Symbolic Interactionism George Simmel Jacqueline Low

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Structure, Agency, and Social Reality in Blumerian Symbolic Interactionism: The Influence of Georg Simmel Author(s): Jacqueline Low Source: Symbolic Interaction, Vol. 31, No. 3 (Summer 2008), pp. 325-343 Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/si.2008.31.3.325 . Accessed: 31/03/2015 20:24 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp . JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools…show more content…
. . functional psychology” (Reynolds 2003b:39), “Southern Comptean” assumptions (Lyman and Vidich 2000:10), and, reaching even farther back, ancient Greek philosophy (Prus 2003, 2004)—but rarely, and curiously to my mind, Simmelian formalism. With the noted exception of the arguments made by Rock (1979); the assertions of Prus (1996)1 and some members of the Iowa school (Katovich, Miller, and Stewart 2003), most notably Couch (1989); in addition to passing reference made by others (Frisby 2002; Helle 1988; Levine, Carter, and Gorman 1976a; Lyman and Vidich 1988), serious claims to connect Simmel’s insights with symbolic interactionism are rarely made, despite what I see to be an obvious resonance between his ideas and the core assumptions of the perspective. Moreover, attempts to identify Simmel as a classical father of symbolic interactionism have been discounted. For instance, Reynolds (2003b:39) dismissively states “one could . . . point out . . . that in addition to pragmatism, Simmelian formalism is a bedrock antecedent for interactionism”; however, he then restricts his discussion to only those intellectual precursors to symbolic interactionism validated by Manis and Meltzer—which, needless to say, do not include Simmel. Simmel’s ideas are even less often cited as foundational thought in the development of the Blumerian or Chicago school variant of symbolic interactionism. Fine (1993:64) writes

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