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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2003

Robert Prus

Although the particular policies that groups establish may serve to differentiate those groups from others in the broader community, policies are better envisioned as…

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Abstract

Although the particular policies that groups establish may serve to differentiate those groups from others in the broader community, policies are better envisioned as aspects of group life in the making than as structures or rules that define the character or operations of the groups under consideration. Addressing instances of policy as humanly engaged ventures, this statement attempts to demystify policy by (a) examining organizational directives in process terms, (b) explicitly incorporating people into the study of the policy‐making process. This paper also addresses policy in ways that (c) are more amenable to ethnographic research on actual instances of policy and (d) contribute to a sustained, comparative analysis of “policy in the making”.

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International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 23 no. 6/7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Book part
Publication date: 5 February 2019

Arthur McLuhan and Antony Puddephatt

A common charge against qualitative researchers in general and interactionist researchers in particular is that they produce descriptive, a-theoretical accounts of group…

Abstract

A common charge against qualitative researchers in general and interactionist researchers in particular is that they produce descriptive, a-theoretical accounts of group life. We consider the problem of “analytic interruptus” in contemporary symbolic interactionism – that is, a failure to move beyond analyses of individual cases – and offer a potential to a solution via the pursuit of a generic social process (GSP) research agenda. A GSP approach involves developing, assessing, and revising concepts from the close scrutiny of empirical instances across diverse contexts. By considering criticisms of GSPs from feminist and postmodernist scholars, a more informed, qualified, and better-situated approach to the framework becomes possible. We argue that GSPs remain a quintessential analytical tool to explore subcultural realities and build formal theories of the social world.

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Book part
Publication date: 23 October 2008

Robert Prus

Stressing (a) the authenticity of human-lived experience, (b) activity as an intersubjectively generated and informed essence, and (c) process-oriented concepts that are…

Abstract

Stressing (a) the authenticity of human-lived experience, (b) activity as an intersubjectively generated and informed essence, and (c) process-oriented concepts that are rooted in the comparative analysis of ethnographically examined instances, this paper not only addresses the fundamental (essential) contributions of symbolic interactionism to the study of human knowing and acting but also considers the implications of these emphases for the future of sociology as a more genuine pluralist, humanist, and enduring social science.

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Studies in Symbolic Interaction
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84855-127-5

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Book part
Publication date: 26 July 2016

Natalia Ruiz-Junco

This chapter assesses the power focus in contemporary interactionist theory, and advances several premises about power based on recent research and theory. I first examine…

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This chapter assesses the power focus in contemporary interactionist theory, and advances several premises about power based on recent research and theory. I first examine the main assumptions of the view of power that emerged in the wake of the astructural bias debate, which became an implicit standard for assessments of power in the tradition. Next, I explore the criticisms of the astructural bias thesis and related conceptualization. My argument is that while the debate correctly spotlighted the power deficit of interactionism, it had theoretical implications that distracted us from the task of fully conceptualizing power. In the second part of this chapter, I examine recent interactionist work in order to build general premises that can advance interactionist theory of power. Based on this analysis, I elaborate four premises that interactionists can use, regardless of theoretical orientation. Drawing on examples from my ethnographic research, I illustrate how researchers can benefit from the use of these premises.

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The Astructural Bias Charge: Myth or Reality?
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-036-7

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Book part
Publication date: 16 October 2013

Lonnie H. Athens

In this chapter, the approach of radical interactionism is juxtaposed against symbolic interactionism, its older conservative turned rival cousin, to highlight primarily…

Abstract

In this chapter, the approach of radical interactionism is juxtaposed against symbolic interactionism, its older conservative turned rival cousin, to highlight primarily the major differences between them. The five key differences identified are as follows: (1) the major progenitors for symbolic interactionism are Mead and Blumer, while those for radical interactionism are Park and, by default, myself; (2) although radical interactionism presumes that domination and power are always of great importance for understanding human group life, symbolic interactionism assumes that they now have only limited importance for understanding it; (3) radical interactionism makes it mandatory for researchers to examine the role of dominance and power during social interaction, whereas symbolic interactionism makes it only discretionary; (4) while radical interactionism stresses the impact of individuals’ and groups’ unstated assumptions on their interaction with one another, symbolic interactionism de-emphasizes their impact on it; and finally (5) radical interactionism discourages, while symbolic interactionism encourages researchers falling into the trap of linguistic phenomenalism. Thus, unlike radical interactionism, symbolic interactionism facilitates sociologists not only falling prey to linguistic phenomenalism, but also conservative and idealistic biases, while allegedly conducting “value-free research.”

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Radical Interactionism on the Rise
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-785-6

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Book part
Publication date: 2 July 2015

Magdalena Wojciechowska

This chapter analyzes how men – both clients and bodyguards – interacting within the social world of the female escort industry see prostitutes within their professional…

Abstract

This chapter analyzes how men – both clients and bodyguards – interacting within the social world of the female escort industry see prostitutes within their professional context. It examines discursive scripts that stigmatize the activity at hand and, to some extent, legitimize both verbal and physical violence toward escorts from an angle not typically addressed in the literature regarding female prostitution. Drawing on in-depth interview data, this chapter is intended to shed light on how men attempt to construct their encounters with female escorts in ways that not only maintain but also transmit their understanding of paid sex, which is often referred to as one’s everyday consumption practice. A major objective of this contribution is to elucidate the unwritten norms about expected and satisfying exchanges within the prostitution sphere, on the one hand, and analyze its impact upon escorts’ professional self-meanings, on the other hand.

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Contributions from European Symbolic Interactionists: Conflict and Cooperation
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-856-4

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Book part
Publication date: 21 August 2017

Taylor Price and Antony Puddephatt

Open access publishing is an increasingly popular trend in the dissemination of academic work, allowing journals to print articles electronically and without the burden of…

Abstract

Open access publishing is an increasingly popular trend in the dissemination of academic work, allowing journals to print articles electronically and without the burden of subscription paywalls, enabling much wider access for audiences. Yet subscription-based journals remain the most dominant in the social sciences and humanities, and it is often a struggle for newer open access publications to compete, in terms of economic, cultural, and symbolic capital (Bourdieu, 2004). Our study explores the meanings of resistance held by the editors of open access journals in the social sciences and humanities in Canada, as well as the views of university librarians. To make sense of these meanings, we draw on Lonnie Athens’ (2015) radical interactionist account of power, and expand on this by incorporating George Herbert Mead’s (1932, 1938) theory of emergence, arguing that open access is characteristic of an “extended rationality” (Chang, 2004) for those involved. Drawing on our open-ended interview data, we find that open access is experienced as a form of resistance in at least four ways. These include resistance to (1) profit motives in academic publishing; (2) access barriers for audiences; (3) access barriers for contributors; and (4) traditional publishing conventions.

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Oppression and Resistance
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-167-6

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Book part
Publication date: 2 July 2015

Michael Dellwing

The study of accounts, corrective practices, or aligning actions has grown to constitute a significant sub-discipline within everyday life sociology. Most work in this…

Abstract

The study of accounts, corrective practices, or aligning actions has grown to constitute a significant sub-discipline within everyday life sociology. Most work in this field starts with an assumption of order and assumes that accounts reestablish broken sociality. However, much accounting activity resists against alignment efforts, and alignment efforts can be used as a means of conflict. The present chapter aims to survey situations in which actors resist and negotiate alignment and the power and status conflicts involved in these negotiations. With these conflicts, participants also negotiate responsibility, which is here seen not as an internal attribute of actors, but a socially negotiated meaning as well. On a larger level, the present chapter shows how levels of meaning are intertwined in alignment situations, making them much more than mere tools to produce and protect order.

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Contributions from European Symbolic Interactionists: Conflict and Cooperation
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-856-4

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Abstract

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The Human Factor In Social Capital Management: The Owner-manager Perspective
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-584-6

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Book part
Publication date: 25 July 2008

Robert Prus

Although it is often assumed that the study of human group life as “something in the making” is a product of the more distinctive emphasis of 20th century American…

Abstract

Although it is often assumed that the study of human group life as “something in the making” is a product of the more distinctive emphasis of 20th century American pragmatist scholarship, the roots of the analysis of the social construction of activity run much deeper.

Whereas poetics (i.e., fiction) represents only one arena in which earlier scholars have more explicitly addressed the matters of human knowing and acting, Horace, Longinus, and Plutarch, three authors from the classical Roman era (c. 200 BCE-500 CE) contribute notably to an understanding of the ways in which people accomplish activity. While Horace and Longinus focus primarily on the production of poetic texts, Plutarch addresses the matter of reading, comprehending, and utilizing fictional materials within instructional contexts.

The texts of Horace, Longinus, and Plutarch are generally valued for the insight that they cast on the Roman and Greek life-worlds in the classical Roman era, but they also assume considerable importance as detailed reference materials for developing a more informed, comparative (i.e., transhistorical) analysis of the study of human knowing and acting in contemporary contexts.

Because of the particular subject matter they address, their extended levels of involvements in the communication process and their detailed analysis of people's roles as authors, instructors, and readers, Horace, Longinus, and Plutarch provide much valuable insight in the production and use of written texts. Moreover, given their associated attentiveness to the matters of authenticity and misrepresentation, persuasion and intrigue, and interpretation and inference, these statements should have considerable value to a wide range of scholars and educators.

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Studies in Symbolic Interaction
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84663-931-9

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