The Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction (SSSI) is an international professional organization of scholars interested in the study of a wide range of social issues with an emphasis on identity, everyday practice, and language. Symbolic interactionism, the society’s theoretical foundation, is derived from American pragmatism and particularly from the work of George Herbert Mead, who argued that people’s selves are social products, but that these selves are also purposive and creative. Herbert Blumer, a former student and interpreter of Mead, coined the term ‘symbolic interactionism’ and put forward an influential summary of the perspective stating that:
people act toward things based on the meaning those things have for them, and
these meanings are derived from social interaction and modified through interpretation.
Many sub-disciplines within the social sciences have been influenced by symbolic interactionism, including the sociology of emotions, deviance/criminology, collective behavior/social movements, feminist studies, sociological versions of social psychology, communications theory, semiotics, education, nursing, mass media, organizations, and the study of social problems. Similarly, numerous interactionist concepts have gained widespread usage, including the definition of the situation, emotion work, identity work, impression management, looking glass self, and total institution
Why join the SSSI?
Connect with others who share your interest in S.I.
Stay abreast of the latest theory and research in S.I.
Network with other symbolic interactionists
Receive with your membership a subscription to Symbolic Interaction, the flagship journal of the association
Our journal, Symbolic Interaction, is published quarterly by the Blackwell Publishing. For more information, to submit manuscripts, check the review process, and much more, visit the journal’s website.
Our annual meetings
The society holds an annual meeting which includes paper presentations, distinguished lectures, business meetings, and a banquet. The SSSI meetings are typically scheduled at the same time and same city as meetings held for American Sociological Association and the Society for the Study of Social Problems and offer some of the best and most supportive colleagueship of any professional association. Travel scholarships for student members of the association are often available and the experience of attending the annual meeting is of particular benefit to students. Yearly awards in the following categories are announced at that time and honor the best and the brightest work within the Interactionist tradition. Some of these awards are open to students: