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A Sociology of No‐Self: Applying Buddhist Social Theory to Symbolic Interaction


Symbolic Interaction

Published online on


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.