The individual’s actions, daily routines, habits and competencies play a central role in the society. The actions, habits, rituals, competencies, expertise, abilities and thinking of people are considered as the building blocks of social structures. They are the small units from which a huge unit i.e., whole society emerge and any changes and modifications in these small units also influences the big unit and lead to reproduction and re-structuring of the society. In this paper the role our individual actions, routine works, habits, and aptitude are discussed in detail and their influence for reproducing the society is explained. Social actions at individual levels can result in the sustainable place to live and can also result in chaos. The individual’s social actions of the individuals are considered as the cause and effect of the social order (Kreps, 1989). There are weak and strong ties that are created due to actions, habits, skills and capability of people. The strong societal ties play a significant role and helps in the re-formation of the society with strong social networks (Granovetter, 2005).
Considering the sociological approach, this contemplate that there is reciprocal relationship between the society and self. The self however exert its impact on the society through the individual actions and create groups, networks, institutions and organizations (Stryker, 1980). Reciprocally, the society influences self through the shared meanings and language, which enable an individual to acquire the role of other and engage in social relations and interactions and reveal upon oneself as an important object on oneself. This revealing or reflecting is the foundation of the selfhood (Mead, 1934). Our individual actions emerged in and and are reflective of the society. They help to make the societal structures and helps in understanding the society that is affected continuously by the self including individual actions, daily matters, and habits etc. the sociologists are concerned about the social structures: the patterns and forms and nature of society and the ways through which the social structures develop and are transformed.
The situational approach to society and self considers traditional and customary symbolic interactions and sees the society as all the time engaged in the process of creation through the definition and interpretation of the actors in the situation (Blumer, 1969). The actors however identify things that are needed to be considered for them and act on basis of identifications and try to fit their action lines with others in order to accomplish their desired goals and facilitate reproduction of the structure of the society. However, from this situational approach perspective the conclusion that can be drawn is that the individuals can perform whatever they can in the society, they are free to define the goals, actions and situation in a way that suits them and as a result of these acts the society keeps on changing, undergoes redevelopment and modifications. The society is however thought to be always in a flux state having no real structure and organization.
Furthermore, our individual competencies, behaviors, routines and actions are also embedded in the structural approach to symbolic interactionist viewpoints (Stryker, 1980). Considering this perspective, the society is not considered as being shaped tentatively. Instead it is assumed that the society is durable and stable as reflected in the organized and attractive regularities that characterize human actions. However the behavior patterns among the individuals have dissimilar levels of scrutiny and analysis and this is the key for understanding the connection between the self and the society. On one side, we just consider the behavior patterns of the individual over the time and then come to know about that individual. Further, by pooling various behavior patterns across the similar people, we come to recognize individuals of particular type. Moreover, on the other hand we can also see the patterns of behavior among different individuals in order to know how these patterns fit with the other people’s pattern for creating large behavior pattern that in turn lead to reformation of the social structure.
This is because; it is these bigger and larger patterns of relationship among individuals that comprise social structure. This fact can be illustrated with the help of following example. A scientist can act in several ways in order to make clarity herself and to other people. She want to clear the fact that she is analytical, careful, inclined experimentally and logical. She may however engage in several interactions and actions for conveying these descriptions and images. They are the individual behavior patterns that help to understand an individual scientist and the same behavior patterns are the part of the large structures of the society. With the change in these patterns the social structures undergo changes as social structures, actions and behavior patterns are directly related to one another. We can also find that the scientists who are logical, analytical, and careful and are experimentally disposed and can manage the things well, are elevated to the higher and esteemed positions in the organizations.
Considering a broader view, it can be seen that such people are at the prominent positions in the scientific societies and are occupying eminent positions in the policy as well as at the governmental level and circles and are modifying social structures in an efficient way. Their activities are maintaining boundaries between the scientists and non-scientists and are helping to flow the resources to the organizations and society to which they belong. The flow of the individuals in the important positions through elections mechanism and appointments is a vital part of social structure and because it help in the transfer of resources that they control and the processes and mechanisms that sustain these flows for improving and redeveloping the social structures. The individuals acts and actions however exist within context of full set action patterns, interactions and transfer of resources among all people all of which form the structures of the society. The social structures emerge from the individual actions, because there actions are organized and patterned among the individuals and they keep on patterned over time across people. They also occur in social structure context within which the individuals reside and exist. Considering this, social structure is a very conceptual idea. It is not the thing we can directly experience. We are not tuned directly to these patterns because they occur across people and develop over time.
Most of the patterns are very well attended to, recognized and named. They are involved in our routine language and daily habits, for example The New York Yankees, General Motors, Milwaukee, and the Brown family etc. some of them are well recognized but it is harder to point out them. For example, the country Club Set and The Working Class are not enjoying legal status, they are not legal entities and they are also not maintaining locations and offices. We can just point to the individuals that contribute to patterns of the behavior, which comprises of structure. Moreover, there are some structures that we do not tend to see at all without any special thought and effort. An example of such patterns is the action patterns that pave the way to glass ceiling in the organizations and prevent the qualified and skilled women from promoting to the position and seats of power and authority. Even so, they are also part of the social structures and it is the duty of sociologists to determine, attend to and know and understand such patterns prevailing in the society. This implies that the foundations and basis for analyzing the social structures emerge from the actions and behaviors of the individuals. This is due to the fact that the individuals get feedback from the social structures, change and adjust themselves accordingly in a way the structures operate in the society.
The individual actions, competences and daily habits and routine also help in redeveloping or reproducing society by social interactions between people who occupy certain positions i.e., statuses in the organizations or groups in the society. The interactions define the competencies, behaviors and actions of people because the interaction is not between the people but between various aspects of people having to complete their membership and role in that particular organization or group with which their identities are associated. For example being mother or father, we talk to children, being spouse, we converse with our partner. So, being an organization’s member we talk to and are answerable to our employer. The organizations or agencies also play an important role in shaping the individual competencies, skills, behaviors and action which in turn help to redesign the societal structures. Considering social structures and agency, for the social structure we concentrate on the external and also talk about the actors that are playing or taking a role in the society and influencing the structures through their actions. In this case, the social structures having identities embedded in it are fixed and people perform the roles that are allotted to them. For example teachers do teaching as they are supposed to do and in this way various people by performing or not performing their roles lead to success or failure of the organization respectively and hence play their part for rebuilding society structure.
Basically, the social structures develop and persist with the actions performed by the individuals. The individuals are hired and fired from the particular position, they play their role though their actions and make or mar the social structures. There is also an agency function in the society that is reshaping the social structures. As an agent, individual can create or make a role by forming behavioral decisions and choices and engaging in compromise and negotiation as well as in conflicts. It is evident from the research that making and accumulating the roles and role identities can promote greater well being and a restructured society (Thiots, 2001). In this case the reverse is also true in a way that more psychological well being permits individuals to actively achieve several role identities over the time, especially role identities of neighbor etc. so, by considering the interactions between the individual’s identities the social structures are also addresses due to direct influence and also because social structures are accomplishment of the actors and they also show how these actors act in their own created social structures.
Furthermore, Thoits finds that the reverse is also true: greater psychological well-being allows individuals to actively acquire multiple role identities over time, particularly voluntary role identities such as neighbor and churchgoer. When individuals feel good about themselves they take on more identities. In general, therefore, examining the nature of interaction between identities means addressing both social structure and agency. We must go back and forth and understand how social structure is the accomplishment of actors, but also how actors always act within the social structure they create. Role identities, through which people affect the social structures comprise of a set of several meanings (Tully, and Burke, 1977). Considering an example that role identity of male is competitive, independent and self confident and these allow him to perform various actions such as he can work independently or with the organization in order to earn his living and to support his family and change the social structures in a positive way. Moreover, due these identities, he can also exercise undue power and influence on other such as on women and can lead to fault and defective societal apparatus.
The identities are linked to actions and behaviors of the individuals and they are related to the social structures in a way that they formulate the meaningful and significant behaviors of people that are the output of identity into the role behaviors. The role behaviors are the means that strives for keeping self related perceptions in the situation in accordance with the connotation held in standards of identity. In other words, an individual strives for the self verification. Leary and Tangney (2005, pp.137-139) found that the role behaviors are also accomplished via interactions with other people, whose behavior is the result of his own identity procedures that also struggle for the self verification. All the interactive session or setting’s participants mutually complete their individual self verification if all is going well. This is due to the fact that the each individual is motivated for matching the meaning that is relevant to his self with the self-meanings in respective standards of identity, and also the actions of every individual disturb or change the meaning of the situation. As far as self verification is concerned it can be accomplished only by mutual cooperation and agreement upon the arrangements of the performance of the roles and actions.
However, all this do not occue automatically. The performances are expanded and the standards of identity are modified and negotiations are carried out as the individual finds the ways for achieving the self verification. In case conformity is observed between the identity standards and appraisals, the roles of partners are reinforced and strengthened and the stringer social structures emerge. So, the identity should be verified as it paves the way to the feelings of worth and competency and increase the self esteem. Lack of the identity leaves the individual unaccepted and inefficacious by the group. His actions may be restricted due to poor identity and this will restrict the growth of the society. Further there is self esteem and it works as the defense mechanism. In case the self verification is not achieved by the people then the self esteem safeguard the individual from the distress that arises due to the lack of personal verification and it also helps to protect the threats associated with the structural arrangements of the society (Cast, and Burke, 2002).
Furthermore, in order to increase the self esteem people create opportunity structures for self verification. They explore the opportunities and new horizons for exploring their identity in the society and this create self motivation and direction providence behavior in them. These motivated actions and behaviors then further assist the individual to maintain good relations with the people living in the society and help to reproduce an affectionate and cooperative society.
The competencies of individuals are very important for reorganization the society structures. The individuals concentrate on the demand side skill equation and then adjust themselves according to that for matching their skills with those required in order to work better for the prosperity of the society. The individuals recognize the competencies of other people, such as problem solving. For example the employers judge the analytical skills of individuals in engineering that are needed to solve the problems of the society and developing the structures of society. The employees however show these skills through various actions and works that they do. These problem solving competencies are treated as the advanced developmental stages having particular skills, instead of treating them as the discrete competencies.
Further, in order to reproduce the social structure individuals individuals can access fluency in cross cultures, literacy in financial field, thinking about the systems and other things that are important for the economy. In United Kingdom, enormous work is done and research is conducted in order to measure the competencies directly for re-shaping the society. Similar strategy is being followed in Australia and New Zealand. Competency measuring frameworks are designed there at national level and skill surveys are conducted in order to ensure the proper functioning and working in the society. This is also done to ensure that people are enjoying freedom for doing rightful actions that contribute to the growth of the society help to re build it in a new and innovative way. The competencies improve performance and provide the benefits to the individuals for doing their duty in an efficient manner that is beneficial for the organization and ultimately for the society. The encouragement of competency development help to unpack various skills of the individuals and various actions that an individual can perform in order to work for the betterment and improvement of the society.tehy help in the creation of job facilities, proficiency development and recognition of the under developed areas, which people feel pleasure to take actions and improve these conditions. This lead to the personal satisfaction of the individuals, which then work more effectively for the society and whole society, can be transformed.
In nut shell, individual actions, behaviors, routines, daily habits and competencies play a very important role in reproducing the structure of the society. They exert their direct influence on the society structures. Good individual behaviors, actions, effective habits and routines and significant competencies results in a society that is worth living. A society may have to face devastating results in case the actions, routines and competencies are not supportive and are not according to the requirement of the societal structures.
Kreps, Gary A., 1987. Social Structure and Disaster. Associated University Press, Inc: USA
Granovetter, Mark., 2005. The Impact of Social Structures on Economic Outcomes. Journal of Economic Prospective, 19 (1), pp.33-50.
Stryker, S., 1980. Symbolic Interactionism: A Social Structural Version. Menlo Park: Benjamin Cummings
Mead, G. H., 1934. Mind, self, and society. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Blumer, H., 1969. Symbolic Interactionism. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Thoits, P. A., 2001. Personal Agency in the Accumulation of Role-identities. Bloomington, In: The Futureof Identity Theory and Research: A Guide for a New Century Conference.
Tully, J. and Burke, P. J., 1977. The Measurement of Role Identity. Social Forces, 55, pp. 881-897
Leary, Mark R. and Tangney, June Price., 2005. Handbook of Self and Identity. Guildford Publications, Inc: New York
Cast, Alicia D. and Burke, Peter J., 2002. The Theory of Self Esteem. Social Forces, 80(3), pp.1041-1068