NCA Inside & Out


NCA Affiliate News

February 12, 2015

Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction  

Annual Conference  

August 21-23, 2015  

The Public Chicago Hotel, Chicago, IL  

Symbolic Interaction and Public Sociology  

Call for Papers  

Deadline: April 30, 2015  

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. We are now opening a call for papers!

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

 *** Please see the following section for the full call for papers, which extends far beyond the issue of public sociology.

Call for Papers:

We have a number of very interesting conference sessions open now, which engage the theme of public sociology as well as a wide range of other topics.

Please send paper proposals to the relevant section where you think your paper would best fit (addressed to the relevant session chair with the appropriate email, all of which are listed below).

Please do not send the same proposal to more than one section (this is very important!).

Please also try and find a section that fits with your paper, even if it is not a perfect fit. If you have a paper that does not fit into any of the sessions proposed, please send to

Other sections can then be constructed as necessary to reflect what is sent in.

Public Sociology and Symbolic Interactionism

Chair: Christopher Schneider, Wilfrid Laurier University


Symbolic Interaction and Public Sociology in the Digital Society

Chair: Simon Gottschalk, University of Nevada Las Vegas


The Original Chicago School of Sociology

Chair: Lonnie H. Athens, Seton Hall University


The Digital Self

Chair: Julie West, West Chester University of Pennsylvania


Technologically Mediated Interaction

Chair: Julie West, West Chester University of Pennsylvania


Place and Identity

Chairs: Stella Capek, Hendrix College, and Margarethe Kusenbach, University of South Florida


Cities and Communities

Chairs: Margarethe Kusenbach, University of South Florida, and Stella Capek, Hendrix College


Urban Interactionism, Identity, and Culture  

Chair: Richard G. Mitchell, Oregon State University, and Adele Kubein


Symbolic Interaction and the Nonhuman

Chair: Andrea Laurent-Simpson, Texas Women’s University


Interactionist Analyses of Violence

Chair: Don Weenink, University of Amsterdam


Sociology of Emotions

Chair: Scott R. Harris, Saint Louis University


Heroes and Villains

Chair: Erica Owens Yeager, Anne Arundel Community College


Work, Occupations, and Organizations

Chair: Mathew Thomas Gougherty, Indiana University Bloomington


The Strange, Uncanny, and Bizarre

Chair: Dennis Waskul, Minnesota State University Mankato


Difference, Inequality, and Interaction

Chairs: Patrick R. Grzanka, University of Tennessee, and Daniel Morrison, Pepperdine University


Symbolic Interaction and Social Inequality  

Chair: Noreen Sugrue, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


Race and Symbolic Interactionism  

Chair: Brandon A. Jackson, University of Arkansas


Our Personal, Political, and Professional Selves: Coping with Deviant Identities in Academia

Chairs: Andrea Baker, Ohio University, and Linda Liska Belgrave, University of Miami


Culture, Art, and Creativity

Chair: Maggie Cobb, University of South Florida Email:

Symbolic Interaction and the Environment

Chair: Antony Puddephatt, Lakehead University


Other Special Sessions:

Author Meets Critics: Ken Kolb’s Moral Wages

Chair: Amanda Gengler, Wake Forest University

(critics to be announced)

Other Special Sessions to be Announced!


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

SSSI Website: