Which Is More Important in Shaping Individual Identity: Social Structure or Social Interaction.

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Throughout the life long process of developing a sense of self the there are two factors that shape an individual. Who we are internally and who we present ours self to others and have conformed to social norms through the context of socialization. Within the process of socialisation, social structure and social interaction are both essential ingredients in an individual’s day-to-day life. This is because humans have the need to interact with each other for survival needs and furthermore maintain existence. According to the Macionis and Plummer, socialisation is defined as; “The lifelong social experiences by which individuals develop their human potential and learn patterns of their culture (Cited in Macionis & Plummer, 2012, p. 695).” Socialisation establishes the importance of an individual’s social identity through both aspects of social structure and social interaction. Throughout this essay we will explore which is more important in shaping individual’s identity. Social structure is established by the social relationships that the individual interacts with because of accepted norms and shared values, and is defined by Macionis and Plummer as “Relatively stable patterns of social behavior (Cited in Macionis & Plummer, 2012, p. 695).” Within social structure are class, status and institutions and will be expanded upon later in detail on the way they influence one social identity. Although social structure has changed over time, there are still two major sub-fields; macro-level orientation that “focuses on broad social structures that characterize society (Cited in Macionis & Plummer, 2012, p. 27)”. Where micro-level orientation is “a focus on patterns of social interaction in specific situations (Cited in Macionis & Plummer, 2012, p. 28)”. Social interaction is the way in which people talk and act with each other. Interaction can be between two
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