Symbolic Interactionism, Self And Society

1987 Words8 Pages
For the symbolic interactionists, individuals make sense of the world through the union and interaction with one another, initiated by a brief look at one another. George Simmel (1997:358) wrote that the eye has an exclusive sociological function. He goes on to describe this combination (looking at one another) as the most direct and natural interchange between individuals which exists anywhere. Simmel also states that by the same act in which the observer seeks to know the observed they surrender themselves to be understood by the observer. He understood that the union of “looking at one another” is no simple action but it is a distinct form of interaction. Syncott (1993:225) documented in his book “The Body Social: Symbolism, Self and Society” that the eye creates the “I”. He explains that an individual can only mirror and form images of themselves through what they assume other people’s perspectives are of them. Self-conceptions and self-feelings such as pride and humiliation are a result of how people imagine others perceive and evaluate them (International Encyclopaedia of Marriage and Family, 2003). Bodies are seen, and the act of seeing is reflective (Waskul & Vannini, 2008). This process is called reflected assessment and is the central process in the development of self. When one gazes upon the bodies of other people interpretation of the observation takes place. In the same way other people imagine what one may be seeing and feeling, thus completing the
Open Document