Editor: Professor Norman DenzinSubject: Sociology and Public Policy (view other series in this subject area)

 2018 ISI Impact Factor: 0.132 Information: Author guidelines | Publication ethics Other: Recommend this book series Also available in our: Emerald Social Sciences eBook Series CollectionOnline access: Online table of contents | Latest Volume RSS 

What is symbolic interactionism?

Symbolic interactionism is a distinctive approach to the study of human life (Blumer 1969). Symbolic interactionists assert that humans interpret and give meaning to the world through a complex set of symbols. The meanings for these symbols are generated through our interactions. It is through these interactions that humans develop a concept of self and larger social structures. Symbolic interactionism enables us to distinguish the meanings for these symbols attributed to these acts. The symbolic interactionist approach is a micro level orientation focusing on close up human interaction in specific situations. These situations are varied and plentiful allowing a wealth of theories, methods and viewpoints to be considered. Essentially human society consists of people engaging in symbolic interaction.

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The papers published in SSI are qualitative in nature and often of a field method empirical orientation. Typical work in SSI derives from:

Urban ethnographersPhenomenologistsEthnomethodologistsCritical theoristsHumanist sociologistsConflict theorists


Studies in Symbolic Interaction (SSI) is an ISI listed serial that locates current symbolic interactionist thought and provides contemporary readings of social situations. The papers are longer than the average journal article allowing more scope for expansion and development. To reflect the wide range of perspectives in symbolic interactionism, SSI draws on many interpretative resources including:

Post-structuralismReconstructivismPerformativityCritical race theoryFeminist theoryPosthumanismMaterials theoryPost-colonialismAffective theoriesQueer theory

Papers published in SSI are peer-reviewed. For more details about Emerald"s approach to Publication Ethics; please refer to the company guidelines.

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Radical Interactionism on the Rise is a very strong and refreshing book that intelligently actualizes G. H. Mead’s intuitions. Experienced sociologists who are already familiar with Symbolic Interactionism will find here an important questioning of this approach, which is being aptly revisited and constructively criticized. Likewise, scholars seeking a much needed critique of G. H. Mead’s position will appreciate this nuanced discussion about the intuitions of a man who at 68 died too soon to explore and reconsider all the dimensions he once put into light, as proven by the number of his posthumous books.On the other hand, students in pragmatics or in social psychology will appreciate Chapter 4 dedicated to John Dewey’s conception of dominance (as opposed to Marx’s definition). The most rewarding passages of this book explain the limits of Mead’s reasoning and how his followers (and some dissidents) added to his theoretical insights (36).

In summary, because of its welcome renewal of microsociology and the original proposals brought by all contributors, this Radical Interactionism on the Rise will be essential for university libraries in English-speaking countries. It would serve as well as a mandatory addendum to any seminar on microsociology for the salient issues explored and debated here.

Yves Laberge, Centr’ERE-UQAM, Canada

Studies in Symbolic Interaction (SSI) provides the community of symbolic interaction scholars with extended essays on key methodological and theoretical issues. Sometimes presented in themed sections, these worthwhile volumes have helped launch key developments over the last 35 years in topical areas such as discourse analysis, critical ethnography, performance ethnography, feminist methodology, cultural analysis, and media analysis, to name a few. The presentation of such cutting edge issues promotes the discipline while providing an alternative format for scholarly debate. I have benefitted from publishing and reading colleagues’ work in this creative series.

David Altheide - Emeritus Regents’ Professor, Arizona State University, USA

The Nature and Genesis of Radical Interactionism video

– Lonnie Athens, Seton Hall University, USA.

This video was recorded at the IVth Conference of the European Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction, 28-30 August 2013, Uppsala, Sweden.

With special thanks to the Department of Sociology, Uppsala University, Sweden.

Find out more about Radical Interactionism in the latest publication of SSI.

Why read SSI?

If you want to understand cause. Symbolic interactionism is central to what we as humans do.If you are studying or teaching a course in sociology, communications, qualitative methods: papers in SSI demonstrate ideas, concepts and social situations in innovative and engaging contexts.

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According to ISI the most cited papers in SSI are:

Editorial contact details

Series EditorProfessor Norman Denzin University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

PublisherPhilippa Grand

SSI invites original, analytical and interesting research. If you wish to contribute to a future volume, please submit a full paper to Professor Norman Denzin

Publication ethics

This publication adopts the Emerald Publication Ethics guidelines which fully support the development of, and practical application of consistent ethical standards throughout the scholarly publishing community. 

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Online table of contents

For more information about any of the volumes listed below, or to purchase a print copy, please click on the relevant volume title: