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Symbolic Interactionism and Reggae Music

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1 Symbolic Interactionism and Reggae Music
By: Jessica Kattenburg Sociology 101

2 About Symbolic Interactionism
Symbolic Interactionism or also called Interactionism is a major theoretical perspective in sociology Symbolic Interactionism is based on researchers study of how people react or respond to things that have symbolic meaning

3 Main Influences There has been many people involved with research and study of symbolic interactionism The two primary influences on the subject are George Herbert Mead and Herbert Blumer Blumer and Mead studied together at the University of Chicago

4 Theories Mead argues that peoples selves are social products, and the selves are purposive and creative Blumers view of the perspective is that people act on things based on the meaning those things have for them Mead was more experienced and a American Philosopher-he concentrated on the subjective meaning of human behavior and the human process However-it was Blumer who is responsible for creating the term “symbolic Interactionism” Blumer’s view of the perspective is the most influential

5 A few more things… Interactionism is important in sociology-it creates fluxuation in the social structure of society Our text book reveals in chapters 4 & 5 how interactionists contend that all social life, inclusive of social institutions are in a constant state of flux Symbolic Interactionism plays a role in peoples decision making process as well as daily interactions

6 The Connection The correlation between symbolic interactionism and reggae music is… Symbolic interactionism is responsible for changes in social structure-thus causing changes in society-leading to changes in culture, music, and the arts Interactionism also can cause individuals to respond based on whatever meaning a symbol has to them Interactionism could be responsible for certain outlooks upon something based on what a thing means to them or to others- Reggae music is a good example back there are many opinions and stereotypes about it

7 What is Reggae? Reggae is a type of music developed in Jamaica during the late 1960’s There are other styles-but only 2 basic-Roots Reggae and Dancehall Roots reggae is considered the original Reggae music emerged out of rough political times in Jamaica There was oppressive social conditions on the island during this time

8 Along with Reggae When most people think of reggae, they associate the music symbolically- usually with marijuana and Rastafarian culture As previously mentioned- Reggae developed in Jamaica and Rastafarian culture is native to the island Most people symbolize Rastafarian culture with marijuana or as it is called in the culture “Ganja”

9 Rastafarian culture Followers of this culture are called Rastafarians
Rasta is the religion of the island-The Rastafarian religion is sometimes associated with resistance The Rastafarian are also known for their religious rituals-most commonly their consumption of ganja Rastafarians often distance themselves from the colonial culture of the island

10 Ganja Ganja is considered “wisdom weed” by Rastafarians
Ganja can be consumed by various methods-primarily it is smoked-the smoking of ganja is part of a religious ritual-when Rastafarians come together there is something called a “reasoning” gathering where a large pipe is passed around and smoked Rastafarians only smoke ganja-they do not smoke tobacco back of its harmful effects to the body Ganja or marijuana is looked upon negatively in the United States-in Rastafarian culture its considered highly useful and is a special tool for religious rituals Ganja has been compared to wine in Christianity for taking communion

11 Other Reggae Symbols Aside from Rasta and Ganja there are other important symbols that represent reggae A very significant symbol for reggae music is Bob Marley-although there are others… There are also new symbols for reggae music

12 Bob Marley Bob Marley was a popular reggae artist from the late 1960’s through the 1980’s Marley was a lyrical genius and an explosive performer Marley is a symbol for reggae music-especially for people outside Rastafarian culture Marley begun singing/writing during the political turmoil that was devouring Jamaica at the time Marley was an active Rastafarian and smoked ganja religiously

13 Making Assumptions Those who do not understand reggae music and the culture behind it assume that it promotes drug use and resistance this is a comment assumption in the United States Some individuals consider the music as drug music and make negative assumptions based upon what they “think” they know about it As mentioned-most assumptions about reggae are negative-unfortunately this leads individuals to differentiate themselves from the music and the messages it carries This way they become close-minded toward the music and its symbols

14 On a positive note There are many positive things about reggae music
If you are looking for a political message you can sometimes find it and it can become an inspiration-or someone could be seeking just the music itself-the rhythm One great thing about Marley’s music is that his lyrics are very influential and usually contain some form of message

15 Marley’s Messages Bob marleys ability to relate to many people is due to his atmosphere growing up in oppressed conditions and his personal life experiences Marley’s lyrics bring comfort to many-especially those who are still dealing with the chaos in Jamaica. Marley’s lyrics can apply or relate to anyone Usually Marley sends messages about love, peace, and happiness through his songs Some of these are “one love”-”redemptions song” “three little birds” etc.

16 The Problem The problem is that there are too many people who assume-based on stereotype or what others have symbolized There are few who do research and what to seek the true meaning of something before making their decision or symbolization

17 Reggae Now? After Marley’s death there were some other artists and bands to make names for themselves in reggae music There is still some of the negative outlooks on reggae though there is a little bit of an understanding now Some other reggae artists/forms of reggae are still currently making music The new reggae is not considered authentic Some current artists are Sublime and Slightly Stoopid

18 Future of Reggae There seems like more and more people are beginning to appreciate reggae both old and new Unfortunately we have lost very influential artists-Bob Marley and Bradly Nowell of Sublime- both very popular among reggae listeners-they differ in style but one comes from another-Sublime newer) formed in the late 1980’s and started the reggae scene in California- one of their main influences was bob Marley Another reggae band formed shortly after Nowells death-they are called Slightly Stoopid-from Cali as well- their influences are Marley and Nowell- Slightly Stoopid uses much of both’s material

19 Summing up… Symbolic interactionism is a major theoretical perspective that applies to many things and issues of society Interactionism can influence change upon society and it’s social structure Reggae music is only an example of how symbolically people can make assumptions and decisions


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