Key words Glossary
It was almost as if people were being fooled into believing all the inequalities in class were justified because religion deemed that god had created things to be the way that they were and if you tried to change it you would have been going against god’s will. A couple of examples of the lies that may have been told to the proletariat in order to keep them quiet and take there minds off of the reality that they were actually being heavily exploited: The belief in the divine selection of kings and queens, and also the promise of getting a reword in heaven were only a sample of ideological statements used.
Marx`s concept of ideology rested on five key thoughts. He termed these the five building blocks of ideology. The first was based on a link between ideas and society’s material activities. In this concept the idea of how goods are produced materially in a certain society could affect concepts of reality. The second building block “concerns the way ideology is related to a theory of perception, and to how individuals come to percieve the outer world from the standpoint of their positions in the relations of production” (Morrison, 2006, pg 69).
The third block was concerned with the way ideology could be used to serve the interests of the ruling classes. The fourth building block concerns itself with how ideology can be thought of as a social function. Finally the fifth building block looks at an individuals standing in relations concerning production and how this can impact on another persons view of the individual. Symbolic interactionisim Symbolic interactionisim is concerned with how meaning is attached to objects and gestures and how these can show importance to social interaction.
The founders of symbolic interactionisim were Erving Goffman and George Mead both of their work has proved to be very influential within symbolic interactionism, also within other theories concerning the self and identity. Certain objects or gestures may have different meanings to different people dependent on their there own particular experiences of that object or gesture. For example, “Mead held that sociological analysis must always start out from the meanings that objects have for individuals”. (Fulcher and Scott 2007, p. 127).
It can be said that meaning is a socially constructed perception. An object on its own may not have meaning; although a restaurant or chair will have value through the social interactions that take place in it and through it. According to Goffman, life is like a stage and people are actors. The meaning of symbolic interactionisim here is involved with the parts people play. Individuals can act out these parts, and perhaps by using their own `props` in interactions show themselves in the best possible light to others. Play is all about playing the part of somebody else.
“Goffman, 1959, argued that, in important respects, people continue to play with one another when they interact in adult life” (Fulcher and Scott, 2007, p. 128). What this means is that individuals have certain social roles to act out. This is another comparison to the theatrical roles that actors play. Symbolic interactionisim is all about looking at the role of the self in society, “Herbert Blumer defined the self in an extremely straightforward way as the fact that people can be the objects of their own actions: that is, people have the ability to act not only toward others, but also towards themselves”(Ritzer,2007, p.136).
Therefore symbolic interactionisim has a key role to play in looking at the way individuals interact with each other in society. Furthermore “Goffman assumed that when individuals interact, they want to present a certain sense of self that will be accepted by others” (Ritzer, 2007, p. 137) A further association with the theatre is made when Goffman introduces the concepts of front and back stage to his theory, Goffman suggested that every social interaction has a front and back stage, to help the ‘actors’ cope with the roles they play.
The front stage will be where individuals convey a certain impression and try to cover up what we believe to be faults in their personality. An example would be a waiter who is encouraged to be happy and polite when serving the public as customers in a restaurant, which is front stage. Then when he returns to the kitchen or staff room, which is back stage, where he is free to complain about certain customers and stop the happy, smiling pretense.
Bibliography Elliot, A.(2007) Concepts of the Self. Cambridge: Polity Press Fulcher, J. , Scott, J. (2007) Sociology. (3rd ed). Oxford: Oxford university press. Harrington, A. (2005) Modern Social Theory. New York: Oxford University Press. Mclellan, D. (1995) The thought of Karl Marx. (3rd ed) London: Macmillan press. Morrison, K. (2006) Marx Durkheim Weber. (2nd ed) London: Sage publications. Ritzer, G. (2007) Contemporary sociological theory and its classical roots. (2nd ed) New York : McGraw Hill.