Symbolic Interactionism as Defined by Herbert Blumer
Herbert Blumer, originator of the term "symbolic interactionism," had a profound effect on social theory and methodology. A respected critic and devotee of George Herbert Mead, Blumer expounded with fervour on the importance of meaning to the individual as an acting entity, the primacy of direct empirical observation as a methodology, and the centrality of the "definition of the situation" introduced by W. I. Thomas. Blumer's thought was also heavily influenced by John Dewey, the noted Pragmatist. This discussion of Blumer's thought will be preceded by a brief overview of both Dewey's and Mead's main ideas, from which Blumer's were largely drawn. The overview of Blumer's contributions will touch on the premises underlying Symbolic Interactionism, follow with an exploration of what Blumer called the "root images" of Symbolic Interactionism, and conclude with a few remarks about Blumer's assertions regarding methodology as it relates to empirical science.
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