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Symbolic Interaction

Impact factor: 0.811 5-Year impact factor: 0.824 Print ISSN: 0195-6086 Publisher: Wiley Blackwell (John Wiley & Sons)

Subject: Sociology

Most recent papers:

  • Playing the Interrogation Game: Rapport, Coercion, and Confessions in Police Interrogations.
    Gary C. David, Anne Warfield Rawls, James Trainum.
    Symbolic Interaction. 5 days ago
    The United States is having an “interrogation moment,” where increasing attention is being paid to what happens when suspects are questioned by the police. The manner in which confessions are secured can go directly to a society's sense of justice and fairness, as nowhere are positions of power and vulnerability so pronounced as in the interrogation room. This paper contributes to our understanding of police interrogation through discussing what we refer to as playing the interrogation game. We explore how rapport‐building helps to create a sense of collaboration between suspect and police. However, once a suspect agrees to answer questions and waives Miranda rights, the game changes. The new game can be more adversarial, aiming for the suspect to give a confession usable toward prosecution. We discuss how police, by knowing and shaping the rules of the interrogation game, have an advantage in the game which makes it very difficult for the suspect to win. Finally, we propose a number of recommendations that could foster a better balance in playing the game. A video abstract is available at https://tinyurl.com/ycqvp94k
    July 16, 2017   doi: 10.1002/symb.317   open full text
  • Doing Gender Beyond the Binary: A Virtual Ethnography.
    Helana Darwin.
    Symbolic Interaction. 7 days ago
    This article advances the “doing gender” framework by highlighting some unique interactive challenges that nonbinary individuals encounter within the binary gender system. In order to access testimony about these experiences from a large group of people, this study turns to a genderqueer community on the social media site Reddit. Discourse analysis of discussion threads and content analysis of selfies reveal various symbolic mechanisms through which nonbinary people do, redo, and undo gender. These findings illuminate a range of strategies that people utilize to negotiate gender attribution within the gender binary system. A video abstract is available at http://tinyurl.com/y7odrxbd.
    July 14, 2017   doi: 10.1002/symb.316   open full text
  • “Gimme a Pigfoot and a Bottle of Beer”: Food as Cultural Performance in the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
    Daina Cheyenne Harvey.
    Symbolic Interaction. 7 days ago
    In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the federal levee failures, hundreds of thousands of volunteers went to New Orleans to help rebuild. Food was quickly used as a way to welcome volunteers, to compensate them for their hard work, to celebrate progress in rebuilding community, and to interact with others. In time, however, the giving and consuming of food was renegotiated. Volunteers coming to New Orleans expected meals representative of New Orleans's foodways. This article looks at the cultural performance of food in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In particular, I analyze the symbolic exchanges of food in what I call performances of reciprocity and performances of solidarity. This study adds to the burgeoning work in symbolic interaction on food, especially as it pertains to progressive spaces of cultural politics.
    July 14, 2017   doi: 10.1002/symb.318   open full text
  • Cooperative Accounts: Avoiding Conflict and Repairing Social Relations.
    Stephen C. Poulson, Timothy J. Carter, Daniel M. Crowley.
    Symbolic Interaction. 7 days ago
    The analytical concept of accounts has long presented sociologists with an excellent tool for the study of talk. Nonetheless, studies of accounts often neglect the fact that cooperation is common when an account for untoward behavior is constructed. Many studies tend to flatten the process of how accounts are created by routinely describing them as being “offered” by offenders and then “evaluated” by reproachers. We assume that accounts are often negotiated between parties as a means of avoiding conflict and preserving a relationship. As such, this paper develops the concept of cooperative accounts that are offered to (or projected upon) offenders as a means of explaining their untoward behavior. While also examining hostile accounts, this paper concentrates on developing the cooperative account in order to investigate more fully Scott and Lyman's (1968) argument that accounts are crucial for managing conflict and maintaining social order. Because offering cooperative accounts to others is a routine social interaction their examination provides an opportunity to reanchor the study of accounts back into the symbolic interactionist tradition.
    July 14, 2017   doi: 10.1002/symb.314   open full text
  • Social Network Challenges to Reducing Consumption: The Problem of Gift Giving.
    Janet A. Lorenzen.
    Symbolic Interaction. July 05, 2017
    Social networks are typically associated with recruitment tactics. In this article, I offer an additional perspective on social networks as a constraint to social change and an under‐recognized challenge to reducing consumption. I draw on 45 interviews with: voluntary simplifiers, religious environmentalists, and green home owners. Informants, failing to withdraw from gift‐giving networks, instead (1) negotiate a reduction in gift giving, (2) green gift giving, and (3) attempt to transform gift giving into a tactic for lifestyle change. Rather than viewing social networks as channels for cultural cohesion, I argue that we need to better conceptualize the way culture and networks are co‐constituted by tactics of influence within areas of contention.
    July 05, 2017   doi: 10.1002/symb.312   open full text
  • Scared to Death: Reflections on Panic and Anxiety in the Field.
    Ashleigh E. McKinzie.
    Symbolic Interaction. June 02, 2017
    This paper examines reflections about researcher emotions and the experience of having panic attacks and panic disorder as a result of fieldwork. Anxiety and panic are sparsely discussed in methodological appendices and handbooks about qualitative research, and the embodiment of mental health in the field has received even less attention. I have two aims in the paper: to describe the experience of panic attacks and to open a discussion about panic and anxiety attacks in the field. The failure to address mental health problems as a result of fieldwork can negatively impact expert and fledgling ethnographers, and should be remedied.
    June 02, 2017   doi: 10.1002/symb.298   open full text
  • Stigmatized Identities: Too Muslim to Be American, Too American to Be Muslim.
    Patrick Michael Casey.
    Symbolic Interaction. June 02, 2017
    In the United States today, Muslim identity is highly stigmatized. Much of this can be attributed to an increasing climate of Islamophobia. The current study finds that some Muslim Americans are confronted with another source of stigma: other Muslims. Using interview data with 23 Muslim Americans in and around Houston, TX, this study examines the intersection of religious out‐group and in‐group stigma in the lives of Muslim Americans. Findings suggest that stigma comes not only from non‐Muslims, but also from other Muslims. Some Muslim Americans are especially vulnerable to religious in‐group stigma. Those who are most acculturated to non‐Muslim, Western culture often face criticism from Muslim communities, be they inside or outside the United States. These Muslim Americans find that they are not perceived as fully Muslim or fully American, and therefore denied the full benefits of either status while simultaneously bearing the burden of both. This paper articulates the multiple dimensions of stigma faced by Muslims in America.
    June 02, 2017   doi: 10.1002/symb.308   open full text
  • Advancing the Sociology of Empathy: A Proposal.
    Natalia Ruiz‐Junco.
    Symbolic Interaction. May 19, 2017
    Empathy is an increasingly popular term in the public sphere and in academia. Although the common belief is that empathy is a “psychological” topic, sociologists have made important contributions to this conversation. The goal of this article is to provide a theoretical effort in advancing the sociology of empathy. In the first part of the paper, I review classical and contemporary statements on empathy. I identify Charles H. Cooley as an important precursor of the sociology of empathy, and discuss how contemporary interactionists have further developed this notion. Based on these previous insights, I next propose a preliminary framework for the study of the social construction of empathy. This framework is presented in two steps. First, I introduce a vocabulary based on interpretivist concepts: empathy frames, empathy rules, and empathy performances. Next, I coin the idea of empathy paths. I theorize three ideal‐typical empathy paths: self‐transcendent, therapeutic, and instrumental. Throughout this presentation, I use empirical cases to illustrate the applicability of this framework. In the conclusion, I show how sociologists can inform public understandings of the meaning of empathy.
    May 19, 2017   doi: 10.1002/symb.306   open full text
  • Identity Work, Techniques of Neutralization, and Deviance: Exploring the Relationship Among Older Adult Gamblers.
    Jascha Wagner, D'Janna Hamilton, Tammy L. Anderson, Veronica F. Rempusheski.
    Symbolic Interaction. May 19, 2017
    This study investigates the value of techniques of neutralization in understanding how people involved in marginal to widely deviant behaviors perform identity work. Based on 33 in‐depth interviews with older adult gamblers, we show how techniques of neutralization are used to align personal and social identities. We describe the techniques of neutralizations our participants use along a continuum of gambling involvement, showing how techniques differ in variety and content and are contingent on larger narratives about appropriate behaviors, identities, and selves operating in contemporary society. Our research helps to refine sociologists' understandings of relationships between levels of involvement in deviant behaviors and identity work.
    May 19, 2017   doi: 10.1002/symb.304   open full text
  • “The Way That I Look at Things [Is] Different Because It's Me”: Constructing and Deconstructing Narratives About Racialized Sexual Selves.
    Beth Montemurro.
    Symbolic Interaction. May 15, 2017
    Many gender scholars have abandoned the notion that we can explore women's experiences without attention to other identities such as race, class, and/or sexual orientation. Until now, the ways race influences the development of sexual selves has been underexplored. In this paper, I focus on heterosexual women's accounts of the interplay of race, gender, and sexualities. Based on in‐depth interviews with sixty‐two white and African American heterosexual women between the ages of twenty and sixty‐eight, I examine the ways in which narrative work tells a story about the presentation of public sexual selves. I also explore how women's personal narratives are impacted by larger cultural narratives about race. Specifically, through a study of sexuality, I focus on the social construction of “postracialism.”
    May 15, 2017   doi: 10.1002/symb.300   open full text
  • “If I Can Offer You Some Advice”: Rapport and Data Collection in Interviews Between Adults of Different Ages.
    Jessica Vasquez‐Tokos.
    Symbolic Interaction. May 04, 2017
    Reflexively analyzing interactions between myself (young adult woman) and 150 adult research participants, I explore how interviewees responded to the interviewer's perceived age in combination with other social identity categories. Addressing a gap in scholarship on adult‐adult interview interactions, this article examines how age gradations, in combination with other axes of similarity or difference, affect researcher‐interviewee rapport and data acquisition. Racial similarity, regardless of age, unlocked access to the topic of race/ethnicity. Age intersected with gender such that women within a decade of the woman interviewer's age assumed similarity and were communicative. In interviews with similarly‐aged heterosexual men, awareness of sexuality inhibited answers around intimacy. With older interviewees, gender similarity bridged the age chasm with women. In contrast, age and gender difference inspired older men to act paternalistically and give unsolicited advice. Even among adults, interviewees' classification of the interviewer's age contours the interactional dynamic, impacts data acquisition, and reproduces social distinctions.
    May 04, 2017   doi: 10.1002/symb.305   open full text
  • The Aural and Moral Idylls of “Englishness” and Folk Music.
    Lee Robert Blackstone.
    Symbolic Interaction. May 04, 2017
    The idea of “Englishness” is explored as an historical social construction that is subject to ongoing negotiation. Important features of “Englishness” are embedded in the sacralized symbolism of the “rural idyll,” which represents traditional English values. “Landscapes” and “soundscapes” are utilized to construct personal and national identities in periods of “revivalism.” By viewing English folk music through an interactionist framework, responses to the music build upon earlier collective works that have shaped traditional song. “Englishness” is problematized as either an inclusive, or exclusive, identity. Ideational artifacts thus provide a foundation for social action.1
    May 04, 2017   doi: 10.1002/symb.302   open full text
  • The Interactional Construction of Social Authenticity: “Real” Identities and Intergroup Relations in a Transylvania Internet Forum.
    Csilla Weninger, J. Patrick Williams.
    Symbolic Interaction. April 03, 2017
    Authenticity has become an increasingly salient topic within various interactional traditions, including conversational and discourse analysis, discursive psychology, interactional sociolinguistics, pragmatics, and symbolic interactionism. However, there has been remarkably little cross‐fertilization of ideas and concepts. In this study, we consider the relevance of the interactional sociolinguistic concept of relationality for symbolic interactionist theories of authenticity. We first disambiguate two forms of authenticity that are commonly studied but not clearly differentiated in symbolic interactionist research—self‐authenticity, which emphasizes selves, and social authenticity, which emphasizes social identities. We then argue that relationality and its three pairs of interactional tactics—verification and denaturalization, adequation and distinction, and authorization and illegitimation—are particularly useful in conceptualizing social authenticity. We draw on data from an interethnic internet forum to show how members of two ethnic groups, Hungarian and Romanian, employ these relational tactics to authenticate their own ethnicity as the rightful inheritors of a place‐based Transylvanian identity, and to limit the other ethnicity's similar identity work. We then clarify the significance of social authenticity for the interactional study of category‐based identities by widening our discussion to other contestations over social identities in everyday life.
    April 03, 2017   doi: 10.1002/symb.294   open full text
  • Bathrooms, Boundaries, and Emotional Burdens: Cisgendering Interactions Through the Interpretation of Transgender Experience.
    Lain A. B. Mathers.
    Symbolic Interaction. April 03, 2017
    Building on findings demonstrating that social institutions may cisgender realities by creating and enforcing binary notions of gender rooted in cisgender experience, this study examines the ways cisgender people reinforce cisnormative gender binaries in their ongoing interactions. Utilizing interviews with 99 cisgender people, I show how respondents react to a vignette about a gender nonconforming person seeking to use a public bathroom by “cisgendering interactions,” which I define as the process whereby people reassert binary understandings of gender to make sense of transgender experience while placing an unequal emotional burden on transgender and gender nonconforming people to mend the interactional disruption of the gender panic. Additionally, my analysis extends transgender scholarship by demonstrating some ways cisgender people make sense of transgender people in public spaces. In conclusion, I draw out insights for understanding (1) the ways people cisgender their realities in the face of conflicting stimuli, (2) the ways in which emotions are a mechanism of inequality reproduction, and (3) the consequences these actions have for the perpetuation of gender inequality.
    April 03, 2017   doi: 10.1002/symb.295   open full text
  • Construction and Management of Stigma Based on a Voluntary‐Achieved Status.
    Lacey J. Ritter, Koji Ueno.
    Symbolic Interaction. April 03, 2017
    Previous research on stigma has focused on ascribed personal attributes that are either impossible or difficult to change. Less is known, however, about how people voluntarily join stigmatized groups and manage stigma based on an achieved status. This paper sought to answer this question by focusing on stigma management strategies used by a Humans vs. Zombies (HvZ) gaming organization in a southeastern university. Data were collected through four months of fieldwork and twelve interviews with HvZ gamers and moderators. Results showed that gamers' decision to join the group reflected their effort to strengthen a sense of moral worth. Furthermore, in order to keep receiving this benefit and minimize potential costs, they used three strategies to manage their stigma based on the voluntary, achieved status: (1) by “othering” stereotypical members; (2) by challenging the stereotype; and (3) by reappropriating the stigma. As they employed these strategies, gamers drew on social discourses available in the organizational and life course context.
    April 03, 2017   doi: 10.1002/symb.296   open full text
  • The Importance of “Empty Gestures” in Recovery: Being Human Together.
    Astrid Skatvedt.
    Symbolic Interaction. March 07, 2017
    What do clients/patients want or value from their encounters with healthcare providers? Based on ethnographic research conducted with individuals suffering from drug addiction and mental health issues, this article argues that clients/patients treasure “everyday” or “human” interaction with medical staff. Everydayness is accomplished through three generic social processes: **co‐silence, inclusion in back‐stage activity, and physical dramatizations of authenticity. These processes and other ordinary interactional strategies for “being human together” should be seen as vital tools for recovery.
    March 07, 2017   doi: 10.1002/symb.291   open full text
  • Just the “Typical College Diet”: How College Students Use Life Stages to Account for Unhealthy Eating.
    Deborah A. Harris.
    Symbolic Interaction. February 28, 2017
    I performed a qualitative content analysis of 136 college students' food diary reflection papers to examine the accounts used when explaining dietary failures. In addition to common justifications (denials of injury, appeals to higher loyalties, and condemning the condemners) and excuses (denials of responsibility and postponement), diarists referred to their status as a college student and the “typical college student lifestyle” as the major reason for eating an unhealthy diet. Exploring how students use life stages to neutralize stigma adds a new temporal and context‐focused dimension to studies of accounts and provides direction for potential health interventions.
    February 28, 2017   doi: 10.1002/symb.280   open full text
  • “Phil's Calling Grandma… ”: The Role of External Support in Human–Companion Animal Identity Pairings.
    Andrea Laurent‐Simpson.
    Symbolic Interaction. February 28, 2017
    This exploratory paper deals with human–animal role identity pairings such as parent–child or sibling–sibling and the necessity of support from other actors both for the formation of these idiosyncratic identities, as well as for their situational placement in social environments not limited to the nonhuman animal. Taken from a qualitative study examining identity formation counter to the nonhuman animal, I use in‐depth interviews of both people with and without human children to demonstrate how human‐to‐human relationships are formed by categorizing the companion animal as a “child” of sorts within the family structure. These relationships prove integral to the continued development and enactment of identities such as the animal “parent” or the animal “sibling” via three different groups: their own parents, partners, and, in one case, adult siblings. This creates positive affect and commitment to the identity across other social situations. Implications of these findings for identity theory and family research are discussed.
    February 28, 2017   doi: 10.1002/symb.281   open full text
  • Racial Authenticity and Familial Acceptance Among Transracial Adoptees: A Bothersome Bargain of Belonging.
    Devon R. Goss, W. Carson Byrd, Matthew W. Hughey.
    Symbolic Interaction. February 28, 2017
    Transracial adoption in the United States has increased significantly in recent years. Crossing the color line within the intimate familial sphere has important implications for how institutions such as the family enable and constrain individuals' identity work. We explore how transracial family members utilize racial stereotypes and racialist understandings in everyday life, employing 30 in‐depth, life‐story interviews with both transracial adoptees and their white siblings. In attempts to accomplish a sense of belonging and authenticity, we argue that both transracial adoptees of color and their white siblings experience divergent and paradoxical expectations of familial and racial authenticity. We find that although they often utilized “color capital” in a quest for racial authenticity, in certain spaces and environments, they were expected to eschew their nonwhite identity and embrace “acting white” as purported by white family members and their “white debt” approach to racial socialization. This study adds nuance to the question of how families navigate the enduring power of the color line in relation to the reproduction of both material inequalities and racial discrimination.
    February 28, 2017   doi: 10.1002/symb.282   open full text
  • Crisis Rhetoric, Stigma Play: The Contested Status of Humanities Majors on an Elite University Campus.
    Clara S. Lewis.
    Symbolic Interaction. February 28, 2017
    This article extends symbolic interactionist thought on authenticity and stigma allure into the context of higher education in the United States where the status of the humanities is contested. Our abductive analysis of twenty‐nine, semistructured interviews with undergraduates at an elite university reveals that selecting a humanities major has social costs. Yet the students who opt into these majors renegotiate ideologies, practices, and resources in ways that generate meaningful educational experiences. Navigating these problematic situations in which status is threatened enables the social production and personal aesthetic experience of authenticity. These findings add a new evidentiary basis to theory on stigma allure and, in doing so, demonstrate that when rhetorics of crisis collide with the late modern quest for authenticity voluntary stigma can become a powerful, if also unwieldy, resource.
    February 28, 2017   doi: 10.1002/symb.288   open full text
  • Muir, Roosevelt, and Yosemite National Park as an Emergent Sacred Symbol: An Interaction Ritual Analysis of a Camping Trip.
    Timothy J. Curry, Kiernan O. Gordon.
    Symbolic Interaction. February 21, 2017
    We argue that interaction ritual (IR) theory provides a temporal and interactional point of origin from which to trace an influential IR chain that became a deciding factor in the unification of Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove under federal control within present‐day Yosemite National Park. The emotions generated by the rituals of Roosevelt's and Muir's camping trip in May, 1903 in the short term, however, failed to result in a lasting consensus on ideology. This is a point that Roosevelt's lack of support for Muir in the subsequent controversy over the damming of the Hetch Hetchy Valley clearly documents. A video abstract is available at http://tinyurl.com/myv74yd
    February 21, 2017   doi: 10.1002/symb.279   open full text
  • Embodied versus Disembodied Information: How Online Artifacts Influence Offline Interpersonal Interactions.
    Xiaoli Tian.
    Symbolic Interaction. February 15, 2017
    This article examines how the sheer volume of personal information recorded and searchable online (online artifacts) has transformed the situated activity system central to Goffman's dramaturgical theories. In‐depth interviews reveal that individuals believe disembodied information based on online artifacts is a more accurate representation of others than embodied information from spatially and temporally bounded face‐to‐face (FTF) processes because they represent how others have behaved over time and are attested by their online contacts. However, the n‐adic structure of online interaction leads to mismatched expectations about whether disembodied information is taken into account during FTF encounters, and consequently can result in embarrassment.
    February 15, 2017   doi: 10.1002/symb.278   open full text
  • Parenting, Uncertainty, and Expert Advice: How Privileged American Families Work with Private Counselors in Their Children's College Race.
    Ken Chih‐Yan Sun, Jill M. Smith.
    Symbolic Interaction. February 03, 2017
    This article uses privileged families who hire Independent Educational Consultants (IECs) as an instance to examine how privileged parents collaborate with individuals whom they consider educational experts to support their children in the college race. We argue that advantaged parents' anxieties about their children have created a market for IECs who provide expert advice in order to mitigate the uncertainties that these parents experience and to manage various goals that they want to achieve at an important turning point in their children's lives. Drawing primarily on interviews with parents who work with IECs, we introduce the concept of “collaborative cultivation” to analyze the processes whereby advantaged parents rely on the expertise and expert status of private counselors to cope with their and their children's vulnerability in the college race while at the same time preparing their children for the unknown future. The parental method of “concerted cultivation” reveals how elite parents rely on individuals they perceive as experts to establish “bridges” between their own social worlds and the academic worlds that appear to beyond their control. This bridging labor points to the myriad cultural beliefs enacted to justify the child‐rearing goals that privileged parents wish to accomplish by working with IECs.
    February 03, 2017   doi: 10.1002/symb.258   open full text
  • Looking Forward, Looking Back: Collective Memory and Neighborhood Identity in Two Urban Parks.
    Sofya Aptekar.
    Symbolic Interaction. January 12, 2017
    Collective memory and narratives of local history shape the ways people imagine a neighborhood's present situation and future development, processes that reflect tensions related to identity and struggles over resources. Using an urban culturalist lens and a focus on collective representations of place, I compare two nearby New York parks to uncover why, despite many similarities, they support different patterns of meaning making and use. Drawing on ethnographic observation, interviews, and secondary analysis, I show that multi‐vocal and fragmented contexts of collective memory help explain the uneven nature of gentrification processes, with one park serving as its cultural fulcrum while the other is left at the sidelines.
    January 12, 2017   doi: 10.1002/symb.271   open full text
  • Responsibility‐Shifting in a Gambling Environment.
    Cormac Mc Namara.
    Symbolic Interaction. January 04, 2017
    Using data that was collected by observing and speaking with customers and members of staff in betting shops in Dublin, Ireland, this article provides a consideration of how regular customers of betting shops explain their bet related failures to themselves and to those around them. It is suggested in this article that a process of self‐reparation of self‐esteem occurs in betting shops after customers experience monetary losses and that this process is facilitated by shifting responsibility for the losses incurred to factors external to and beyond the control of customers.
    January 04, 2017   doi: 10.1002/symb.274   open full text
  • Navigating the Tavern: Digitally Mediated Connections and Relationship Persistence in Bar Settings.
    Matthew H. Rafalow, Britni L. Adams.
    Symbolic Interaction. December 12, 2016
    The widespread adoption of digital communications technologies has provided new avenues for social interaction to occur. We build on the sociological literature of fleeting encounters in bar settings to show how patrons' use of these technologies augments the bar experience and shapes the social networks that may develop through interaction. Using seven gay, lesbian, and heterosexual bars located in Southern California as research sites, we describe how patrons invoke digital technologies as props to aid the impression management strategies used to facilitate new connections. Second, we demonstrate how these encounters are subject to greater relationship persistence as a result of the way these technologies are used to quickly create a shared history. We conclude by arguing that fleeting encounters are no longer connections that either persist or completely fade away after face‐to‐face interaction. Rather, they often persist through technology‐mediated communications in ways that result in, at minimum, the development of weak ties. This greater relationship persistence can permit more opportunity to get to know a potential partner in digitally mediated settings like Facebook or via texting, but it could also require new strategies to evade interested others given this new lack of ephemerality and the influx of weak ties.
    December 12, 2016   doi: 10.1002/symb.268   open full text
  • Searching for a Narrative of Loss: Interactional Ordering of Ambiguous Grief.
    Maja Sawicka.
    Symbolic Interaction. December 12, 2016
    In this article I analyze the collective management of ambiguous emotions in the case of grief arising from perinatal loss/stillbirth. Based on a content analysis of selected Polish discussion lists for bereaved parents and interviews with moderators of these lists, I conceptualize the experience of grief arising from miscarriage/stillbirth as both culturally “disembedded”—not regulated by a coherent set of feeling and display rules, and interactionally “disenfranchised”—framed by the immediate social surrounding of the bereaved as illegitimate. This study then focuses on subsequent social processes surrounding the collective management of such emotions through interactions within online bereavement communities, leading to the creation of local definitions of the situation of loss and formation of subcultural feeling and display rules of grief. I posit that in a wider perspective these community processes can be seen as grassroots mechanisms that agents use to transform the existing emotional culture of grief.
    December 12, 2016   doi: 10.1002/symb.270   open full text
  • Constructing Hybridized Authenticities in the Gourmet Food Truck Scene.
    Cate Irvin.
    Symbolic Interaction. November 23, 2016
    In this article, I construct three ideal types of identities operating in the New Orleans gourmet food truck industry (Down‐Home, Foreign Foodie type, and Hipster). Using evidence from three years of ethnographic observations, as well as qualitative interviews, I then examine the process of hybridization, in which the two forms of authenticity (food truck and brick‐and‐mortar) blend together, modifying each original authenticity to create a temporal product, hybrid authenticity. The value of this product is derived from the concrete but temporary relations between the product, the producers, the consumers, and the spaces where the product is produced and consumed.
    November 23, 2016   doi: 10.1002/symb.267   open full text
  • Being Authentically American Indian: Symbolic Identity Construction and Social Structure among Urban New Indians.
    Michelle R. Jacobs, David M. Merolla.
    Symbolic Interaction. November 10, 2016
    This study investigates the individual and group level reconstruction of a racial‐ethnic identity. Specifically, we investigate the experience of “new Indians,” or people who did not previously identify as American Indian, but are now reclaiming this racial‐ethnic heritage. Because many new Indians lack both official (tribal and/or federal) recognition of their Indian status and the phenotypic traits associated with Indians in popular culture, their authenticity as American Indians is often questioned in interactions with others. We document how new Indians work to reconstruct the symbolic meaning of authentic Indianness by emphasizing specific values and actions rather than biological lineage. Moreover, we demonstrate how new Indians achieve interactional validation of their redefined Indian identities in the context of a proximate social structure.
    November 10, 2016   doi: 10.1002/symb.266   open full text
  • The Organization of Corrective Demonstrations Using Embodied Action in Sports Coaching Feedback.
    Bryn Evans, Edward Reynolds.
    Symbolic Interaction. November 03, 2016
    Focusing on video recordings of coaching sessions in the context of basketball and powerlifting, this paper investigates how the sports coaching process unfolds as situated interactions. The work of sports coaching is pervasively oriented toward teaching athletes the correct forms of motion and play. Correction then is one of the central constitutive practices of sports training sessions. In this paper, we draw on a collection of instances of correction demonstrations from powerlifting and basketball to describe their order. We demonstrate the three phases of these demonstrations: arranging bodies and gaze for visual access, presenting the error visually, and proposing a correction with an embodied demonstration. Findings underscore the management of shared visual access in multi‐party correction demonstrations. In demonstrating how multiple bodies may be involved in embodied reenactments of a correctable problem, and demonstrating that it is seeing an error, more than reenactment per se, that is necessary for correction activities, the study extends existing understandings both of sports coaching processes and of instructional correction in embodied activities.
    November 03, 2016   doi: 10.1002/symb.255   open full text
  • Interpreting Productivity: Symbolic Negotiation of Gendered Faculty Career Trajectories in the United States.
    Christina R. Steidl, Claire E. Sterk.
    Symbolic Interaction. October 28, 2016
    Growing awareness of gender disparities in rank, retention, and pay of faculty has resulted in a growing body of research seeking to assess the relative impact of factors ranging from publishing rates and funding levels to organizational climate and family responsibilities. However, few studies have focused on the microlevel symbolic processes through which faculty expectations are constructed, communicated to individuals, and applied during evaluations. We analyze in‐depth interview transcripts with mid‐career faculty to explore how faculty interactions result in differing symbolic meanings and interpretations of productivity articulated by male and female faculty members. We find that men articulate more conventional understandings of work and productivity aligned with Acker's (1990) gendered organizational logics, while women describe a more contested symbolic field. Divergent understandings of productivity and the processes by which they are negotiated may play a significant role in the reproduction of gendered faculty career trajectories. Our findings highlight the importance of understanding how social processes contribute to larger patterns of inequality within social institutions.
    October 28, 2016   doi: 10.1002/symb.254   open full text
  • An Interactionist Approach to the Social Construction of Deities.
    J.E. Sumerau, Alexandra C.H. Nowakowski, Ryan T. Cragun.
    Symbolic Interaction. October 18, 2016
    This paper examines the ways people construct and signify deities. Utilizing responses from an ethnographic study as well as analyses of existing studies of religion, we elaborate ways people construct the existence and characteristics of deities by engaging in “deity work,” which we define as the work people do to give meaning to deities as well as to themselves, others, or social phenomena related to deities. In so doing, we demonstrate how people may accomplish this in many settings by engaging in strategies of identity work including (1) defining, (2) coding, and (3) affirming the meanings of a given deity in social interaction. In conclusion, we draw out implications for understanding (1) the importance of examining deity work, and (2) some ways a focus on deity work processes may expand existing religious and interactionist studies.
    October 18, 2016   doi: 10.1002/symb.257   open full text
  • Collective Memory and Social Restructuring in the Case of Traditional Inuit Shamanism.
    Lisa‐Jo K. van den Scott.
    Symbolic Interaction. October 18, 2016
    This article explores the sociological processes of collective memory manipulation in unsettled times by analyzing a case study of the Church's displacement of traditional shamanism in Arviat, Nunavut. Collective memory studies, which examine regime transitions, focus on tracing the path of collective memory, rather than examining the mechanisms used to gain and keep control over collective memory. I argue that three elements are necessary for this kind of control: (1) shifting the “historical horizon” to temporally locate the competing institution firmly in the past within community memory, (2) manipulating the reputation of the competing, soon‐to‐be‐previous institution, and (3) establishing a new moral framework. I center my argument primarily on the accomplishment of these elements using narrative and rhetoric, which emerged through inductive analysis.
    October 18, 2016   doi: 10.1002/symb.261   open full text
  • “It's Only Sport”—The Symbolic Neutralization of “Violence”.
    Christopher R. Matthews, Alex Channon.
    Symbolic Interaction. October 18, 2016
    Within the commodified world of professional ice hockey, athletes sell their bodily performances in return for a salary. A central feature of this transaction is the very real risk of physical injury—a risk inherent within most contact sports, but particularly so within those that feature seemingly “violent” confrontations between competitors, as ice hockey is widely reputed to do. Yet, within the spectacle of sport, where physicality can be constructed as playful and unserious, it is possible for the consequences of such action to be concealed behind a symbolic, ludic veneer. Within this article, we explore this process with a particular focus on ice hockey spectators, for whom notions of sport violence as in some important way “mimetic” of the “real” enabled their propensity to both enjoy, and find moral validation through, potentially deleterious behaviors among athletes.
    October 18, 2016   doi: 10.1002/symb.265   open full text
  • The Habits of Normal, Innocent People, as Construed by the North American Juror.
    David R. Gibson.
    Symbolic Interaction. July 14, 2016
    Deliberating juries draw on commonsense notions of what counts as “normal” behavior in distinguishing facts which are inculpatory from those that lend themselves to more innocent interpretation. Though this is a commonplace observation, prior research has shed little light on the underlying model(s) of normalcy. Taking a generative approach to inculpatory statements made by two real‐life juries deliberating the same case, I first enumerate the distinct assertions made, by implication, about normal, innocent people (NIPs), and then reduce these to a smaller number of rules revolving around the general themes of rationality, emotions, language, and relationships.
    July 14, 2016   doi: 10.1002/symb.242   open full text
  • Editorial Statement on Ethics Review and Data Transparency.

    Symbolic Interaction. July 11, 2016
    There is no abstract available for this paper.
    July 11, 2016   doi: 10.1002/symb.240   open full text
  • Collaborative Music‐Making with Digital Audio Workstations: The “nth Member” as a Heuristic Device for Understanding the Role of Technologies in Audio Composition.
    Phillip Brooker, Wes Sharrock.
    Symbolic Interaction. July 05, 2016
    This article examines amateur music‐making using a digital audio workstation, showing how audio and software are used as resources for creating compositions. The article has two aims. Firstly, to depict how digital music‐making is formed from routine interactional techniques. Secondly, to probe how researchers might account for such multi‐modal activity through a heuristic device: the “nth member.” Whereas sociology has typically been concerned with the cultural facets of how music is made and consumed, we explore the material practices of collaborative song creation utilizing conversation analytic techniques—“turn‐taking” and “next‐selection”—to capture two key interactional moments.
    July 05, 2016   doi: 10.1002/symb.238   open full text
  • Accountability as an Inhabited Institution: Contested Meanings and the Symbolic Politics of Reform.
    Tim Hallett, Emily Meanwell.
    Symbolic Interaction. June 27, 2016
    This paper examines the failed attempt to reauthorize the American educational law known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB) in 2007. Drawing on existing research on cultural processes of policymaking and insights from inhabited institutionalism, we analyze data from 20 congressional hearings, viewing them as social interactions. We find that hearing participants identified problems with strict accountability policies and, in interpreting those problems, introduced alternative meanings, including “NCLB means children left behind.” Our approach stresses the symbolic politics of reform at the meso level of interaction and makes the case for a cultural analysis of policymaking that synthesizes both interactionism and institutionalism.
    June 27, 2016   doi: 10.1002/symb.241   open full text
  • Correcting Behaviors and Policing Emotions: How Behavioral Infractions Become Feeling‐Rule Violations.
    Amanda Barrett Cox.
    Symbolic Interaction. June 22, 2016
    This study examines interactions surrounding the transmission, enforcement, and assessment of compliance with feeling rules. Using ethnographic data, I investigate how actors within an organization that prepares low‐income black and Latino students to attend elite boarding schools serve as both emotional socializers, transmitting particular feeling rules, and emotional gatekeepers, enforcing and assessing compliance with those rules. I find that it was the interactional process surrounding rule reminders—rather than differences in students' behavioral infractions or in the feeling rules themselves—that was most consequential in shaping evaluations of students' compliance with the program's feeling rules. Gendered patterns in these interactions often resulted in male students being treated as behaviorally deviant and female students being treated as emotionally deviant.
    June 22, 2016   doi: 10.1002/symb.239   open full text
  • Goffman, Growing Up, and Experienced Relationality.
    Peter Johnson.
    Symbolic Interaction. May 17, 2016
    This article adopts a Goffmanian framework to grapple with the emotional‐relational experiences associated with teenagers growing up. Drawing upon focus group interviews with 14–15 year olds in East and West Belfast, the lack of full personhood attributed to nonadults is discussed in relation to spatial exclusion and stigmatizing service transactions, along with some emotional consequences. However, instances where teenagers embrace as well as reject this ostensibly negative social positioning are also elaborated. The overall thrust of the article seeks to demonstrate how the hierarchical adult‐child complex is built and maintained through everyday face‐to‐face interaction and the ritualistic expression of standards of worth assigned to participants.
    May 17, 2016   doi: 10.1002/symb.235   open full text
  • Pure Gold for Broken Bodies: Discursive Techniques Constructing Milk Banking and Peer Milk Sharing in U.S. News.
    Shannon K. Carter, Beatriz M. Reyes‐Foster.
    Symbolic Interaction. May 02, 2016
    Technological advances provide increased ability to transfer human tissues—blood, organs, milk—from one body to another. This article analyzes mechanisms of reality construction in U.S. news to construct shared human breast milk. Articles used typifications and human interest stories to convey participants as victims, lay heroes, and villains. Milk banking was portrayed as institutionally integrated through associations, expert testimonies, and formalized procedures, making banked milk “pure gold.” Peer sharing was portrayed as institutionally opposed through institutional warnings, expert testimonies, informal procedures, and hypothetical atrocities, making peer milk “fool's gold.” Findings suggest that “biovalue” of human milk is interconnected with institutional processing.
    May 02, 2016   doi: 10.1002/symb.233   open full text
  • The Symbolic Type Revisited: Semiotics in Practice and the Reformation of the Israeli Commemorative Context.
    Carol A. Kidron, Don Handelman.
    Symbolic Interaction. May 02, 2016
    Revisiting Grathoff's theory of symbolic type (ST), we examine the personal evolution and commemorative work of Tsipi Kichler, a cultural entrepreneur and founder of an alternative Israeli Holocaust museum/geriatric center. As hybrid product of Israeli social cleavages, Kichler exteriorizes her paradoxical vision in the museum aiming to reform Holocaust‐related discourse and practice. Early biographical positioning and resultant contradictions become translated into resistant commemorative performance where serious humor deconstructs the binaries of life/death and past/present. We consider the implications of the ST's self‐referential closure to interaction, and the transformative potential of the alignment of cultural entrepreneurs' personal memory with collective memory.
    May 02, 2016   doi: 10.1002/symb.234   open full text
  • The Turn from “What” to “How”: Garfinkel's Reach Beyond Description.
    Sarah Fenstermaker.
    Symbolic Interaction. April 26, 2016
    John Heritage described Harold Garfinkel's central question as “how do social actors come to know, and know in common what they are doing and the circumstances in which they are doing it.” The case of Agnes illuminates the methods by which members produce intelligible actions and recognizable—even “natural”—gender orderliness. With this central interest as a starting point, this article offers some observations about transgender women in prison and their creative adaptation to life behind bars.
    April 26, 2016   doi: 10.1002/symb.222   open full text
  • How to Be a Good Alcoholic.
    Øystein Skjælaaen.
    Symbolic Interaction. April 24, 2016
    Alcoholism is not one singular thing. It takes many forms, some more dignified and less destructive than others. This article explores how people drinking in the early hours of the day in bars present themselves and their relationship with alcohol and alcoholism. By means of ethnographic data, I analyze their strategies in dealing with the deviant use of alcohol. I find that the early morning drinkers use distinctions along three dimensions: managing drunkenness, taking breaks from drinking, and claiming certain motives for drinking. These distinctions are used in order to position oneself on a normative scale of different types of alcoholics.
    April 24, 2016   doi: 10.1002/symb.224   open full text
  • “Do Some Wondering”: Children and their Self‐Understanding Selves in Early Elementary Classrooms.
    Matt Aronson, Steve Bialostok.
    Symbolic Interaction. April 24, 2016
    Self‐knowledge has been a central theme in many diagnoses of late modernity, and it has cued scholars to investigate everyday situations in which people express reflexive selves. Using participant observation and interview data, we examined two American elementary classrooms where children learn to express a type of “self‐understanding self” called the enterprising child. We suggest that this form of self emerges through classroom talk characterized by the popular pedagogical concept of metacognition, which encourages the learner to be aware of her thinking and learning and, crucially, to express an awareness of herself as a thinker and learner. We emphasize an interactionist view toward the situational self, and argue that how teachers manage classroom discourse socializes children into venerating the dispositional tendencies that correspond with new capitalist workplaces. We conclude by discussing the implications this may have for modern personhood, symbolic inequality in classrooms, and the political economy of linguistic forms.
    April 24, 2016   doi: 10.1002/symb.223   open full text
  • Impression Management, Super PACs and the 2012 Republican Primary.
    Nathan Katz.
    Symbolic Interaction. April 24, 2016
    Super Political Action Committees (PACs) are new organizations within American politics allowing for unlimited donations to candidate campaigns. Super PACs helped make the 2012 Republican primary the most well‐funded primary in American history. Both candidates and Super PACs spend much of their money on televised campaign ads. My study of the 2012 Republican primary expands existing literature concerning political impression management by examining advertising imagery in the era of Super PACs. I developed a typology of performance types from a qualitative content analysis of television advertisements for both candidates and Super PACs. The significance of Super PACs as they interact and overlap with the images of candidate ads calls for analysis of the changing front stage in the political realm.
    April 24, 2016   doi: 10.1002/symb.232   open full text
  • The Importance of Being Agnes.
    Kristen Schilt.
    Symbolic Interaction. April 21, 2016
    Harold Garfinkel's 1950s case study of “Agnes” is broadly understood as the locus classicus of sociological research about transgender people. Drawing on an analysis of unpublished archival materials from Garfinkel and Robert J. Stoller, the lead psychiatrist on Agnes's case, I locate Agnes' experiences at UCLA within a larger history of theorizing about gender and sexuality within the social sciences, and within the emerging field of transgender studies.
    April 21, 2016   doi: 10.1002/symb.231   open full text
  • From Prowar Soldier to Antiwar Activist: Change and Continuity in the Narratives of Political Conversion among Iraq War Veterans.
    David Flores.
    Symbolic Interaction. April 21, 2016
    This study examines conversion narratives of Iraq War military veterans who have become antiwar political activists. I examine how antiwar veterans construct and emplot prewar, wartime, and postwar narrative periods to shape and reclaim their moral identities as patriots fighting for a just cause, and how through a communal antiwar story they work to both challenge and reappropriate the rhetorical framework they associate with justifications for the invasion of Iraq. The study draws on in‐depth interviews with forty members of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW). In sum, the research describes how veterans engage with dominant narratives, shape new moral identities, and transition from soldiers to political activists.
    April 21, 2016   doi: 10.1002/symb.225   open full text
  • Stories of Non‐Becoming: Non‐Issues, Non‐Events and Non‐Identities in Asexual Lives.
    Susie Scott, Liz McDonnell, Matt Dawson.
    Symbolic Interaction. February 22, 2016
    In contrast to conventional models of positively “becoming” an identity through social interaction, this article explores the inverse, negational process of “non‐becoming,” whereby actors start but do not continue along an identity career trajectory. Through cumulative attrition, interactions and encounters at key moments create an overall pattern of non‐progression. Using asexuality as an example, we identify three main trajectory stages of non‐awareness, communicative negation and non‐consolidation, each involving interactional contingencies. With a wider applicability to other repudiated identities, this model shows how even negational symbolic social objects (non‐issues, non‐events, and non‐identities) are constituted through social interaction.
    February 22, 2016   doi: 10.1002/symb.215   open full text
  • Accomplishing Profession through Self‐Mockery.
    Matthew J. Cousineau.
    Symbolic Interaction. February 22, 2016
    One influential sociological approach to profession has it that a profession is something constructed by social actors themselves and that this work is performed through the swapping of atrocity stories. While atrocity stories are an important resource for constructing profession, they are not the only ones available to social actors. In this article, I draw on field work in an academic engineering research laboratory to document how social actors use self‐mockery to construct profession. They do this in five ways, including through the use of background knowledge to interpret self‐mockery, by reserving self‐mockery for specific conditions separate from conditions where engineering knowledge is put on display, by maintaining a preference for self‐presentations that exclude self‐mockery toward the speaker's self during presentations in lab meetings and lectures in courses, through the selection of locally insignificant selves for mockery, and by assembling their own accounts of self‐mockery.
    February 22, 2016   doi: 10.1002/symb.217   open full text
  • Processes of Place Attachment: An Interactional Framework.
    Jennifer Eileen Cross.
    Symbolic Interaction. October 14, 2015
    How do people form place attachments through interaction with others and with places over time? I propose that there are seven distinct processes through which people form bonds with places. This framework was developed from the analysis of 104 depth interviews conducted in California and Colorado, newspaper and magazine columns and letters, memoirs, and first person essays. This framework proposes that seven distinct processes interact at the individual, group, and cultural level to shape place attachment. Each of the seven processes has a unique nature and develops differently over time and space.
    October 14, 2015   doi: 10.1002/symb.198   open full text
  • The Magic of Oaxaca: An Emotional Geography of Age, Gender and Nation.
    Patricia L. Wasielewski.
    Symbolic Interaction. October 08, 2015
    This study analyzes interviews with expat women in Oaxaca, Mexico. The women use the “magic” of Oaxaca to elude traditional expectations of aging and gender. Oaxaca is crucial for the process of defining themselves as vital and independent in what Massey (1994) calls a progressive sense of place. A translocal emotional geography is constructed. However, the issues of place and nation are more problematic. Efforts to sufficiently enter their various communities in Oaxaca determine the success the women have at overcoming neo‐colonial interactions and assumptions.
    October 08, 2015   doi: 10.1002/symb.186   open full text
  • “He's Doing Fine”: Hope Work and Emotional Threat Management Among Families of Seriously Ill Children.
    Amanda M. Gengler.
    Symbolic Interaction. October 06, 2015
    In this study, I examine how people in emotionally fraught circumstances strategically structure social interactions in order to protect fragile emotional states. Data come from interviews and observations with 18 families of children being treated for life‐threatening conditions at an elite university research hospital. I show how families worked to ward off emotional threats to their ability to maintain hope that their children would recover by preempting and restructuring social interactions with friends and family members and pruning social networks. These efforts allowed families to minimize reciprocal obligations and avoid encountering pessimistic reflected appraisals that might trigger “emotional shortcuts” leading to states of fear and anxiety. Similar efforts to reconstruct social interactions and social networks may be common among those working to maintain fragile emotional states in a variety of challenging circumstances.
    October 06, 2015   doi: 10.1002/symb.195   open full text
  • Enacting Blind Spaces and Spatialities: A Sociological Study of Blindness Related to Space, Environment and Interaction.
    Per Måseide, Håvar Grøttland.
    Symbolic Interaction. October 01, 2015
    Lack of eyesight generates blind spaces. Blind spaces often enacted together with sighted are different from visual spaces in important ways. Sharing physical and social space with sighted may imply special challenges for blind persons with regard to interaction order and social identities. The article is based on ethnographic data with the purpose to describe enactment and management of physical and social spaces for blind born persons in different settings. It focuses on the physical and social plasticity of blind spaces and the mediated, practiced and often toolic relationship between body, self and physical and social environments.
    October 01, 2015   doi: 10.1002/symb.194   open full text
  • The Perpetuation of Neighborhood Reputation: An Interactionist Approach.
    Sarah Zelner.
    Symbolic Interaction. October 01, 2015
    How is neighborhood reputation performed and reproduced? Drawing on ethnographic observation in a Philadelphia neighborhood known for stable racial integration, I show how residents engage in Goffmanian interactional teamwork, particularly deference‐demeanor rituals, that perpetuate the neighborhood's reputation. My observations demonstrate how the ideology of racial integration is collectively performed and maintained through these deference rituals. I show that these deference rituals can also have the unintended and undesirable consequence of maintaining, rather than challenging, preexisting racial hierarchies. This work highlights the tenuous nature of reputations for inclusivity in the face of persistent social inequality.
    October 01, 2015   doi: 10.1002/symb.188   open full text
  • Waiting in the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans: A Case Study of the Tempography of Hyper‐Marginalization.
    Daina Cheyenne Harvey.
    Symbolic Interaction. October 01, 2015
    In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina residents were forced to wait. Here the state played a familiar role where waiting is used to dominate or subordinate or further marginalize the poor. Residents of the Lower Ninth Ward, however, used waiting as a basis for interacting with other community members and as a way to structure social life. In doing so, they created a timescape of hyper‐marginalization where waiting became normative. In examining this timescape, I conduct a tempography of the neighborhood and distinguish between three forms of waiting as interaction.
    October 01, 2015   doi: 10.1002/symb.185   open full text
  • Basic‐Level Categories, Mirror Neurons, and Joint‐Attention Schemes: Three Points of Intersection Between G.H. Mead and Cognitive Science.
    Ryan McVeigh.
    Symbolic Interaction. October 01, 2015
    Recent research in cognitive science has provided broad empirical support for the model of cognition and self‐development formulated by G.H. Mead. This is demonstrated specifically through three distinct cognitive mechanisms: basic‐level categories, mirror neurons, and joint‐attention schemes. These mechanisms illustrate a form of embodied sociality that underscores the intersubjective foundation of mind and self articulated by Mead. Research on basic‐level categories, mirror neurons, and joint‐attention schemes further extends Mead's relevance outside standard sociological and social psychological circles to the field of cognitive science and its emerging focus on sociality and social interaction.
    October 01, 2015   doi: 10.1002/symb.200   open full text
  • Here and Now, There and Then: Nostalgia as a Time and Space Phenomenon.
    Janelle Lynn Wilson.
    Symbolic Interaction. September 17, 2015
    This paper provides an overview of nostalgia focusing on the ways in which the nexus of time and space has been theorized. The meta‐analysis presented here highlights the complex, recursive, and nuanced features of the nostalgic experience, suggesting that nostalgia is not only directed toward the past, but also the future.
    September 17, 2015   doi: 10.1002/symb.184   open full text
  • Redefining the Refuge: Symbolic Interactionism and the Emergent Meanings of Environmentally Variable Spaces.
    Braden Leap.
    Symbolic Interaction. September 08, 2015
    I utilize ethnographic data to illustrate how the meanings of a National Wildlife Refuge were being rearticulated following a shift in Canada goose migrations that undermined previously established meanings of the space. Beyond highlighting the ability of symbolic interactionism to incorporate a range of interdisciplinary works on space, I illustrate how the Meadian approach to temporality can be useful for understanding how the meanings of spaces are rearticulated in response to variable socio‐environmental processes like goose migrations or climate change. Through this analysis, I hope to highlight the usefulness of symbolic interactionism for future research on space generally and adaptations to socio‐environmental variabilities specifically.
    September 08, 2015   doi: 10.1002/symb.182   open full text
  • Special Issue on Space and Time.

    Symbolic Interaction. May 12, 2014
    There is no abstract available for this paper.
    May 12, 2014   doi: 10.1002/symb.110   open full text
  • “Why Would Our Heavenly Father Do that to Anyone”: Oppressive Othering through Sexual Classification Schemes in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter‐Day Saints.
    J. Edward Sumerau, Ryan T. Cragun.
    Symbolic Interaction. May 02, 2014
    In this article, we examine how leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter‐Day Saints (LDS or LDS Church) responded to the emergence of homosexuality as a prominent social issue by engaging in “oppressive othering” (Schwalbe et al. 2000), which refers to the process whereby elites classify members of other groups as morally inferior. On the basis of LDS archival materials, we analyze how LDS elites accomplished “oppressive othering” by constructing sexual classification schemes defining homosexuality as the result of (1) familial, (2) gendered, and (3) sexual dysfunctions. In conclusion, we draw out implications for understanding (1) how elites, religious, or otherwise, construct sexual classification schemes that facilitate the ongoing subordination of sexual minorities, (2) the importance of taking an intersectional approach to oppressive othering, and (3) the ways elites revise institutional doctrines in response to shifting societal issues and concerns.
    May 02, 2014   doi: 10.1002/symb.105   open full text
  • “This was a Sexual Assault”: A Social Worlds Analysis of Paradigm Change in the Interpersonal Violence World.
    KelleyAnne Malinen.
    Symbolic Interaction. April 10, 2014
    This article presents a portion of my research on woman‐to‐woman sexual assault. Research was based on interviews with survivors and service providers who have worked with them. Transcripts underwent a grounded theory method analysis. The article considers how sexual assault service provision is changing as rigidly gendered discourses on sexual violence are challenged. It draws on Becker's social worlds approach, introducing the “Interpersonal Violence World,” the “Violence Against Women Subworld,” and the “Anti‐Violence Project Subworld.” These subworlds are notably distinguishable by their discourses on how violence and gender interact. Woman‐to‐woman survivors' interactions with the Violence Against Women Subworld often prove problematic, an issue the Anti‐Violence Project Subworld addresses.
    April 10, 2014   doi: 10.1002/symb.103   open full text
  • Accounting for the Performance of Environmentally Significant Behavior: The Symbolic Significance of Recycling.
    Gail Markle.
    Symbolic Interaction. March 19, 2014
    The scientific community has pronounced climate change unequivocal and its consequences disastrous. Yet Americans' behavioral response to the global social problem of environmental degradation has been largely confined to the individual act of recycling. This article examines why Americans are not doing more to address climate change and other environmental issues. Taking a cognitive sociological perspective, I describe how Americans think about environmental issues and pro‐environmental behavior. I draw on Swidler's concept of a “cultural tool kit,” to examine the cultural narratives Americans use to account for the small amount of pro‐environmental behavior they perform. The act of recycling functions as a synecdoche for pro‐environmental behavior in general, allowing individuals to over‐claim the significance of a modest amount of pro‐environmental behavior. I argue that Americans' failure to engage with environmental issues at a collective level is rooted in the individualized culture of American environmentalism.
    March 19, 2014   doi: 10.1002/symb.102   open full text
  • “It's Just a Likelihood”: Uncertainty as Topic and Resource in Conveying “Positive” Results in an Antenatal Screening Clinic.
    Alison Pilnick, Olga Zayts.
    Symbolic Interaction. February 25, 2014
    The recognition of uncertainty as a pivotal issue for the sociology of medicine is longstanding. More recently, the widespread integration of new medical technologies into healthcare has led to a renewed analytic focus on uncertainty. However, there remains little work on the interactional manifestations of uncertainty. This article uses conversation analysis to examine how uncertainty is introduced and used in one specific setting: an antenatal screening clinic in Hong Kong. We focus on women who have received “screen positive” or higher risk results, and reflect on the ways in which uncertainty is an “essential tension” (Mazeland and ten Have 1996) in the activity of conveying these results to them. We conclude that as well as posing potential difficulties for interaction, the uncertainty of test results is also used here as an interactional resource in managing the institutionally defined category of “high risk.”
    February 25, 2014   doi: 10.1002/symb.99   open full text
  • Divided and Drifting: Interactionism and the Neglect of Social Organizational Analyses in Organization Studies.
    Patrick J. W. McGinty.
    Symbolic Interaction. February 12, 2014
    The analysis of organizational phenomena within interactionism has become bifurcated between social organizational analyses and organizational ethnographies. This division has had the effect of allowing organizational ethnographies to more readily contribute to organization studies while marginalizing studies of social organization. The historical conditioning of this development and current evidence for this case is demonstrated through an analysis of the existing literature from the past thirteen years of interactionist organizational research. To end the continued neglect of social organizational analyses in the interdisciplinary field of organization studies the article concludes by suggesting a number of possible inspirations for promoting future research.
    February 12, 2014   doi: 10.1002/symb.101   open full text
  • Eroticism as Embodied Emotion: The Erotics of Renaissance Faire.
    Staci Newmahr.
    Symbolic Interaction. February 07, 2014
    This paper conceptualizes eroticism as emotional experience. I use the Renaissance Faire to illustrate the construction of asexual eroticism along three dimensions: the carnal experience of Faire, its focus on physicality, and intimations of increased interpersonal access. This approach forefronts the complexity of eroticism and situates the erotic squarely in the sociology of emotion, providing a model for understanding a range of emotional, embodied, and nonsexual charges as erotic. More broadly, the analysis seeks to contribute to the study of all emotion as embodied.
    February 07, 2014   doi: 10.1002/symb.92   open full text
  • Neutralizing Problematic Frames in the Culture Wars: Anti‐Evolutionists Grapple with Religion.
    Eric Orion Silva.
    Symbolic Interaction. February 03, 2014
    This article contributes to the literature on culture wars work by examining how anti‐evolutionists neutralize the framing of their position as religious. Their efforts are uncovered by analyzing 570 letters to the editor published in American newspapers in the months surrounding a nationally covered 2005 federal judicial decision on the legality of the Dover PA, school board's decision to undermine evolutionary theory in the classroom. Anti‐evolutionists neutralized the framing of their position as religious through the processes of selective acknowledgement and disagreement with the problematic framing. These findings provide insights into the anti‐evolutionist movement, the nature of the culture wars, and the basic ways in which problematic frames are neutralized. First, it shows how public anti‐evolutionist discourse has not followed its leaders' efforts to minimize the religious motivations of the movement. Second, the wide variety of neutralizations partially explains the persistence of many cultural disputes. Third, this study calls attention to the under theorized role of disagreement and agreement in undoing problematic definitions of the situation.
    February 03, 2014   doi: 10.1002/symb.97   open full text
  • A Sociology of No‐Self: Applying Buddhist Social Theory to Symbolic Interaction.
    Matthew Immergut, Peter Kaufman.
    Symbolic Interaction. January 28, 2014
    Although fraught with complexity, the self is a central phenomenon of discussion and analysis within sociology. This article contributes to this discourse by introducing the Buddhist ideas of anatta (no‐self) and prattyasamutpāda (interdependence) as analytic frameworks to deconstruct and rethink the self within sociology. We argue that the sociological self, most clearly articulated by symbolic interactionism, is premised on a self‐other dualism. This dualism leads to a conceptualization of the self as constantly threatened and anxious. Using these Buddhist concepts we propose an alternative interpretive schema, a sociology of no‐self, for analyzing social interaction and understanding the roots of social angst.
    January 28, 2014   doi: 10.1002/symb.90   open full text
  • Cooling the Mother Out: Revisiting and Revising Goffman's Account.
    Gareth M. Thomas.
    Symbolic Interaction. January 28, 2014
    This article revisits Erving Goffman's important yet neglected metaphor of “cooling the mark out.” Drawing on a study of mothers whose child has Down's syndrome, I explore the value of Goffman's work for capturing how mothers interpret their child's diagnosis as a loss and rectify this breach by constructing an acceptance of their new situation. The mothers' accounts highlight how Goffman's contentions can be enriched by acknowledging the gendered, temporal, and public character of a loss. This article, thus, can be read both as a celebration and critical revision of his theoretical contribution.
    January 28, 2014   doi: 10.1002/symb.91   open full text
  • Goffman on Gender, Sexism, and Feminism: A Summary of Notes on a Conversation with Erving Goffman and My Reflections Then and Now.
    Mary Jo Deegan.
    Symbolic Interaction. January 08, 2014
    Often known as cynical, contentious, and exhibiting a complicated approach to objectivity, Erving Goffman could also be generous, civil, insightful, open to feminist ideas, and surprisingly political. A 1977 collective feminist writing project led to my conversation with Goffman in 1980 about his ideas on gender, sexism, and feminism. A summary of that conversation is presented, together with my formal reflections then (1980) and now (2013). While documenting the sociological practice of an earlier era, this paper concludes that feminist sociological theory must move beyond its locations in the past and the present into the liberating knowledge of the future.
    January 08, 2014   doi: 10.1002/symb.85   open full text
  • Goffman at Penn: Star Presence, Teacher‐Mentor, Profaning Jester.
    Michael Delaney.
    Symbolic Interaction. December 23, 2013
    This essay is based on my encounters with Erving Goffman as his student at Penn in the 1970s. It concerns Goffman's largely self‐orchestrated “place” at Penn in various respects: his uneasy relationship with the Penn sociology department despite his academic fame; his disenchantment with “mainstream” sociology; his calibrated interactional style as a “profane jester,” offset by his thoughtful seriousness as a mentor; his classroom deportment and no‐nonsense teaching style. Goffman's casual classroom use of unseemly epithets is discussed as a pedagogical device for demonstrating the stigmatizing power of language. Goffman's suggestions for possible field‐site studies contrast with his commentary on the current state of sociology and, by implication, his place in it.
    December 23, 2013   doi: 10.1002/symb.88   open full text
  • Goffman on Emotions: The Pride‐Shame System.
    Thomas Scheff.
    Symbolic Interaction. December 17, 2013
    This essay proposes that Goffman's basic method was the intuitive recognition of generic examples of social interaction. This focus on examples, when considered from the point of view of two of Cooley's general propositions, helps explain the meaning of Goffman's metaphor of theatrical performance, and his insistence on the risk of shame in all interaction. These ideas make sense following Pascal's emphasis on the intuitive element in finding new knowledge, and Spinoza's part/whole idea. This latter approach leads to what will be called the Goffman/Cooley conjecture: we run the risk of shame in all human interaction. Although they didn't explain why, it seems that the pace of modern alienated societies punishes the mammalian urge that humans have for connectedness (pride) with others. These ideas seem to be supported by studies by Helen Lewis and Norbert Elias, and by my own recent study of Ngrams. As Elias's study proposed, virtually all shame is hidden in modern societies. The idea of hidden shame requires a new definition of shame that is quite different than vernacular usage.
    December 17, 2013   doi: 10.1002/symb.86   open full text
  • Goffman on Mental Illness: Asylums and “The Insanity of Place” Revisited.
    Dmitri N. Shalin.
    Symbolic Interaction. December 13, 2013
    This case study is designed to demonstrate that sociological imagination can feed on personal experience, that research practice interpolates our biographical circumstances, and that a systematic inquiry into the interplay between our professional and everyday life offers a fruitful avenue for sociological analysis. The discussion focuses on Erving Goffman's treatment of mental illness. The argument is made that the evolution of Goffman's constructionist views on mental disorder had been influenced by his family situation and personal experience.
    December 13, 2013   doi: 10.1002/symb.84   open full text
  • When Erving Goffman Was a Boy: The Formative Years of a Sociological Giant.
    Sherri Cavan.
    Symbolic Interaction. November 06, 2013
    This exploratory paper addresses the intersection of character and social structure by looking at the childhood and youth of Erving Goffman. Drawing from historical and contemporary documents, I reconstruct the social world of Canada between WWI and WWII and Goffman's place in it, identify Goffman's social position as an outsider, and document his early familiarity with dramaturgy. The argument is made that Goffman's formative years illuminate his interest in stigma, showing how stigmatizing circumstances can discredit claims to identity, and suggesting how impression management helps mitigate the discrepancy between a person's real life circumstances and prevailing cultural ideas.
    November 06, 2013   doi: 10.1002/symb.83   open full text
  • Interfacing Biography, Theory and History: The Case of Erving Goffman.
    Dmitri N. Shalin.
    Symbolic Interaction. October 29, 2013
    This study aims to show that much of Erving Goffman's writing is crypto‐biographical and that key turns in his intellectual career reflected his life's trajectory and attempts at self‐renewal. The case is made that Goffman's theoretical corpus reflects his personal experience as a son of Russian–Jewish immigrants who struggled to raise himself from the obscurity of Canadian Manitoba to international stardom. The concluding section describes the Erving Goffman Archives and the contribution that the large database of documents and biographical materials assembled therein can make to biocritical hermeneutics, a research program focused on the relationship between biography, theory, and history.
    October 29, 2013   doi: 10.1002/symb.82   open full text
  • Interpretive Asymmetry, Retrospective Inquiry and the Explication of Action in an Incident of Friendly Fire.
    Michael Mair, Chris Elsey, Patrick G. Watson, Paul V. Smith.
    Symbolic Interaction. October 03, 2013
    In this article, we examine a controversial friendly fire incident that took place during the early stages of the Iraq war. Our focus is on how a cockpit video of the incident was used post facto in a military inquiry to arrive at an understanding of the actions of the pilots involved. We shall concentrate specifically on a series of interpretive difficulties that highlighted the problematic status of the video as evidence and explore what their resolution might tell us about military practice, and the place of friendly fire within it more broadly.
    October 03, 2013   doi: 10.1002/symb.78   open full text
  • Review essay: The importance of being Erving—Erving Goffman, 1922 to 1982.
    P. M. Strong.
    Symbolic Interaction. September 24, 2013
    There is no abstract available for this paper.
    September 24, 2013   doi: 10.1002/symb.80   open full text
  • Profaning the Past to Salvage the Present: The Symbolically Reconstructed Pasts of Homeless Shelter Residents.
    Emily Meanwell.
    Symbolic Interaction. September 18, 2013
    Homelessness presents challenges for maintaining a positive self-concept, and those seeking help from homeless shelters face a particular irony: establishing service-worthiness requires them to present themselves as homeless, not self-sufficient, and genuinely in need of help, yet also morally worthy of that help. How do shelter residents manage this tension and salvage the self within the institutional context of the shelter? A theoretical framework linking Mead, Goffman, and narrative helps clarify strategies of self-presentation and salvaging the self within the homeless shelter context. Drawing on interviews with 44 shelter residents, this paper demonstrates that residents construct narratives that symbolically reconstruct the past from the standpoint of the present, and draw on the stages of the shelter's moral career to present a temporally-divided self, allowing residents to strategically profane the past self while keeping the present self separate and sacred. Implications for research on other institutional selves are also discussed.
    September 18, 2013   doi: 10.1002/symb.79   open full text
  • Let's Have a Cup of Coffee! Coffee and Coping Communities at Work.
    Pernille S. Stroebaek.
    Symbolic Interaction. September 04, 2013
    Coffee breaks are the main target in this investigation as the paper draws upon a qualitative focus group among Danish public family law caseworkers employed in a newly merged workplace Coffee breaks were identified as the utmost important factor for social and personal well‐being within an emotional taxing occupation. Indeed, communities of coping were created through coffee break encounters. However, coping communities were deeply embedded in informal workgroup cultures, which made them difficult to enter for newcomers. Newcomers entered the communities of coping through office meetings with an informal tone and atmosphere of sharing a cake. Thus, coping communities and informal workgroup cultures were found to intersect in the sociality that formed in formal as well as spontaneous coffee break encounters.
    September 04, 2013   doi: 10.1002/symb.76   open full text
  • Goffman in the Gallery: Interactive Art and Visitor Shyness.
    Susie Scott, Tamsin Hinton‐Smith, Vuokko Härmä, Karl Broome.
    Symbolic Interaction. August 27, 2013
    In an effort to facilitate public engagement, contemporary art galleries and museums house interactive exhibits incorporating digital media. Despite removing traditional barriers of cultural capital, however, these exhibitions now presume a level of technological and performative competence, which can feel equally intimidating to visitors. Reporting on an UK‐based ethnographic study and using dramaturgical theory, we show how interactive exhibitions can evoke situational shyness in visitors, through the combination of a demand for active, performative engagement and the deliberate restriction of instructional and explanatory information. In this ambiguous setting, visitors search for a social script to guide their action, the absence or opaqueness of which creates self‐conscious inhibition. Actors adapt to this resourcefully by looking toward others to provide a replacement script; these may be companion visitors, strangers, or imaginary audiences. Some visitors, meanwhile, demonstrate resistance by refusing to engage with the interactive art agenda altogether, preferring to assume a role of detached spectatorship.
    August 27, 2013   doi: 10.1002/symb.74   open full text
  • Revisiting Impartiality: Social Media and Journalism at The BBC.
    Valérie Bélair‐Gagnon.
    Symbolic Interaction. August 07, 2013
    This article contributes to the literature of news production studies by providing a powerful example of how processes of deliberation bring change to journalism. It explores the reconstruction of impartiality using the single case‐study of social media in the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) international journalism. In this case‐study, symbolic interactionism and mesostructure analysis enable us to explore social organizations and social processes, placing them in larger embedded contexts (structural, historical, and mode of action) and extended temporality. Following D. L. Altheide's (1996) ecology of communication framework, this study on BBC impartiality demonstrates that in the newsroom, techies have responded strategically to the logic of their environment. Techies have joined in the process of the new symbolic architecture of impartiality, which has transformed news agenda‐setting. This new logic, ushered in by techies, has shaped editorial decisions at the public broadcaster. This article discusses how social media have contributed to the nature, organization, and consequences of communication activities of the BBC.
    August 07, 2013   doi: 10.1002/symb.72   open full text
  • Pregnant Bodies in Social Context: Natural, Disruptive, and Unrecognized Pregnancy.
    Elena Neiterman.
    Symbolic Interaction. June 28, 2013
    This article examines the role of social context in the construction of meanings attached to the pregnant body. Analyzing interviews with 42 women who, during the time of the interview, were either pregnant or had given birth to a child within the last 12 months, I explore (1) the role of social context in assigning social value to the pregnant body; and (2) how the meaning attached to pregnancy changes as pregnant women move from one social context to another. I suggest that the role of social context is central to our understanding of how pregnant women are perceived and evaluated by others.
    June 28, 2013   doi: 10.1002/symb.71   open full text
  • The Emergent Organization: Improvisation and Order in Gulf Coast Disaster Relief.
    Robert Owen Gardner.
    Symbolic Interaction. June 17, 2013
    This article employs the interactionist concept of emergence to explore volunteer behavior in organizational settings after natural disasters. Through a several‐year ethnographic study of volunteer relief groups in the Post‐hurricane Gulf Coast, I examine how emergent social groups navigate situations where interactional norms, practices, and procedures are ambiguous, unclear, or in continual flux. Grassroots volunteer groups improvised organizational decision‐making and leadership structures to develop timely and appropriate responses to the post‐disaster environment. In particular, I focus on two distinct groups of volunteers whose response to these emergent interactional structures: improvisers embraced the ambiguity of group norms as an opportunity to innovate and express their creativity, whereas ritualists rejected the lack of structure and order characterized by the volunteer organizations.
    June 17, 2013   doi: 10.1002/symb.70   open full text
  • Musical Ties That Bind: Nostalgia, Affect, and Heritage in Festival Narratives.
    Lori Holyfield, Maggie Cobb, Kimberly Murray, Ashleigh McKinzie.
    Symbolic Interaction. June 17, 2013
    Affective heritage embracement, a collective narrative of nostalgia, is identified at two popular music festivals. “MusicFest” embraces a tradition of “Red Dirt” country music through performance (music festival), whereas the “Walnut Valley Festival” embraces a bluegrass/folk musical heritage through performance and participation (musicians' festival). The symbolic importance of musical interaction is explored to highlight the experienced emotionality that leads to the affective ties that bind these otherwise temporary communities. This collective narrative reveals the various functions of nostalgia wherein collective sentiment both reflects and creates the perceived authentic experiences of festival attendees.
    June 17, 2013   doi: 10.1002/symb.67   open full text
  • Getting Angry to Get Ahead: Black College Men, Emotional Performance, and Encouraging Respectable Masculinity.
    Brandon A. Jackson, Adia Harvey Wingfield.
    Symbolic Interaction. June 11, 2013
    This article draws on two years of ethnographic fieldwork to explore how a group of black men on a college campus displayed anger in order to encourage other black men to adopt a respectable form of masculinity. Although prior research suggests that black men may work to avoid public displays of anger to evade negative stereotypes of black men, we uncover the contexts in which black men were comfortable expressing feelings of anger, frustration, annoyance, and irritation. Specifically, group leaders displayed these emotions when they observed recruits to their group engaging in actions or behaviors that threatened to reinforce certain stereotypes about black men.
    June 11, 2013   doi: 10.1002/symb.63   open full text
  • Crime Control as Mediated Spectacle: The Institutionalization of Gonzo Rhetoric in Modern Media and Politics.
    R. J. Maratea, Brian A. Monahan.
    Symbolic Interaction. June 11, 2013
    This study examines contemporary crime and punishment discourse in mass media to better understand the institutionalization of hyper‐punitive sanctions as acceptable forms of social control. Our principal focus is on gonzo rhetoric, or the discourse and symbolism used to promote and justify exaggerated acts of punishment. Using a content analysis of 136 broadcast transcripts, we examine the rhetorical techniques employed by Sheriff Joe Arpaio, of Maricopa County, Arizona, in order to show how this brand of “crime talk” has become a central component of modern crime control culture. We suggest that the appeal of gonzo rhetoric is rooted in longstanding cultural assumptions about crime and disorder.
    June 11, 2013   doi: 10.1002/symb.59   open full text
  • The Segregation of Social Interactions in the Red Line L‐Train in Chicago.
    Eva Swyngedouw.
    Symbolic Interaction. June 10, 2013
    This study documents how residential segregation is visible in social interactions in the (semi) public space of the red line L‐train in Chicago. While public spaces are often celebrated as spaces of cosmopolitanism, people tend to interact mainly with people who look similar and appear to be living in the same area in Chicago. People of different race and class, represented by the station where they board the train, do not encounter each other much in the L‐train because of the existing residential segregation in the city of Chicago. Blacks ride from the south to downtown while whites ride from the north to downtown. Different time frames are reserved for different people. Furthermore, on the train itself people prefer to be interacting with and sit next to people who appear alike; who seem to be from the same part of the city. Hence, I argue that social interactions on the subway are mainly an expression of geographical and social exclusion in the city. Residential segregation is visible in the “segregation of social interactions” in the red line L‐train. Consequently, while de jure segregation has been abolished in the 1960s in Chicago, segregating practices are still going on de facto in everyday life.
    June 10, 2013   doi: 10.1002/symb.64   open full text
  • Disaffiliation from a New Religious Movement: The Importance of Self and Others in Exit.
    Dominiek D. Coates.
    Symbolic Interaction. May 21, 2013
    Challenging the popular belief that people who join new religious movements (NRMs) become “entrapped,” this study describes the way in which 23 former members of 11 different “cults” personally negotiated disaffiliation. The current findings support previous studies that posit exit as a resolution to unresolved doubts and dissonances, and contribute to this literature by suggesting that the nature of these dissonances, and the way in which exit constitutes a “solution” to these dissonances may vary. It is suggested that for approximately half of the participants in this study, the dissonances that precipitated exit, were relatively minor, primarily caused by organizational changes and inconsistencies in the teachings. While generally doubts were resolved privately and commitment sustained, exit occurred when alternate discourses or other identity resources became available through which doubts could become resolved. The remaining participants describe the conflicts that precipitated disaffiliation as pertaining to tensions between the groups' expectation of conformity and their sense of autonomy. These participants describe exit as a solution to the stress and emotional exhaustion of membership. To make sense of these different disaffiliation narratives, symbolic interactionist notions of the self as constructed in both the realm of “Self” and “Others” are applied.
    May 21, 2013   doi: 10.1002/symb.60   open full text