CfP – SSSI Annual Meeting in Philadelphia (15 – 17 August 2023) #sssi #sociology

SSSI Annual Meeting,

West Chester University

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

15th-17th August 2023

Call for Papers

Interdisciplinary encounters:

influence, identity and dialogue in Symbolic Interactionist research

Keynote address: Professor Adele Clarke, UCSF

Symbolic interactionism (SI) occupies an ambiguous position within academic communities of practice. At times both marginalised and mainstream, its relation to other disciplines, perspectives and intellectual traditions is open to interpretation and appraised with different meanings. One view is that SI has benefited from the influence of adjacent fields of study and is harmoniously integrated within broader knowledge realms. We have learned from philosophy, psychology and linguistics, and cooperate productively with the sociologies of gender, health, ethnicity, technology and crime. Another view is of SI as the deviant underdog of social theory, ousted from contemporary trends. Micro-sociology is often frustratingly misunderstood as being unconcerned with matters of structure and power. We are, in Fine’s terms, a ‘tiny public’ with a distinct idioculture, yet remain curious and outward-facing.

All of this raises questions of scholarly identity, group membership and territorial self-definition. Goffman was famously reluctant to align himself with the interactionist tradition, preferring to cite research from anthropology, ethology and economics. Others, including Becker, Maines and Lofland, proudly embraced the professional role-identity, claiming SI as their intellectual home. The career of Kathy Charmaz demonstrates a third stance. From an initial position of ambivalence and scepticism, she gradually shifted her perspective and later keenly adopted the role. Like all symbolic objects, therefore, SI as an emblem or label carries contingent, negotiable meanings. 

We invite reflections on academic self-identification, disciplinary allegiance, interdisciplinary alliances, boundaries and identity work. These may include personal stories grounded in auto/biography, genealogical maps of career trajectories, reviews of influential and inspirational sources, and critical analyses of intellectual traditions. What place does SI hold in relation to other perspectives: how open are its borders and how permeable are its walls? What forms of dialogue do we practice when we talk of interaction, and whose voices can be heard in conversational inquiry?  

We invite papers related to this theme, as well as papers on other aspects of interactionist theory and methods. We also encourage suggestions for roundtable panel discussions on relevant topics or influential scholars.

  • Self-identity, scholarship and disciplinary allegiance
  • (Auto)biographical accounts of academic career trajectories
  • Reflections on interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary research
  • Social exclusion, diversity, belonging and recognition
  • Individual and group identity processes
  • Local worlds, public tales and collective stories
  • Identity politics, rights and social justice
  • Negotiated and contested meanings in the interaction order
  • Difference, division, marginalisation and stigma
  • Intimacy, emotions and relational selfhood
  • Mental and physical health, illness, embodiment and disabilities 
  • Narrative identity and the storied self
  • Geographies of place, space and social mobility

Proposals should include:

  • Title of paper/session
  • Name, affiliation and job title/position of all contributors
  • Contact information for presenter/organiser (name, institution, and email)
  • Abstract (200 words maximum)
  • Relevant conference theme or keywords

Deadline: April 17th 2023

Please submit single/co-authored submissions here:

If you have proposals for themed sessions or panels, please contact Dr. Julie West (, or Professor Susie Scott (

Organising committee members:

Tony Puddephatt (President)

Susie Scott (Vice President)

Thaddeus Muller (incoming President)

Natalia Ruiz Junco (Past Vice President)

Julie Wiest (Local member)

Stacey Hannem (Secretary)

Jill Crocker (Treasurer)

Dr. Beth Montemurro, Penn State University, Abington

Dr. Liz Hughes, Penn State University, Abington


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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