Social interaction, Definition, Elements, Types & Forms

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 00:42 -- Umar Farooq

Social interaction is the basis of the whole social order. Social group is the product of social interaction. There is interaction among animals and birds also. It is the real foundation of all social processes, structure, social groups and functions. In so­ciology interaction is the gate of its knowledge.

First you should aware that What is an interaction in sociology? It is a social process between two or more than two persons. It is always reciprocal in nature. It can be called a stimulus-response condition among the individuals. It is like a bandied ball against a wall. When two persons talk with each other or respond to each other on telephone or internet, develop correspondence through letter, there is an interaction. A mother suckling milk to her child, there is interaction between mother and her child. A doctor attends a patient, a customer buys a thing from a shopkeeper and a passenger gets ticket from the booking clerk. It means interaction is social relationship among the individuals. It. is a sort of action and reaction position among the people.

Definition of Social Interaction

Dawson and Gettyes define Social Interaction as "it is a process by which men interpenetrate the minds of each other".

According to Merrill, "Social-interaction is the general process whereby two or more persons are in a meaningful contact, as a result of which their behavior is modified however slightly."

According to Corkiness. "Social interaction is such a process which influences the overt behavior or state of mind of the individuals."

Social interaction is an event which changes the behavior and attitude of the interacting persons. It is a social relationship among at least two persons. It changes the societal conditions of life of the people. Interaction is the soul of social life and relationship. It produces group which is the foundation stone of society.

Elements of Social Interaction

The following are the elements of social interaction:

  1. Two or more than two persons
  2. Reciprocal relationship among them
  3. Influence on the event, behavior, brain of the persons.

These three conditions interrelate the people among themselves and convert them into social groups.

Types of Social Interaction

According to Young and Mack there are two types of social interaction between people and societies

Direct or Physical Interaction: it involves physical action among the individuals. Beating, biting, thrashing, pulling, pushing, killing, scratching, boxing, wrestling, kissing etc. are the examples of direct interaction. Two teams playing match and a war between the forces of two countries are also examples of this interaction. This Types influences other by physical action in different ways.

Symbolic Interaction: There are different types of relationships between people. It involves the use of language and symbols. It means communication through a common language is symbolic process. This is the most common method of human societies. Human beings convey their ideas through language and it is completed by reciprocal response. The methods of communication devised by man are sharp and effective than these of animals. All cultures develop, expand and change only through language symbolic interaction. Without language no culture can live. There is no culture in animals due to the fact that there is no common language among them. Through language man stores its previous experiences and transmits them to the following generation with a change.

Man uses instruments to facilitate this. Telephone, wireless, telegraph, postal system, rail, road, sea and air services all are various means of communication and transportation. Gestures are also symbolic ones. Deaf and dumb convey their ideas through voice, and gestures of hands and eyes.

What are the Forms of Social Interaction in a Society

It is found in various forms among human societies

Between individual and individual: It is the interaction between at least two persons. The doctor and the patient, the mother and the child, the customer and the shopkeeper are the various examples in this case.

Between individual and group: It operates between one person and more. A teacher teaching his class a speaker addressing the audience, an Imam leading prayers are its common examples.

Between group and group: This is found between two groups of people like two teams playing match, two forces fighting against each other, two delegates discussing an issue.

Between individuals and culture: This form is found when the people listen to radio, see television, read newspaper enjoy pictures and observe exhibitions. Radio, T.V. cinema, newspapers, books, exhibitions, theatre, drama, circus, fairs and other socio-cultural activities are included in the Culture of a society. People have social interaction and social relationship with these media of mass communication and get social change in their life. The people change these media as they require on the other hand. In this way reciprocal process between the people and the culture goes on.