Symbolic Interactionism

Essentially, Symbolic Interactionism is crucial of important perspective in sociology that underlines the importance of subtle aspects of social interaction. Symbolic Interactionism derives from American pragmatism especially the works of Charles Cooley and Herbart Mead. (Klein & White, 1996). Symbolic Interactionism dictates that individuals or people act towards things based on the meaning and importance those things have to them and these meanings are gained through the process of social interaction and are modified and enhanced through interpretation.

Ideally, the term is intended to underline and express the perspective of how we learn the culture and how culture shapes and structures our day-to-day experience. Symbolic Interactionism seeks to study the behaviors and mannerisms of individuals and societies through description and observation. (Klein & White, 1996). The primary aim of this research paper is to provide or outline the main tenets of Symbolic Interactionism and use it to interpret the public personalities of President Barrack Obama and Kolbe Bryant.

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The major tenets of symbolic Interactionism

Human beings act towards things on the basis of meaning that they have for them

The meaning of such things is derived from or arises out of, the social interaction that one has with one’s fellows.

These meanings are handled in, and, modified through, an interpretive process used by the person in dealing with the things him /her encounters.

The aspect of Symbolic Interactionism is very evident in the public personalities of President Barrack Obama and Kolbe Bryant. Since Kolbe Bryant was charged with rap, the society has had a very bad image of him and through social symbols and images, he has been trying to generate an image that is in contrast with what the society and media has been portraying against him. He transformed himself into a believer in god to depict the image of a responsible and good man. Moreover, his act of tattooing his family’s names and various religious symbols indicate that he wants to depict himself as a good man or individual since he knows clearly that the society does not perceive him as a good man because of the rape charges that were leveled against him. Bryant is a man who is widely preoccupied with his sport and profession but he transformed himself into family and god centered individual.

The theory of symbolic Interactionism is also very evident in the public personality of Barrack Obama. Obama has a tendency if identifying his target audience and tells them what they always want to hear. In most instances, he fashions his messages or his speeches to border on issues of hope and change, which are concepts that are attractive to the self. Through the catch phrase “Yes We Can”, he is always able to motivate his audiences.

Through symbolic Interactionism, individuals preoccupy themselves with developing the images that he wants to project to others. This theory can aptly be referred to as the theory of “looking glass-self” widely because it posits that an individual’s perception about self is immensely influenced by and shaped by what the society thinks and perceives about the individual

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