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• Explores the understandings abroad in a culture as the meaningful matrix that guides our lives (Crotty,1998, p. 71) • Study the functional relationship between how we see ourselves (self-definition), how we see others (interpersonal perceptions); and how we think others see us. • To understand social reality and society from the perspective of the actors who interpret their world through and in social interaction. • To explain the set of understandings & symbols that give meaning to people’s interactions (Crotty, • 1998, p. 75)

Symbolic Interactionism
Dr. Vicente C. Handa

• Humans act toward things on the basis of meanings these things have for them • Meaning of such things is derived from, and arises out of, the social interactions that one has with one’s fellows • Meanings are handled in, and modified through, an interpretive process used by the person in dealing with things he encounters (Blumer, 1969, p. 2, cited by Crotty, 1998, p. 72)

Major concepts/terms used
• • • • • • Actor Social reality Social interactions Society Interaction Significant symbols (language & other symbolic tools)

Major concepts (cont.)
• Pragmatist philosophy (from the work of Charles Sanders Peirce); taken up and modified by William James & John Dewey • Pragmatism is the “attitude of looking away from first things, principles, “categories”, supposed necessities; and of looking towards last things, fruits, consequences, facts.” (James, cited by Crotty, 1998, p 73)

Contributing scholars
• George Herbert Mead, Mind, Self and Society (1934) social psychologist • Herbert Blumer, Symbolic Interactionism: Perspective & Method (1969) (Mead’s student) • Erving Goffman • Chicago School • Howard Becker (labelling theory) • Barney Glaser & Anselm Strauss (grounded theory) • Anselm Strauss (negotiated-order theory)


1967) • • • • • Methods Observation (participant and non-participant) Narratives Case study Field notes Interviews Critique • Subjectivities. • “Actors” put forward what they wish (eg tell you what you want to hear) • Has neglected topics such as social structures. 2001) 2 . when and why do they apply or enforce them? • Why are some people more likely than others to be recognized and labeled as rule-breakers? • How do their actions. can’t see through others’ eyes. power & ideology Research questions • How do teachers manage and display their feelings in work settings? • How is deviance produced by the creation and application of rules? Who makes those rules? How. Martin & Fine. institutions. interactions and selfconcepts change after becoming labeled deviant? (See Sandstrom.5/25/2010 Methodology • Ethnography • Grounded theory (Glaser & Strauss.