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The Social Self and Everyday Life: Understanding the World Through Symbolic Interactionism

The Social Self and Everyday Life: Understanding the World Through Symbolic Interactionism

Kathy Charmaz, Scott Harris, Leslie Irvine

ISBN: 978-1-118-64540-6

Dec 2018, Wiley-Blackwell

264 pages


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An engaging text that enables readers to understand the world through symbolic interactionism

This lively and accessible book offers an introduction to sociological social psychology as viewed through the lens of symbolic interactionism. It provides students with an accessible understanding of this perspective to illuminate their worlds and deepen their knowledge of other people’s lives, as well as their own.  Written by noted experts in the field, the book explores the core concepts of social psychology, examines summaries of research, and includes a collection of captivating empirical studies. It emphasizes empirical illustration, while retaining the basic tenets of symbolic interactionism, and offers clear and concise explanations of major ideas throughout. The book also highlights everyday life—putting the focus on the issues and concerns that are most relevant to the readers’ social context.

The Social Self and Everyday Life bridges classical theories and contemporary ideas, joins abstract concepts with concrete examples, and integrates theory with empirical evidence. It covers a range of topics including the body, emotions, health and illness, the family, technology, and inequality, and introduces students to concepts that look at these topics in a new light. Best of all, it doesn’t just place the individual and his or her social context through the use of current and classic qualitative studies, it gets them involved in applying the concepts in their daily lives.

  • Demonstrates how to use students’ social worlds, experiences, and concerns to illustrate key interactionist concepts in a way that they can emulate
  • Develops key concepts such as meaning, self, and identity throughout the text to further students’ understanding and ability to use them
  • Introduces students to symbolic interactionism, a major theoretical and research tradition within sociology
  • Helps to involve students in familiar experiences and issues and shows how a symbolic interactionist perspective illuminates them
  • Combines the best features of authoritative summaries, clear definitions of key terms, with enticing empirical excerpts and attention to popular ideas  

Clear and inviting in its presentation, The Social Self and Everyday Life: Understanding the World Through Symbolic Interactionism is an excellent book for advanced undergraduate students in sociology, social psychology, and social interaction.

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1 An Invitation to Learn about Self, Situation, and Society

2 Looking at Life from the Symbolic Interactionist Perspective

3 Socialization: Becoming Ourselves

4 The Social Body: Appearances and Experience

5 Health, Illness, and Disability

6 Emotion Norms, Emotion Management, and Emotional Labor

7 All Our Families: Diverse Forms, Diverse Meanings

8 “Always On/Always on Us:” Technology, Interaction, and the Self

9 Amplifying Social Problems: Claimsmakers and their Contexts

10 Individuals and Institutions

11 Inequality in Interaction

12 Conclusion:  The Benefits of Studying Symbolic Interaction