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Muir, Roosevelt, and Yosemite National Park as an Emergent Sacred Symbol: An Interaction Ritual Analysis of a Camping Trip


Symbolic Interaction

Published online on


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