Symbolic Interactionism has to do with our treatment of symbols and how they shape our worldview.
Symbols are everything you can think of: people, places, things, time, dates, the list goes on and on...
The tricky part is that symbols are polysemous, which means that they have multiple meanings. The make matters even more confusing, these meanings are not agreed upon by everyone! That's right, there's not one overarching meaning ascribed to each symbol we encounter.
And that's when we risk running into miscommunications and misunderstandings!
Learn how to navigate your social interactions, knowing that not everyone you meet will treat symbols in the exact same way as you.
By cultivating the awareness of polysemic symbols, you're decreasing the likelihood of a breakdown in communication.
Symbolic interactionist theory also helps us see that sometimes we may be too quick to judge a person because they don't see eye to eye with us on the way they interact with certain symbols.
My favorite thing about this phenomenon is that we become more attuned to other people's realities. This very understanding - that there are multiple realities - will help us become more inclusive of people and open to diverse interpretations of symbols (which comprise our definition of "reality").
Plus, the next time you're at a dinner party and you bust out "symbolic interactionism" you might spark a number of enchanting conversations.
Happy Explearning ⚡