Call for Sessions: SSSI Annual Meetings in Chicago, IL (August 2015)

Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction 

Annual Conference 

August 21-13, 2015

The Public Chicago Hotel, Chicago, IL

Symbolic Interaction and Public Sociology

Call for Sessions

Deadline: December 1, 2014

The Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction (SSSI) will hold its annual meeting on August 21–23, 2015 in Chicago Illinois, at the Public Chicago Hotel, a short distance from the hotels used by the American Sociological Association for their annual meeting. The Public Chicago is the Gold Coast’s famed Ambassador Hotel, rich with cultural heritage, and a fitting setting for our annual conference.

Public Sociology as Conference Theme 

It has now been 10 years since Michael Burawoy’s famous presidential address to the American Sociological Association, which argued for a legitimate place for public sociology alongside other forms of research practice. Burawoy argued that public sociology, the kind of sociology that connects with, serves, and informs everyday people in civil society, has been largely unappreciated, and unfairly occupies a marginal space in the discipline. Since Burawoy’s call for a resurgence of public sociology, there have been countless articles, special issues, and edited books that have weighed in on the issue, written by scholars who have been both critical and supportive. Meanwhile, symbolic interactionists have had very little to say about the issue of public sociology, though there have been some notable exceptions. The literature that does exist indicates that interactionists have much to offer to conceptions of public sociology, and in turn, public sociology has the potential to reinvigorate interactionist research.

As such, we invite scholars to further explore this theme of public sociology and symbolic interactionism. We hope to have a number of sessions on this topic at our annual meeting. Further, a special issue on this same theme is planned for our flagship journal, Symbolic Interaction. The call for papers for this special issue will follow shortly after the 2015 annual conference. Some of the relevant topics to explore on this theme are not limited to, but may include:

• The historical legacy of public sociology in the interactionist tradition

• How a more public orientation might inspire novel approaches to interactionist research

• Arguing for or against a mandate of public sociology from an interactionist perspective

• Reflecting on past and present interactionist work as models for public sociology

• Considering how to better foster community and organizational partnerships, and pursue funding

• Exploring ways to best disseminate interactionist work to public audiences

• Asking whether and how symbolic interactionism might help to solve social problems, advocate for specific groups, and press for political, social, and policy changes

• Exploring how symbolic interactionists from different national traditions view the prospect of public sociology, and how this mandate is more or less relevant in different global contexts

Information on submission guidelines for individual papers to follow in December!

Call for Conference Sessions, Panels, and Organizers

As well as calling for conference sessions or other events on the above theme, we also welcome submissions on any and all topics related to symbolic interactionism. We welcome scholars from a diverse range of disciplines, and from all countries around the world. To this end, those who are interested in chairing sessions or organizing other conference events should send a proposed title and brief description to Antony Puddephatt, VP of SSSI ( no later than December 1st, 2014. Session topics may relate to any aspect of symbolic interactionism, whether theoretical, methodological, empirical, or pedagogical. We also welcome ideas for special panels on selected topics by this deadline as well. The session themes will be advertised to potential presenters shortly thereafter, along with a deadline for paper submissions, instructions, and email contact information.

Keynote Speaker

We are very pleased indeed to announce that Diane Vaughan has agreed to be the keynote speaker for our 2015 annual conference. Dr. Vaughan is Professor of Sociology and International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. The theoretical focus of her research is how the social – history, institutions, organizations – affect individual meanings, decisions, and action. She is the author of Controlling Unlawful Organizational Behavior, Uncoupling, and The Challenger Launch Decision. She has two books in progress, Theorizing:  Analogy, Cases, and Comparative Social Organization, and Dead Reckoning: System Effects, Boundary Work and Risk in Air Traffic Control. An extremely accomplished ethnographer, Dr. Vaughan’s work is also a great example of public sociology, and she has written prolifically on how qualitative research can lend itself to public sociological work.

Overall, we encourage all of you to join us for what is sure to be an invigorating and thought-provoking meeting in Chicago, 2015!


Please contact SSSI President, Dr. Margarethe Kusenbach (, or SSSI Vice-President, Dr. Antony Puddephatt (

SSSI Website:

About Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction - Blog

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.
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1 Response to Call for Sessions: SSSI Annual Meetings in Chicago, IL (August 2015)

  1. Pingback: Call for Sessions – 2015 Konferenz der Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction in Chicago #soziologie #interaktionismus | Marketing, Interaction & Technology

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