July 2004

Call for Papers

Symbolic Interaction and Ethnographic Research 2005: 

The Intellectual Legacy of Herbert Blumer

April 7-10, 2005

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
[Held with the North Central Sociological Association Meetings – ncsanet@org]

This conference builds centrally on the works of George Herbert Mead, Herbert Blumer, and the broader tradition of Chicago-style or pragmatist ethnography. Every effort will be made to accommodate papers that have this sort of emphasis.

The Sessions  (five different types of sessions are proposed):

1. Five “centerpiece sessions” focusing on the Contributions of Herbert Blumer to the Human Sciences.
2. Topical Interactionist Sessions. Emphasizing Chicago-style interactionist theory and research, these sessions enable scholars to attend to specific subject matters.
3. Sessions addressing specific “Generic Social Processes.” Reflecting Herbert Blumer’s emphasis on generic processes, these sessions represent opportunities to develop more informed and qualified sets of concepts that are basic to human group life but also provide resources in which an exceptional level of conceptual cross-fertilization may take place
4.  Interactionist Sessions that contribute to NCSA’s “Future Faculty Program.” These address matters pertaining to teaching and research that could be of particular value to graduate students but would be open to everyone.
5. Also First Evening --- April 7, 2005 (arrival date)
Symbolic Interaction meets the Editors(We will be inviting editors from)
-- The American Sociologist
-- Journal of Contemporary Ethnography
-- Qualitative Sociology
-- Sociological Focus
-- Symbolic Interaction


Centerpiece Sessions (paper sessions)
Herbert Blumer: The Intellectual Legacy
* Foundations of Human Group Life
* Methodological Directions and Ethnographic Implications
* Conceptual Dimensions, Generic Processes, & Analytic Extensions
* Herbert Blumer and the Pragmatist Tradition
* Limitations, Obstacles, and Potentialities

Topical Interactionist Sessions (paper sessions)
* Education and Scholarship
* Science and Technology
* Recreation and Entertainment
* Religious Involvements and Interchanges
* Deviance and Morality
* Power and Politics
* The Pragmatist Tradition
* Pragmatist Features of Classical Greek and Latin Scholarship
* Transhistorical / Ethnohistorical Analysis

Sessions On Generic Social Processes (paper sessions)
[The papers in these sessions may be more theoretical in emphasis and/or more centrally address one of these processes through ethnographic research]
* Acquiring Perspectives
* Achieving Identity
* Generating Performances
* Experiencing Influence Work
* Engaging Relationships
* Experiencing Emotionality
* Developing Communicative Fluency
* Participating in Collective Events
* Experiencing the Intersubjective Self

Interactionist Contributions to NCSA’s “Future Faculty Program”
[could be “instructional” discussion and/or “paper” sessions, depending on submissions]
* Teaching Symbolic Interaction in the Classroom
* Teaching Ethnographic Research
* Conducting Field Research:  Processes and Problematics
* Theorizing with Ethnographic Data

Please forward a tentative title and a working draft of your abstract (about 100-200 words) along with a copy of your CV (this need not be extensive). We hope to set the basic program by November 30th, 2004, and may be able to accommodate a few late submissions.  However, in order to secure a place for your paper as well as generate a more viable conference, we ask you to submit your paper proposals as soon as possible. Likewise, to help people arrange their own schedules, we will indicate acceptances as promptly as we can.

Robert Prus
University of Waterloo
Waterloo, Ontario Canada   N2L 3G1
(519) 888-4567 x2105
William Shaffir
McMaster University
Hamilton, Ontario Canada  L8S 4L8
(905) 525-9140 x23799

Background Information

This conference is explicitly focused on Blumerian or Chicago-style symbolic interaction and ethnographic research. We welcome submissions from those who are new to this tradition as well as more established scholars in the field.  Likewise, we very much welcome statements on projects in progress. Still, it is the theoretical and methodological emphasis of Blumerian or Chicago-style symbolic interaction that will serve as the primary criterion for accepting papers.

For your more general information, it might be noted that although we will be meeting in Pittsburgh, this conference is the 2005 version of an annual spring set of meetings we have held over the past 20 years in Canada (variously at McMaster University, Carleton University, University of New Brunswick, York University, University of Windsor, and University of Waterloo).

Like many other conferences, however, these meetings have tended to become more diffuse over the years. Thus, the 2005 Conference is intended to re-center the program in line with its original Chicago-style interactionist roots. We held a much smaller (effectively a test run) conference on symbolic interaction and ethnographic research in 2004 with NCSA and that worked out extremely well. With NCSA arranging for meeting rooms, tending to registration, and the like, as well as the scheduling flexibility they have given us, we will be able to concentrate more exclusively on developing a viable, more concentrated set of sessions. With your help, we hope to develop an exceptionally viable, stimulating, and productive program.

In anticipation that we may be able to access one or more publishing outlets for papers from this conference as well as encouraging a more viable level of interchange at the conference, we ask everyone to “come with papers in hand.”

If you would be interested in chairing one of the sessions at the SI/ER conference, would you please let us know soon as possible. That would be very helpful.

Best wishes for your studies!