Symbolic interactionism dating
Thus, symbolic interactionists give serious thought to how people act, and then seek to determine what meanings individuals assign to their own actions and symbols, as well as to those of others.
Consider applying symbolic interactionism to the American institution of marriage.
Symbols may include wedding bands, vows of life‐long commitment, a white bridal dress, a wedding cake, a Church ceremony, and flowers and music.
American society attaches general meanings to these symbols, but individuals also maintain their own perceptions of what these and other symbols mean.
The manifest function of attending a church or synagogue, for instance, is to worship as part of a religious community, but its latent function may be to help members learn to discern personal from institutional values.
Conversation is an interaction of symbols between individuals who constantly interpret the world around them.
Of course, anything can serve as a symbol as long as it refers to something beyond itself. The black dots and lines become more than mere marks on the page; they refer to notes organized in such a way as to make musical sense.
While European functionalists originally focused on explaining the inner workings of social order, American functionalists focused on discovering the functions of human behavior.
Among these American functionalist sociologists is Robert Merton (b.