Meanings and Situations is an account of the ‘interactionist’ position. It is a committed account in the sense that it sees the central concerns of social psychology and sociology as being located in an interpretative and humanistic framework. At the same time, it argues for a bio-social image of man which does not do violence to the way in which men in interaction continuously construct and renegotiate ‘meaning’. This is in contrast to some of the highly fashionable ‘exchange’ and ‘game’ models of interaction which dominate the thinking of proponents of ‘respectable’ behavioural science. Hence, so the author urges, the current upsurge of interest in social phenomenology, ethnomethodology and symbolic interactionism is more than a reaction to the reigning paradigm in behavioural science. Arthur Brittan believes this new interest is essentially a return to the humanistic sources of these disciplines which have been in constant danger of being overwhelmed by the ‘behavioural ideology’.
Part 1. Interaction as Sociological Grammar 1. The Conception of Interaction 2. Non-symbolic Interaction 3. Emotional Identification and the Grammar of Sociation 4. The Grammar of Symbolic Sociation (1) Acts, Scenes and Agents 5. The Grammar of Symbolic Sociation (2) Purposes and Agencies Part 2. Models of Interaction 6. Interaction as Drama 7. Interaction as Game and Exchange 8. Interaction as the Negotiation of Identity Part 3. Conclusion 9. Interaction, Selves and Social Fragmentation 10. Reservations