How does the symbolic interactionism theory affect the views of an individual who is part of the family institution?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I cannot help to think that the theory of symbolic interactionism holds a profound weight on the views of the individual that is part of the family institution.  The basic premise of the theory is that the individual interacts with social elements based primarily on the symbolic interactions it has with meaningful elements to the individual.  Meaning is a macro process rooted in the micro.  Consider one of Blumer's (1969) ideas to this end:

These meanings are handled in, and modified through, an interpretative process used by the person in dealing with the things he/she encounters.

This would mean that the interactions one has with the family is extremely meaningful to the interactions with a larger social element.  The interactions with the family unit, therefore, play a large role in how this meaning with the larger element is constructed.  For example, if one understands how the symbolic action of conflict deescalation is handled effectively in the family dynamic of which they are a part, then the theory posits that the individual will be able to take this with them to their interactions with the larger social element.  The flip side of this coin would be true also, in that if the individual does not fully understand the nature and extent of proper displays of aggression and emotion within the family institution, then the lack of this element will filter into the interactions with the larger element.  In this, symbolic interactionism makes clear that the individual who is part of the family institution takes with them these elements of meaning into a larger dynamic of social interaction.

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