Symbolic interactionsim is of major importance in contemporary sociology. In this study, three authorities in the field collaborate to define symbolic interactionism and to describe, and present criticism of, the interactionist perspective. The contributions of G.H. Mead, J. Dewey, C.H. Cooley, W.I. Thomas and other theorists to the interactionist viewpoint on human behaviour and social life are examined. There is a systematic discussion of the diverse schools of thought within the field, including H.G. Blumer’s Chicago School, M.H. Kuhn’s Iowa School, E. Goffman’s dramaturgical approach and H. Garfinkel’s ethnomethodology. Criticisms of symbolic interactionism by both adherents and opponents to the perspective are selected and assessed. Throughout the book, the authors survey the social and intellectual sources of significant ideas, thereby incorporating a reflexive, sociology-of-sociology orientation.
1. The Genesis of Symbolic Interactionism 1.1. William James (1842-1910) 1.2. Charles Horton Cooley (1864-1929) 1.3. John Dewey (1859-1952) 1.4. W.I. Thomas (1863-1947) 1.5. George Herbet Mead (1863-1931) 1.6. Defining Characteristics of Early Interactionism 2. Varieties of Symbolic Interactionism 2.1. Introductory Remarks 2.2. The Chicago and Iowa Schools 2.3. The Dramaturgical Approach 2.4. Ethnomethodology 2.5. Summary 3. Criticisms of Symbolic Interactionism 3.1. In-house Criticisms 3.2. Non-interactionist Criticisms 3.3. Interactionism and its Biases 3.4. The Astructural Bias: Recent Evidence 3.5. Interactionists’ Indispensible Concepts 3.6. A Final Comment