Symbolic Interaction Theory By George Herbert Mead

1122 Words5 Pages
Symbolic interaction theory emerged in the early 1900s and is still one of the more frequently used theories in the family studies (Smith & Hamon, 2012). The theory assumes that people have different interpretations of situations due to their personal experiences (Smith & Hamon, 2012). By looking at the behaviors of individuals, symbolic interaction theory explains how multiple people have different reactions to the same situation (Smith & Hamon, 2012). Four principal scholars explored the symbolic interaction theory, George Herbert Mead, Charles Horton Cooley, William Isaac Thomas, and Herbert Blumer (Smith & Hamon, 2012). George Herbert Mead proposed that through interaction with others, we learn about ourselves—this is done through three stages; play stage, game stage, and generalized other (Smith & Hamon, 2012). He identifies the movement between “I” and “me.” “I” being the spontaneous, immediate reactions to a situation, “me” being the roles learned from prior experiences (Smith & Hamon, 2012). Charles Horton Cooley had the idea of the “looking-glass self”—which explains individuals consider how they appear to others in order to create their own concept of themselves (Smith & Hamon, 2012). The third scholar, William Isaac Thomas, was known for the definition of the situation, which led to the idea that understanding perspective of the people involved in the situation was necessary to understand human behavior in general (Smith & Hamon, 2012). The Thomas Theorem stated
Get Access