SOCI 112: Social Interaction

This is an introductory course in microsociology. This means that we will look closely at social interaction, rather than focusing on the abstractions of social structure examined by most macrosociology courses. We will go “inside social life” to explore the ways that people create, make sense of, reproduce, and/or challenge the meaning and experience of everyday life. We will use a theoretical perspective known as symbolic interactionism, which views humans as continually engaged in the process of seeking and creating meaning through interaction with others. Our starting point will be the social construction of “the self.” However, as we move through the course, we will give increasing attention to the ways that individual action both shapes and is shaped by social contexts and institutional structures.

Ultimately, the goal of this course is to provoke thought about what we take for granted as “natural” about the social order of everyday life, in order that we may think more critically about the ways our own social interactions both reinforce and challenge the cultural practices and social institutions that constrain those very interactions.

Required Texts:

  • Cahill and Sandstrom, Inside Social Life: Readings in Sociological Psychology and Microsociology, 8th edition (2015), ISBN 978-0190647889
  • Schwalbe, The Sociologically Examined Life: Pieces from the Conversation, 5th edition (2017), ISBN 978-0070620660

View a sample course syllabus.

Contact the Friday Center at with any questions or for more information.

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