Hubert Blumer's Theory Of Symbolic Interaction

952 Words4 Pages
As part of their study, a student of social science scrutinizes the theories of many social scientists. This task can be abstruse without a framework with which to analyze those theories. Tom Campbell describes five parameters that can be useful when studying or comparing social theories. These parameters aren’t clear-cut categories, but ranges or areas within which an idea or theory can fall. Despite these ranges, Hubert Blumer’s theory of symbolic interaction can be said to fall somewhat more to one part of these parameters than the other. Symbolic interaction, as described by Blumer, is more of an idealist than a materialist, more descriptive than normative, more individualistic than holistic, more related to conflict than to consensus, and more accurately understood through an interpretive model than through a positivist one. This paper will endeavor to demonstrate that his views primarily fall in line with these parameters, even though there are aspects of each contained within his theory. Regarding the parameter of idealist to materialist, Hubert Blumer’s theory of symbolic interaction falls firmly on the idealist side of the range. He does spend some time discussing how the process of self-indication essentially turns observed phenomena into objects, which are then given a meaning. However, the significant part is not the object, but the person doing the observing interpreting the object and giving it meaning. If the idealist is someone who believes that thoughts,

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