David R. Maines: Embedding Symbolic Interactionism at the Heart of Sociology

David R. Maines was a key founder of the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction, and a champion of symbolic interactionist sociology. Maines fought against characterizations of symbolic interactionism as astructural and “subjectivist.” He was adamant that symbolic interactionism offered vital perspectives on the study of social structure and organization, and that it was compatible with a variety of research methods. He played a vital role in developing narrative sociology and bringing narrative scholarship from communication studies to sociological audiences. In this retrospective on his life and career, I detail what Maines saw as the five central features of symbolic interactionism: (1) interpretation and meaning, (2) communication, (3) temporality and process, (4) agency, and (5) dialectical thinking. I then examine four interrelated themes of Maines' sociological contributions: (1) temporality, (2) debunking myths about interactionism, (3) mesostructure, and (4) narrative sociology. A video abstract is available at https://youtu.be/YodjvXbo51Q.



Work Title David R. Maines: Embedding Symbolic Interactionism at the Heart of Sociology
Open Access
  1. Jeffery T. Ulmer
  1. Maines
  2. Mesostructured
  3. Narrative
  4. Agency
  5. Temporality
License In Copyright (Rights Reserved)
Work Type Article
  1. Symbolic Interaction
Publication Date December 12, 2022
Publisher Identifier (DOI)
  1. https://doi.org/10.1002/symb.625
Related URLs
Deposited May 31, 2023




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Work History

Version 1

  • Created
  • Added Ulmer_Maines_SI_2023.pdf
  • Added Creator Jeffery T. Ulmer
  • Published
  • Updated Keyword, Related URLs, Publication Date Show Changes
    • Maines, Mesostructured, Narrative, Agency, Temporality
    Related URLs
    • https://youtu.be/YodjvXbo51Q
    Publication Date
    • 2023-02-01
    • 2022-12-12
  • Updated