Negotiating IdentitySymbolic Interactionist Approaches to Social Identity
Negotiating Identity
Symbolic Interactionist Approaches to Social Identity
Identity is never just an individual matter; it is intricately shaped by our experiences of social life. Taking a Symbolic Interactionist approach, and drawing on Goffman’s dramaturgical theory, Susie Scott explores the micro-social processes of interaction through which identities are created, maintained, challenged and reinvented. With a focus on empirical studies as illustrations, classic sociological theory is applied to contemporary examples.
Each chapter focuses on a key dimension of how identities are negotiated in the drama of everyday life, from politeness and face-saving rituals to secrecy, lies and deception. Goffman’s ideas are explored in relation to self-presentation, role-making, group interaction and public behaviour, while language and discourse are shown to help people to give credible identity performances and to frame social situations. The book reveals how social selves change over the life course through stigma, labelling and deviant careers, and how life in a total institution can radically transform its members' identities. Through all of these processes, self and society are shown to be intertwined.
This insightful approach will appeal to students taking a range of courses in the sociology of the self, identity, interaction and everyday life
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  • October 2015
  • 263 pages
  • 158 x 237 mm / 6 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $72.75
  • 9780745669724
  • Paperback $28.00
  • 9780745669731
  • Open eBook $22.99
  • 9781509500772
Table of Contents
Chapter 1. Interacting selves: Symbolic Interactionist approaches to identity
Chapter 2. Relating in public: Rudeness, civility and polite fictions
Chapter 3. Framing pictures: Definitions, accounts and motive talk
Chapter 4. Managing faces: Roles, performance and self-presentation
Chapter 5. Casting members: Teamwork, collusion and dramaturgical loyalty
Chapter 6. Spoiling careers: Deviance, stigma and moral trajectories
Chapter 7. Reinventing futures: Organizations, power and institutionalized identities
Chapter 8. Faking identity: Secrecy, deception and betrayal
About the Author
Susie Scott is Reader in Sociology at the University of Sussex.
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"Casting identity as lived and negotiated, Scott extends a pragmatist orientation to symbolic interaction, dramaturgy, and ethnomethodology. Pertinent and interesting case material grounds theory in everyday circumstances, making for accessible reading. The book is highly recommended for courses on self and society and on social control."
Jaber F. Gubrium, University of Missouri [and author of The Self We Live By]

"Susie Scott has already established herself as one of our leading exponents of interactionist sociology. Here she has again assimilated and synthesised a impressive array of material in a scholarly overview of the sources and enactments of social identity. At a time when issues of identity are written about loosely in many quarters, we need Scott’s careful, systematic and disciplined review. She clearly establishes the continuing relevance of symbolic interactionism for sociology today."
Paul Atkinson, Cardiff University

"With the lucidity we have come to expect, Susie Scott draws from her remarkable command of micro social theory to provide a profound exploration of social identity. Illuminating this through a glittering variety of real-world illustrations, she reveals the artistry, the fragility, and the poignancy of the everyday processes by which we negotiate who we are."
Rob Stones, University of Western Sydney
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