Which Is More Important in Shaping Individual Identity: Social Structure or Social Interaction?

1284 WordsApr 12, 20136 Pages
Social structure and social interaction are the building blocks of present life. The need for people to interact with each other is crucial and has always been the key action to survive and sustain existence. Sociologists now refer to this as socialisation, to establish the important components of living and a person’s social identity. Social structure is more important than social interaction in shaping individual social identity, the reason for this to have more importance in shaping someone’s social identity, is because without social structure there would be no social interaction both are important in discussing macrosociology (social structure) and microsociology (social interaction). Within social structure is class, status and…show more content…
These components of society work together to help maintain social order (Henslin, J. 2010, p. 76). To achieve social order all members of a society accept its moral values and their roles within it, complying to these norms is a way to maintain social order. Emile Durkhiem’s views were that rather than individual activities such as crime and religion causing certain behaviours, it was society as a whole (Bessant & Watts, 2007 pp. 72 – 73). Showing that structure has more influence on a persons identity rather than their interactions within their class and statuses. Social Class is based on income, education and occupational prestige. Large numbers of people who have similar amounts of income and education and who work at jobs that are roughly comparable in prestige make up a social class. It is hard to overemphasise this aspect of social structure, for our social class influences not only our behaviours but even our ideas and attitudes (Henslin, J. 2010, p. 78). There is four different structures that we can inherit at birth; wealthy upper class, middle class, working class and under class (Macionis & Plummer 1997). Karl Marx was the first to study class and it’s relationship to the functions of society and identity. Marx focused on how one class controlled and directed production, while the other classes were service providers or producers, whose efforts benefited the ruling or dominating class.

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