The Interactionist believes that individuals are socialized with the help of interaction with other individuals with the help of symbols and the emulation of the roles of others. For them, play is important and plays a significant role in making children develop their personality. Read below to know more about Interactionist.
The interaction gave an individual agency as they let them construct their own identity based on his interaction and reaction for others. It is a “micro-perspective” which studies socialization of human under a magnifying glass and is not an abstract idea. However, Marxists criticized the theory on many grounds. Firstly, the Interactionist theory of socialization is not clear how meanings are created and who they benefit. Marxist believe that the Interactionist do not clearly find out a reason for a social identity. According to the Marxists perspective, he believed that meanings are created through social institutions like the family, school, media, religion etc, but we are not quite sure as to who does this meaning benefit. The Marxist would suggest that they benefit the ruling class within the society as agencies of socialization promote the “dominant ideology”.
Another criticism is that the Interactionist has based too much importance o individuals creating their own image. Marxist believe that society influences identity more than an individual’s creation of it. For them society imposes an objective reality onto people and false consciousness is developed. This means that the individual is unaware that they are being exploited and are simply products of economic circumstances. They are not creating a subjective reality, but accepting the one that has been created for them.
Another criticism is that it is not based on empirical evidence, which means there is not positivist data to confirm the reality of the assumptions of the Interactionist. Mead’s theory of construction of “me” completely ignores the biological aspect which Marxist argues are instill within individuals. Mead’s theory defines two types of personality development the ‘I” which is the active part and the “me’ which is the reservoir of social experience. Also, Interactionist claims that all development stages are universal, but how can it justify when a child has no parents, who will they get influenced from and imitate etc.
The Interactionist theory is also criticized for overlooking the deterministic nature of society where one’s goal is of achieving them are already set down by the society, thereby the individual has less choices. Contrariwise, the Interactionist theory of socialization is good to some extent, with their deep view about how individuals are socialized, but it cannot be generally applied for the whole society.