Monday, April 04, 2011


Symbolic interactionism assumes that man is social, and with, in constant exchange with his surroundings that shapes us as human beings. The individual human being can integrate with others but also himself. This means that the individual at every moment, can be active in defining the situation they are in. What makes up the individual situation is for the individual a result of interpretations of the current situation. When people are described as active creatures who respond to their surroundings, it is also assumed, to understand human behaviour we must focus on social interaction, human cognition, the defined situation, time frame, and the active nature of man. The view of ourselves is how we perceive ourselves through our environment. We are responsible for this interpretation when we create our perspective within us. "The world does not tell us what it is, we actively reach out and understand it and decide what to do with it". Different backgrounds (value/belief) and systems underpinning the way we perceive the world around us and with what tools we read and process our impressions influence the individual interpretations of our self, situations, and reality as a whole.

Underlying of the concept of sustainable future is the conviction that everything in the world is interdependent. We are all part of interconnected systems of humans and nature. These systems change over time, and have more than one equilibrium position. Various feedback loops make the system dynamic and can even lead to chaotic changes. To have a system that, can take some interference and does not not alter it’s state drastically is the key to sustainability (resilient thinking). Adaptability when living in such a system is to have an understanding of not only details but of the whole system, to have strategies for rapid change, knowing how to reorganize after any change and have strategies for dealing with uncertainty and surprises (adaptive approcach). Sustainability is based on the three concepts of ecological, economical and social sustainability. These are called the three legs of sustainability. The legs are seemingly in a conflict with each other and must be discussed and understood to be balanced. One can also infer that if the ecology is in balance, the economy would be in balance and therefore the social meanings. Or simply told, if the ecology of society is taken into consideration it would be good even for people in the long term. But, to get to the point that we can think of ecology, we must begin by arranging the individuals and talk about the problems. Thus, the process towards a sustainable society is only as important as it’s definition (Hallberg and Ljung, 2005).

Objects are constituted of whatever people indicate or refer them to be (Blumer, p 68). People do not see reality as it is, but they interpret what they experience and form a picture of reality. We use perspectives. Each social science brings a perspective on human beings. In each case, reality, as it is, is not open for us.

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