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Symbolic Interactionism vs. Social Constructionism: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Published on February 3, 2024
Symbolic Interactionism focuses on individual interactions using symbols, while Social Constructionism examines how societies collectively construct concepts and perceptions.
Symbolic Interactionism vs. Social Constructionism

Key Differences

Symbolic Interactionism is a sociological perspective that emphasizes the role of symbols and language in human interactions. It posits that individuals interpret and give meaning to the world around them through these symbols. Social Constructionism, on the other hand, delves into how societies collectively create and maintain shared understandings of the world, focusing on how social phenomena are created, institutionalized, and made into tradition.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 03, 2024
In Symbolic Interactionism, the emphasis is on individual interactions and how personal experiences shape one's understanding of the world. It considers how individuals use symbols to create their social worlds. Conversely, Social Constructionism looks at the broader societal level, examining how groups of people come together to establish social realities, often overlooking individual experiences in favor of a collective viewpoint.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 03, 2024
Symbolic Interactionism analyzes how individuals communicate and create meanings in small group settings, focusing on micro-level interactions. It is concerned with the nuances of personal and direct communications. Social Constructionism, however, operates on a macro level, exploring how societal structures and cultural norms shape and are shaped by collective interpretations and practices.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 03, 2024
The scope of Symbolic Interactionism is often limited to face-to-face interactions and personal interpretations of symbols, not delving into larger societal constructs. Social Constructionism has a broader scope, looking at how societal institutions, cultural norms, and social practices emerge and evolve over time through collective human action.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 03, 2024
Symbolic Interactionism provides insight into the individual's role in meaning-making and social interaction, focusing on subjective experiences. In contrast, Social Constructionism highlights the power of societal influence in shaping individual perceptions, emphasizing the role of culture and society in constructing our understanding of reality.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 03, 2024
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Comparison Chart

Focus

Individual interactions and symbols
Collective construction of reality
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 03, 2024

Level of Analysis

Micro-level (personal and direct interactions)
Macro-level (societal structures and norms)
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 03, 2024

Key Concepts

Symbols, meanings, personal interpretation
Social institutions, cultural norms, collective understanding
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 03, 2024

Scope

Limited to face-to-face interactions
Broader societal constructs
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 03, 2024

Insight

Individual role in meaning-making
Societal influence on individual perceptions
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 03, 2024
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Symbolic Interactionism and Social Constructionism Definitions

Symbolic Interactionism

Focuses on subjective meaning individuals impose on objects, events, and behaviors.
In Symbolic Interactionism, personal experiences greatly influence one's perception of social events.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 21, 2024

Social Constructionism

Examines how societal phenomena are created and maintained through social processes.
According to Social Constructionism, gender roles are not innate but socially constructed.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 21, 2024

Symbolic Interactionism

Emphasizes individual interpretation in understanding social processes.
Symbolic Interactionism posits that our understanding of social norms is shaped by personal interactions.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 21, 2024

Social Constructionism

Analyzes the collective creation of social reality and norms.
Social Constructionism reveals how societal perceptions of normality are established.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 21, 2024

Symbolic Interactionism

A theory that human interactions are mediated by symbols and interpretation.
Symbolic Interactionism explains how people use symbols to make sense of their social world.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 21, 2024
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Social Constructionism

A theory that social reality is created collectively.
Social Constructionism explores how communities establish shared beliefs and values.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 21, 2024

Symbolic Interactionism

Investigates how social interactions contribute to the ongoing construction of identity.
Through Symbolic Interactionism, we see how self-identity evolves from social interactions.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 21, 2024

Social Constructionism

Focuses on how societal groups construct knowledge and meaning.
Social Constructionism shows how cultural norms influence our understanding of the world.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 21, 2024

Symbolic Interactionism

Examines how individuals construct their social reality through dialogue and interaction.
Symbolic Interactionism highlights the importance of communication in forming social bonds.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 21, 2024

Social Constructionism

Investigates the development and maintenance of social constructs.
Social Constructionism is key to understanding the evolution of societal institutions.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 21, 2024

Repeatedly Asked Queries

What is Symbolic Interactionism?

Symbolic Interactionism is a sociological theory that focuses on how individuals interpret and give meaning to social symbols in everyday life.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 03, 2024

What methods are typically used in Symbolic Interactionist research?

Qualitative methods like participant observation and in-depth interviews are common.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 03, 2024

What are the key concepts of Symbolic Interactionism?

Key concepts include symbols, interpretation, interaction, and the construction of social reality.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 03, 2024

How does Symbolic Interactionism view society?

It views society as constructed through individual interactions based on symbolic communication.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 03, 2024

How does Symbolic Interactionism differ from other sociological theories?

It focuses more on micro-level interactions and less on macro-structures like institutions.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 03, 2024

How does Symbolic Interactionism relate to identity?

It suggests that identities are formed through interactions and the interpretation of symbols.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 03, 2024

What's the difference between Social Constructionism and Symbolic Interactionism?

Social Constructionism focuses more on societal level constructs, while Symbolic Interactionism emphasizes individual interactions.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 03, 2024

Can Symbolic Interactionism explain social change?

Yes, it explains social change as a result of modified meanings and interactions over time.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 03, 2024

What is Social Constructionism?

Social Constructionism is a sociological theory that argues reality is constructed through social processes and interactions.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 03, 2024

Who is associated with developing Symbolic Interactionism?

George Herbert Mead is often credited with developing the foundations of Symbolic Interactionism.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 03, 2024

Is Social Constructionism relevant to understanding gender?

Yes, it's particularly influential in understanding how gender is socially and culturally constructed.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 03, 2024

Can Symbolic Interactionism apply to non-verbal communication?

Yes, it encompasses all forms of communication, including non-verbal symbols.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 03, 2024

How has Social Constructionism influenced modern social sciences?

It has significantly influenced fields like sociology, anthropology, and psychology in understanding cultural and social contexts.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 03, 2024

Is Symbolic Interactionism relevant in modern sociology?

Yes, it remains influential in understanding social interactions, especially in the age of digital communication.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 03, 2024

Can Social Constructionism be applied in therapy and counseling?

Yes, it's used to understand how individuals construct their realities and identities.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 03, 2024

Who are the key figures in Social Constructionism?

Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann are notable for their work in developing Social Constructionism.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 03, 2024

How does Social Constructionism view knowledge?

It views knowledge as a product of social processes and cultural norms, rather than objective truth.
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Shumaila Saeed
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How does Social Constructionism impact education?

It influences educational practices by emphasizing the role of cultural context in learning.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 03, 2024

Can Social Constructionism explain social institutions?

Yes, it explains how institutions are the result of historical and social processes.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 03, 2024

Does Social Constructionism deny the existence of objective reality?

Not necessarily; it rather suggests that our understanding of reality is shaped through social contexts.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 03, 2024

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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