Micro-Sociology is a term used in sociology that pertains to the social world. In the reading “Contemporary Sociological Theory” by Craig Calhoun, he discusses and defines Micro-Sociology which he states, “Sociology that focuses primarily on persons and interpersonal relations (1 Calhoun)”. Calhoun also mentions a different approach to micro-sociological analysis; he insists that the most prominent approach is symbolic interactionism. Calhoun states “people develop their identities and their senses of how society works and what constitutes fair play in the course of their interaction with each other (Calhoun 1)”. This term can be referred as humans defining one’s action instead of instead of reacting to one’s action. For instance, if someone hits you, you have two choices, you hit them back or restrain yourself from retaliation because you are disciplined and you have gained that experience in knowing the outcome. In society, there are many ways to link this theory to the social world, but this was more so thought of a historical social action. The historical story of Rosa Parks is considered a Symbolic Interaction because she did not react when she was asked to move to the back of the bus due to her race. Although she felt disrespected, Rosa Parks did not react. She did not move from her seat. This is considered a symbolic reaction because of her actions as not responding to the bus driver.
We are all familiar with black history in today’s society. There are numerous amounts of stories that have changed society for the better, like what we see it today. Rosa Parks, born in 1913, was an African American woman who is also known as “the mother of the freedom movement”. She was asked by a white bus driver to give up her seat to a white passenger. However, Rosa did not respond to the bus driver so he decided to call the police. The police then arrive and ask her to move again, but she refused and afterwards she was arrested. This story connects with a lot more civil rights movements because blacks were treated cruel and unfair. Due to Rosa’s refusal, by her not reacting to the bus driver’s orders of moving from seat to seat she fought for what she believed in.
Rosa Parks along with other civil rights movements can be viewed as symbolic reactions because the non-response action they gave made it easier for them to fight for civil rights. Instead of responding, the African Americans knew to practice nonviolence. This was successful for blacks to become equivalent to whites. Parks used symbolic reaction. She fought for what she believed in and because of that the world became more equal, no matter what race age or gender. This also occurs because Parks, along with other African Americans fought for what they believed in such freedom and equality.
Overall, symbolic interaction was displayed because Rosa Parks did not react, even though she was felt disrespected, she did not move from her seat. This is considered a symbolic reaction because of her actions as not responding to the bus driver. Calhoun introduced symbolic reaction as defining an individual’s actions instead of responding to them. As for applying it, this is more symbolic because there was no reaction. It is thought of as a person that is approached negatively and they can decide to respond or avoid reacting to the individual who approached them. Parks knew what could have happened if she refused, but she still decided not to move. She fought to stand her ground and gain respect from the white police officer, white bus driver, and white passengers. Park’s choice to refuse to move out of her seat to fight for civil rights, which was something she believed in, consists of a social action. The world around us has changed due to Parks not responding and other freedom fighters.
Calhoun, Craig J. Contemporary Sociological Theory.pg 26-77. Oxford: Blackwell, 2002. Print