Theories Of Symbolic Interactionist Theory

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Emotions have largely been ignored by the classical theorists of sociology mostly due to its abstract, intangible and supposed ‘dangerous’ nature. It was only recently in contemporary times when a number of approaches on how to study emotions more closely were suggested. Out of all the different approaches suggested, I feel that the symbolic interactionist theory is the most convincing. This is because it ties in the aspect of individual agency and also overlaps with some of the other theories. While sociology revolves around the study of society, we tend to overlook the power one has over his actions. We are prone to overstating the deterministic nature of society on the individual, while ignoring the effect of the individual on the society. The relationship between society and individual tends to be more reciprocal in nature. This is why I feel that the stratification theory is the least convincing approach in studying emotions. Symbolic interactionist theory explains how different aspect of social life holds different meanings to different individuals. Agency refers to the ability of individuals to make their own decisions based on their own free will and personal motivation, regardless of external influences. Through symbolic interaction and agency, one chooses to portray different and specific facets of themselves to different individuals. This also implies that these people will probably also have different perceptions of the individual. Different entities, carrying
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