Symbolic Interactionism: The Basics

by Charles Quist-Adade (Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Canada)

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This book is a survey of Symbolic Interaction. In thirteen short chapters, it traces the history, the social philosophical roots, the founders, “movers and shakers” and evolution of the theory. Symbolic Interactionism: The Basics takes the reader along the exciting, but tortuous journey of the theory and explores both the meta-theoretical and mini-theoretical roots and branches of the theory. Symbolic interactionism or sociological social psychology traces its roots to the works of United States sociologists George Hebert Mead, Charles Horton Cooley, and Herbert Blumer, and a Canadian sociologist, Erving Goffman; Other influences are Harold Garfinkel’s Ethnomethodology and Austrian-American Alfred Schutz’s study of Phenomenology.

Symbolic Interactionism: Basics explores the philosophical sources of symbolic interactionism, including pragmatism, social behaviorism, and neo-Hegelianism. The intellectual origins of symbolic interactions can be attributed to the works of William James, George Simmel, John Dewey, Max Weber, and George Herbert Mead. Mead is believed to be the founder of the theory, although he did not publish any academic work on the paradigm. The book highlights the works of the intellectual heirs of symbolic interactionism— Herbert Blumer, Mead’s former student, who was instrumental in publishing the lectures his former professor posthumously with the title Symbolic Interactionism, Erving Goffman and Robert Park.



Chapter 1 Society and the Social Animal

Chapter 2 Symbolic Interactionism: A Brief Introduction

Chapter 3 Philosophical Sources and Intellectual Roots of Symbolic Interactionism

Chapter 4 George Herbert Mead “The Father” of Symbolic Interactionism

Chapter 5 Herbert Blumer and Symbolic Interactionism

Chapter 6 Charles Horton Cooley’s Looking Glass Self

Chapter 7 Erving Goffman and Impression Management

Chapter 8 Phenomenology

Chapter 9 Ethnomethodology

Chapter 11 Tying the loose ends




Dr. Charles Quist-Adade is a faculty member and immediate past chair and former co-chair of the Sociology Department at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. He is the founder and convener of the Kwame Nkrumah International Conference series. His research and teaching interests are Social justice, Globalization, Racialization and Anti-racism, Social Theory, Pan-Africanist and Global South issues.
Before joining the Department of Sociology, Dr. Quist-Adade was Assistant Professor at Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work at Central Michigan University. He has previously held positions at the University of Windsor, Wayne State University, Madonna University, Michigan State University, Simon Fraser and the University of British Columbia.
He is the author and co-author of several books such as In the Shadows of the Kremlin and the White House: Africa's Media, Social Justice in Local and Global Contexts, From Colonization to Globalization The Political and Intellectual (with Vincent Dodoo), An Introduction to Critical Sociology: From Modernity to Postmodernity (with Amir Mirfakhraie), Africa's Many Divides and Africa's Future,Re-engaging the African Diasporas (with Wendy Royal) and From the Local to the Global: Theories and Key Issues in Global Justice. He has also authored several chapters in books as well as scores of scholarly and popular press articles.
Dr. Quist-Adade has won several teaching awards and accolades, including being cited twice in the Academic Edition of Canada’s premier newsmagazine Maclean’s as the top three most popular and one of 10 best professors at the University of Windsor. In 2013, he was Kwantlen Polytechnic University Faculty of Arts Dean’s Teaching Award Finalist.

Symbolic Interactionism, Social Psychology, George Herbert Mead, Charles Horton Cooley, George Herbert Blumer, Social Constructionism, Critical Constructivism, John Dewey, Georg Simmel, Micro-Sociology, Max Weber, Karl Marx, Sociology of Knowledge, Ethnomethodology, Phenomenology, Critical Sociology, Rational Choice Theory, Exchange Theory

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Bibliographic Information

Book Title

Symbolic Interactionism: The Basics





Number of pages


Physical size

236mm x 160mm


3 B&W
Publication date
April 2018