Symbolic Interactionism in the field..

As I read more on symbolic interactionism theory, I can’t help but be mindful of peace work I had participated in with Peaceful Schools International in Northern Ireland. The troubles in Northern Ireland resulted in a divide between Protestant and Catholic members of society. Catholics want a united Ireland (with the Republic of Ireland), while Protestants generally support the reign of the United Kingdom. For this reason, there is Catholic resentment toward the monarch. The school system in Northern Ireland is segregated into Catholic and Protestant schools. While visiting the Catholic schools, our group had to adjust to our audience by being mindful of the divide. We passed out Canadian pennies as a keepsake for the children (mutually beneficial relationship), in the Protestant schools, but not Catholic, as my next experience would prove the utility in not passing them out to Catholic schoolchildren. Our group held a cross-cultural communication day in which Catholic and Protestant students came together for our workshops and activities. One of the activities involved creating and trading art work. Upon passing a child the picture that had drawn for her, she would not accept it, pointing to the penny drawn on the picture with Queen Elizabeth on it. It was incredible to see the young age at which these children had established such strong views and bias toward another religion. This is an example of the socio-cultural tradition; the reproduction of social order. It was truly amazing to see the children of both religions come together and enjoy their day, wearing their regular clothing (no uniforms to distinguish), laughing and playing as if the troubles didn’t even exist.

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