Although symbolic interactionism offers an adequate understanding of social interaction, its failure to investigate common sense reasoning' is a serious omission
Social interactions in society are made possible because of different symbols that are universally acceptable. It is this reason that makes it possible to use common sense to attach a given symbol to a specific meaning. It is easy to associate the nodding of the head with a positive answer or ‘yes’ as an answer to acceptance (Turner 2006: 211). Symbolic interaction therefore means a lot in regard to communication and interaction
Symbolic interactionism theory focuses mainly on the patterns that are employed in society to aid communication, interpretation as well as adjustment of people to fit into society. Symbols, in this case play a crucial role in aiding communication. Humans therefore give meaning to symbols in order to get meaning out of them (Turner 2006:213). But one wonders why common sense is not an integral part in this theory because it plays a major role in communication and interpretation. For instance, when one nods the head, it is assumed as an acceptance gesture and in symbolic interactionism, one wonders why common sense is not attributed to such a gesture.
Common sense in most cases is assumed to be the driving force behind social interaction. Meaning of a symbol is said to be arrived at thanks to the environment the people in it. This implies that once a symbol is associated with a given interpretation, then common sense will come into play because a person will be expected not to give a different interpretation from the one widely accepted (Hale 2010). But the problem comes in when common sense is not put into play especially when one deviates from the common acceptable interpretation for example, that of nodding the head to mean acceptance.
Practical reasoning calls for the use of common sense which symbolic interactionism theory fails to recognize. Practical reasoning recognizes the fact that words are given meaning depending on what is widely acceptable. Common sense reasoning gives communication and interaction the gist that makes interaction what it is. This can be seen through the use of factual analysis.
It is therefore inevitable to assume the role of common sense in symbolic interactionism. Both go hand in hand and borrow a lot from each other. It is upon those communicating to use both for the common good. It is easy to associate the nodding of the head with yes as an answer even if one does not utter a word as long as it is universally acceptable.
Hale, S. (2010). Contested Sociology: Rethinking Canadian Experience. Toronto: Pearson
Turner, J. T. (2006). Handbook of sociological Theory. New York: Springer