Free AIOU Solved Assignment Code 4687 Spring 2023
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Course: Sociological Theory-II (4687)
Semester: Spring, 2023
ASSIGNMENT No. 1
- Discuss the role of mead in providing the foundations for development of symbolic interactionism.
According to Herbert Blumer, school of thought based on the assumption that individuals choose a course of action that is most in line with their personal preferences. Rational choice theory is used to model human decision making, especially in the context of microeconomics, where it helps economists better understand the behavior of a society in terms of individual actions as explained through rationality, in which choices are consistent because they are made according to personal preference. Rational choice theory increasingly is applied to other areas as well, including evolutionary theory, political science, and warfare.
Symbolic interactionism is a sociological theory that develops from practical considerations and alludes to people’s particular utilization of dialect to make images and normal implications, for deduction and correspondence with others. In other words, it is a frame of reference to better understand how individuals interact with one another to create symbolic worlds, and in return, how these worlds shape individual behaviors. It is a framework that helps understand how society is preserved and created through repeated interactions between individuals. The interpretation process that occurs between interactions helps create and recreate meaning. It is the shared understanding and interpretations of meaning that affect the interaction between individuals. Individuals act on the premise of a shared understanding of meaning within their social context. Thus, interaction and behavior is framed through the shared meaning that objects and concepts have attached to them. From this view, people live in both natural and symbolic environments.
Symbolic interactionism comes from a sociological perspective which developed around the middle of the twentieth century and that continues to be influential in some areas of the discipline. It is particularly important in microsociology and social psychology. It is derived from the American philosophy of pragmatism and particularly from the work of George Herbert Mead, as a pragmatic method to interpret social interactions.
- Collins views symbolic interactionism as studying the way the social world is created through interaction between individuals and their environment.
Elements And Structure
In rational choice theory, agents are described by their unchanging sets of preferences over all conceivable global outcomes. Agents are said to be rational if their preferences are complete—that is, if they reflect a relationship of superiority, inferiority, or indifference among all pairs of choices—and are logically ordered—that is, they do not exhibit any cyclic inconsistencies. In addition, for choices in which the probabilities of outcomes are either risky or uncertain, rational agents exhibit consistencies among their choices much as one would expect from an astute gambler.
The consistency relations among preferences over outcomes are stated in mathematical axioms; a rational agent is one whose choices reflect internal consistency demanded by the axioms of rational choice. Rational choice theory holds that all considerations pertinent to choice (that may include attitudes toward risk, resentment, sympathy, envy, loyalty, love, and a sense of fairness) can be incorporated into agents’ preference rankings over all possible end states. Social scientists have only indirect access to agents’ desires through
Their revealed choices. Therefore, researchers infer back from observed behavior to reconstruct the preference hierarchy that is thought to regulate a rational agent’s decisions.
Rational choice theory is a fundamental element of game theory, which provides a mathematical framework for analyzing individuals’ mutually interdependent interactions. In this case, individuals are defined by their preferences over outcomes and the set of possible actions available to each. As its name suggests, game theory represents a formal study of social institutions with set rules that relate agents’ actions to outcomes. Such institutions may be thought of as resembling the parlor games of bridge, poker, and tic-tac-toe. Game theory assumes that agents are like-minded rational opponents who are aware of each other’s preferences and strategies. A strategy is the exhaustive game plan each will implement, or the complete set of instructions another could implement on an agent’s behalf, that best fits individual preferences in view of the specific structural contingencies of the game. Such contingencies include the number of game plays, the sequential structure of the game, and the possibility of forming coalitions with other players, and other players’ preferences over outcomes.
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For social scientists using game theory to model, explain, and predict collective outcomes, games are classified into three groups: purely cooperative games in which players prefer and jointly benefit from the same outcomes; purely competitive games in which one person’s gain is another’s loss; and mixed games, including the prisoner’s dilemma, that involve varied motives of cooperation and competition. Game theory is a mathematical exercise insofar as theorists strive to solve for the collective result of various game forms, considering their structure and agents’ preferences. Equilibrium solutions are of the most interest because they indicate, following the Nash equilibrium concept, that, given the actions of all other agents, each agent is satisfied with his or her chosen strategy of play. Equilibrium solutions have the property of stability in that they are spontaneously generated as a function of agents’ preferences. Solving games is complicated by the fact that a single game may have more than one equilibrium solution, leaving it far from clear.
What the collective outcome will be. Moreover, some games have no equilibrium solutions
A perplexing feature of game theory relates to the assumption of reflexivity on the part of agents: agents must choose strategies in response to their beliefs of what strategies others will choose. This idea of reflexivity leads some researchers to associate methodological individualism with game theory. This is the assumption that the individual is the pivotal unit of analysis for understanding
Collective outcomes in politics and economics. However, as the use of game theory for understanding interactions in populations studied in evolutionary biology makes clear, the assumption of reflexivity and a view of the individual that could sustain a liberal understanding of politics and economics are not essential. Still, having made this observation, it remains the case that many who adopt game theory in social science find it consistent with individualistic approaches that view the individual as the sole determinant of personal preferences, goals, and values. Among the outstanding successes of rational choice theory in the late 20th century was its extensive refashioning of understanding of how and why markets and democracy function to respect individual choices.
AIOU Solved Assignment Code 4687 Spring 2023
Discuss in detail the basic premises of symbolic interactionism.
Symbolic interactionism is a sociological perspective on self and society based on the ideas of George H. Mead (1934), Charles H. Cooley (1902), W. I. Thomas (1931), and other pragmatists associated, primarily, with the University of Chicago in the early twentieth century. The central theme of symbolic interactionism is that human life is lived in the symbolic domain. Symbols are culturally derived social objects having shared meanings that are created and maintained in social interaction. Through language and communication, symbols provide the means by which reality is constructed. Reality is primarily a social product, and all that is humanly consequential—self, mind, society, culture—emerges from and is dependent on symbolic interactions for its existence. Even the physical environment is relevant to human conduct mainly as it is interpreted through symbolic systems.
The label symbolic interactionism was coined by Herbert Blumer (1969), one of Mead’s students. Blumer, who did much to shape this perspective, specified its three basic premises: (1) Humans act toward things on the basis of the meanings that things have for them; (2) the meanings of things derive from social interaction; and (3) these meanings are dependent on, and modified by, an interpretive process of the people who interact with one another. The focus here is on meaning, which is defined in terms of action and its consequences (reflecting the influence of pragmatism). The meaning of a thing resides in the action that it elicits. For example, the meaning of “grass” is food to a cow, shelter to a fox, and the like. In the case of symbols, meanings also depend on a degree of consensual responses between two or more people. The meaning of the word husband, for example, depends on the consensual responses of those who use it. If most of those who use it agree, the meaning of a symbol is clear; if consensus is low, the meaning is ambiguous, and communication is problematic. Within a culture, a general consensus prevails on the meanings associated with various words or symbols. However, in practice, the meanings of things are highly variable and depend on processes of interpretation and negotiation of the interactants.
The interpretive process entails what Blumer refers to as role-taking, the cognitive ability to take the perspective of another. It is a critical process in communication because it enables actors to interpret one another’s responses, thereby bringing about greater consensus on the meanings of the symbols used. The determination of meanings also depends on negotiation—that is, on mutual adjustments and accommodations of those who are interacting. In short, meaning is emergent, problematic, and dependent on processes of role-taking and negotiation. Most concepts of symbolic interactionism are related to the concept of meaning.
The importance of meanings is reflected in Thomas’s (1931) famous dictum: If situations are defined as real, they are real in their consequences. The definition of the situation emphasizes that people act in situations on the basis of how they are defined. Definitions, even when at variance with “objective” reality, have real consequences for people’s actions and events.
The definitional process involves the determination of relevant identities and attributes of interactants. If, for example, a teacher defines a student as a slow learner (based on inaccurate information), her discriminatory behavior (e.g., less attention and lower expectations) may have a negative effect on the student’s intellectual development, resulting in a self-fulfilling prophecy. This process, in combination with interactionist ideas about self-concept formation, is the basis of the labeling theory of deviance. Labeling theory proposes that a key factor in the development of deviants is the negative label of identity imposed on the person (e.g., “criminal,” “pervert”) who engages in deviant behavior (Becker 1963).
Defining a situation is not a static process. An initial definition, based on past experiences or cultural expectations, may be revised in the course of interaction. Much of the negotiation in social situations entails an attempt to present the self in a favorable light or to defend a valued identity. Erving Goffman‘s (1959) insightful analyses of impression management and the use of deference and demeanor, as well as Marvin Scott and Stanford Lyman’s (1968) examination of the use of excuses, justifications, and accounts, speak to the intricacies involved in situational definitions. Where power or status disparities exist, the dominant interactant’s definition of the situation likely prevails.
Along with symbols, meaning, and interaction, the self is a basic concept in symbolic interactionism. The essential feature of the self is that it is a reflexive phenomenon. Reflexivity enables humans to act toward themselves as objects, or to reflect on themselves, argue with themselves, evaluate themselves, and so forth. This human attribute (al-though dolphins and the great apes show some evidence of a self as well), based on the social character of human language and the ability to role-take, enables individuals to see themselves from the perspective of another and thereby to form a conception of themselves, a self-concept.
Two types of others are critical in the development of the self. The significant other refers to people who are important to an individual, whose opinions matter. The generalized other refers to a conception of the community, group, or any organized system of roles (e.g., a baseball team) that are used as a point of reference from which to view the self.
The importance of others in the formation of self-concepts is captured in Cooley’s (1902) influential concept, the looking-glass self. Cooley proposed that to some extent individuals see themselves as they think others see them. Self-conceptions and self-feelings (e.g., pride or shame) are a consequence of how people imagine others perceive and evaluate them. Within contemporary symbolic interactionism, this process is called reflected appraisals and is the main process emphasized in the development of the self.
The self is considered a social product in other ways, too. The content of self-concepts reflects the content and organization of society. This is evident with regard to the roles that are internalized as role-identities (e.g., father, student). Roles, as behavioral expectations associated with a status within a set of relationships, constitute a major link between social and personal organization. Sheldon Stryker (1980) proposes that differential commitment to various role-identities provides much of the structure and organization of self-concepts. To the extent that individuals are committed to a particular role identity, they are motivated to act according to their conception of the identity and to maintain and protect it, because their role performance implicates their self-esteem. Much of socialization, particularly during childhood, involves learning social roles and associated values, attitudes, and beliefs. Initially this takes place in the family, then in larger arenas (e.g., peer groups, school, work settings) of the individual’s social world. The role identities formed early in life, such as gender and filial identities, remain some of the most important throughout life. Yet socialization is lifelong, and individuals assume various role identities throughout their life course.
AIOU Solved Assignment 1 Code 4687 Spring 2023
Our interaction with others is usually based on give and take. Discuss with reference to the exchange theory.
Social exchange,” as the term is used here, refers to voluntary actions of individuals that are motivated by the returns they are expected to bring and typically to id fact bring from others. Action compelled by physical coercion is not voluntary, although compliance with other forms of power can be considered a voluntary service rendered in exchange for the benefits such compliance produces, whereas conformity with internalized standards does not fall under the definition of exchange presented, conformity to social pressures tends to entail indirect exchanges. The concept of exchange can be circumscribed by indicating two limiting cases. An
individual may give money because the other stands in front of him with a gun in a holdup.
Skinner’s Theory of Behavior exhibits the characteristics of sophisticated theories in its three met features of philosophical foundations, experimental operations, and engineering applications. Of its several philosophical foundations (or frames of reference) the primary ones are: (a) no agent forms a qualitative core of its analysis of behavioral events, instead the analysis is a quantitative one of behavioral properties and their contingent relations with each other and other events; and (b) behavioral events must be interpreted within their own dimensional system of analysis, and their analysis not default to the explanatory framework of another class of sciences.
The experimental operations provide the data that support principles anchored in the laboratory analysis of the two-term contingency relation – the operant. The laboratory work starts with the consequences of selection, a postcedent impetus, and combined with other variables, including antecedent ones, examines further contingency relations based upon the operant. Specific engineering applications are derived from the laboratory work of experimental operations merged with the theory’s interpretative frames of reference. These engineering applications are vast. Their social benefits have been immense. Skinner’s Theory of Behavior ushered in a new and revolutionary behavioral science based upon the quantification of action properties combined with the mechanism of contingency selection.
While this could be conceptualized as an exchange of his money for his life, it seems preferable to exclude the result of physical coercion from the range of social conduct encompassed by the term “exchange.” An individual may also give away money because his conscience demands that he help support the underprivileged and without expecting any form of gratitude from them. While this could be conceptualized as annex change of his money for the internal approval of his superego, here again it seems preferable to exclude conformity with internalized norms from the purview of the concept of social exchange. Asocial exchange is involved if an individual gives money to a poor man be cause he wants to receive the man’s expressions of gratitude and deference and if he ceases to give alms to beggars who withhold such expressions.
Social exchange differs in important ways from strictly economic exchange. The basic and most crucial distinction is that social exchange entails unspecified obligations. The prototype of an economic transaction rests on a formal contract that stipulates the exact quantities to be exchanged. The buyer pays Rs 30,000 for specific house, or he signs a contract to pay that sum plus interest over a period of years. Whether the entire transaction is consummated at a given time, in which case the contract may never be written, or not, all the transfers to be made now or in the future are agreed upon at the time of sale. Social exchange, in contrast, involves the principle that one person does another a favor, and while there is a general expectation of some future return, its exact nature is definitely not stipulated in advance. The distinctive implications of such unspecified obligations are brought into high relief by the institutionalized form they assume in the
Kula discussed by Malinowski:
The main principle underlying the regulations of actual exchange is that the Kula consists in the bestowing of a ceremonial gift, which has to be repaid by an equivalent counter-gift after a lapse of time. But it can never be exchanged from hand to hand, with the equivalence between the two objects being discussed, bargained about and computed. The second very important principle is that the equivalence of the counter-gift is left to the giver, and it cannot be enforced by any kind of coercion. If the article given as a counter-gift
is not equivalent, the recipient will be disappointed and angry, but he has no direct means of redress, no means of coercing his partner.
Social exchange, whether it is in this ceremonial form or not, involves favors that create diffuse future obligations, not precisely specified ones, and the nature of the return cannot be bargained about but must be left to the discretion of the one who makes it. Thus, if a person gives a dinner party, he expects his guests to reciprocate at some future date. But he can hardly bargain with them about the kind of party to which they should invite him, although he expects them not simply to ask him for a quick lunch if he had invited them to a formal dinner. Similarly, if a person goes to some trouble in behalf of an acquaintance, he expects some expression of gratitude, but he can neither bargain with the other over how to reciprocate nor force him to reciprocate at all.
Only social exchange tends to engender feelings of personal obligation, gratitude, and trust; purely economic exchange as such does not. An individual is obligated to the banker who gives him a mortgage on his house merely in the technical sense of owing him money, but he does not feel personally obligated in the sense of experiencing a debt of gratitude to the banker, because all the banker’s services, all costs and risks, are duly taken into account in and fully repaid by the interest on the loan he receives. A banker who grants a loan without adequate collateral, however, does make the recipient personally obligated for this favorable treatment, precisely because this act of trust entails a social exchange that is superimposed upon the strictly economic transaction.
AIOU Solved Assignment 2 Code 4687 Spring 2023
How Homans and Blau do explained the exchange theory? Define and differentiate between the ideas of both the theorists.
The basic definition of social exchange theory External link is that people make decisions by consciously or unconsciously measuring the costs and rewards of a relationship or action, ultimately seeking to maximize their reward. This theory focuses on face-to-face relationships and isn’t meant to measure behavior or change at a societal level.
According to social exchange theory, a person will weigh the cost of a social interaction (negative outcome) against the reward of that social interaction (positive outcome). These costs and rewards can be material, like money, time or a service. They can also be intangible, like effort, social approval, love, pride, shame, respect, opportunity and power.
Each person wants to get more from an interaction or relationship than they give. When a relationship costs a person more than it rewards them, they end it. But when a relationship provides enough rewards, they continue it. What is or isn’t enough depends on various factors, including a person’s expectations and comparisons with other possible interactions and relationships.
Another aspect of social exchange theory is that people expect equity in exchange. People expect to be rewarded equally for incurring the same costs, and when they aren’t, they are displeased.
History of social exchange theory
Social exchange theory was developed by George Homans, a sociologist. It first appeared in his essay “Social Behavior as Exchange,” in 1958. Homans studied small groups, and he initially believed that any society, community or group was best seen as a social system. To study that social system, it was first necessary to look at an individual’s behavior, instead of the social structures individuals created.
It was by studying small groups that Homans began to see the rewards and punishments each member of the group got from the group and other members. He developed a framework of elements of social behavior: interaction, sentiments and activities. These elements all had to be considered regarding a groups’ internal and external systems. He used this framework to study several groups—a study he published in “The Human Group,” his first book.
Later, Homans began to explain further the most basic level of social situations, called elementary social behavior, which is at least two people interacting, with one either rewarding or punishing the actions of the other. This idea reflects Homans adopting B.F. Skinner’s behavioral psychology theories about human behavior as well as basic principles of economics.
Homans suggested several propositions that theorize social behavior as an exchange of material and non-material goods, like time, money, effort, approval, prestige, power, etc. Every person provides rewards and endures costs. People expect to receive as much reward as they give to another and will choose actions that are likely to provide the greatest reward.
Homans is not the only person to develop social exchange theory. Many sociologists and other professionals have advanced social exchange theory. Peter Michael Blau didn’t focus on behaviorism, and instead, focused his theory on concepts such as preferences, interests, indifference curves and supply and demand. More modern takes on social exchange theory borrow from both men and particularly focus on power dynamics. Because of this variety, social exchange theory is not one solidified theory. Instead, different theorists use various concepts and assumptions for their particular application.
Assumptions of social exchange theory
Several assumptions make up social exchange theory:
- Social behaviors involve social exchanges of value.
- People are motivated to retain some value (reward) when they have to give something up (cost).
- People pursue social exchanges where they receive more rewards than their costs.
- Rewards and costs can be material or immaterial goods.
- People expect to be rewarded similarly when they incur the same costs (equity of exchange).
- People will terminate relationships when they believe the costs to be greater than the rewards.
- When measuring reward vs. costs, people compare to their expectations, previous experiences, or alternatives.
- People understand that “enough” rewards vs. costs differ from relationship to relationship and within the same relationship over time.
Applications of social exchange theory
Social exchange theory can be applied to many situations, including:
- Romantic relationships
- Workplace behavior
- Organizational management
- Business decisions
- Social power
- Consumer purchasing decisions
- Television viewing decisions
- Write short note on following:
- The Star of David is a Jewish religious symbol that represents Judaism.
- Religious symbolism is the use by a religion of symbols including archetypes, acts, artwork, events, or natural phenomena.
- Religions view religious texts, rituals and works of art as symbols of compelling ideas or ideals.
- The symbolism of the early Church was characterized as being understood by initiates only.
- Religious symbolism is effective when it appeals to both the intellect and the emotions.
- Although language is perhaps the most obvious system of symbols we use to communicate, many things we do carry symbolic meaning.
- Other gang members use these symbolic sartorial signals to recognize enemies and allies.
- According to Max Weber, symbols are important aspects of culture: people use symbols to express their spirituality and the spiritual side of real events, and ideal interests are derived from symbols.
- Cultures are shared systems of symbols and meanings.
- Alphabets are one example of a symbolic element of culture.
- Symbolic interactionists view the family as a site of social reproduction where meanings are negotiated and maintained by family members.
- Symbolic interactionism is a social theory that focuses on the analysis of patterns of communication, interpretation, and adjustment between individuals in relation to the meanings of symbols.
- This emphasis on symbols, negotiated meaning, and the construction of society as an aspect of symbolic interactionism focuses attention on the roles that people play in society.
- Symbolic interactionists also explore the changing meanings attached to family.
- Symbolic interactionists explore the changing meanings attached to family.
- Language is a symbolic system of communication based on a complex system of rules relating spoken, signed, or written symbols.
- A sign is a symbol that stands for something else.
- Signs can consist of sounds, gestures, letters, or symbols, depending on whether the language is spoken, signed, or written.
- Language is based on complex rules relating spoken, signed, or written symbols to their meanings.
- Parrots mimic the sounds of human language, but have they really learned the symbolic system?
- One important factor in how symbolic boundaries function is how widely they are accepted as valid.
- Symbolic boundaries are a “necessary but insufficient” condition for social change.
- He saw the symbolic boundary between the sacred and the profane as the most profound of all social facts, and the one from which lesser symbolic boundaries were derived.
- Rituals, whether secular or religious, were for Durkheim the means by which groups maintained their symbolic and moral boundaries.
- Mary Douglas has subsequently emphasized the role of symbolic boundaries in organizing experience, private and public, even in a secular society.
- The basic notion of symbolic interactionism is that human action and interaction are understandable only through the exchange of meaningful communication or symbols.
- According to symbolic interactionism, the objective world has no reality for humans, only subjectively-defined objects have meaning.
- It should also be noted that symbolic interactionists advocate a particular methodology.
- Thus, symbolic interaction tends to take two distinct, but related methodological paths.
- Symbolic Interaction arose through the integration of Structural Functionalism and Conflict Theories.
AIOU Solved Assignment Code 4687 Autumn 2023
- Rational choice theory
Rational choice theory refers to a set of guidelines that help understand economic and social behaviour.  The theory postulates that an individual will perform a cost-benefit analysis to determine whether an option is right for them.  It also suggests that an individual’s self-driven rational actions will help better the overall economy. Rational choice theory looks at three concepts: rational actors, self interest and the invisible hand.
The basic premise of rational choice theory is that the decisions made by individual actors will collectively produce aggregate social behaviour. The theory also assumes that individuals have preferences available choice alternatives. These preferences are assumed to be complete and transitive. Completeness refers to the individual being able to say which of the options they prefer (i.e. individual prefers A over B, B over A or are indifferent to both). Alternatively, transitivity is where the individual weakly prefers option A over B and weakly prefers option B over C, leading to the conclusion that the individual weakly prefers A over B. The rational agent will then perform their own cost-benefit analysis using a variety of criterion to perform their self-determined best choice of action.
One version of rationality is instrumental rationality, which involves achieving a goal using the most cost effective method without reflecting on the worthiness of that goal. Duncan Snidal emphasises that the goals are not restricted to self-regarding, selfish, or material interests. They also include other-regarding, altruistic, as well as normative or ideational goals.
Rational choice theory does not claim to describe the choice process, but rather it helps predict the outcome and pattern of choice. It is consequently assumed that the individual is self-interested or being homo economicus. Here, the individual comes to a decision that maximizes personal advantage by balancing costs and benefits.  Proponents of such models, particularly those associated with the Chicago school of economics, do not claim that a model’s assumptions are an accurate description of reality, only that they help formulate clear and falsifiable hypotheses. In this view, the only way to judge the success of a hypothesis is empirical tests. To use an example from Milton Friedman, if a theory that says that the behavior of the leaves of a tree is explained by their rationality passes the empirical test, it is seen as successful.
Without explicitly dictating the goal or preferences of the individual, it may be impossible to empirically test or invalidate the rationality assumption. However, the predictions made by a specific version of the theory are testable. In recent years, the most prevalent version of rational choice theory, expected utility theory, has been challenged by the experimental results of behavioral economics. Economists are learning from other fields, such as psychology, and are enriching their theories of choice in order to get a more accurate view of human decision-making. For example, the behavioral economist and experimental psychologist Daniel Kahneman won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2002 for his work in this field.