Kathy Charmaz Defines Symbolic Interactionism & Grounded Theory

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    • 00:03

      [Symbolic Interactionism & Grounded Theory]

    • 00:10

      KATHY CHARMAZ: Symbolic interactionismis often thought to be the [Kathy Charmaz, PhDProfessor of Sociology Sonoma State University]theoretical foundation of grounded theory.But in my own view, I see symbolic interactionismand grounded theory working very well together.But I don't think it's the only theoretical perspectiveyou can use.I believe you can use a variety of them

    • 00:33

      KATHY CHARMAZ [continued]: depending on your research problem and the directionyou're taking it.Where symbolic interactionism is so importantis its emphasis on meaning and action, whichfits grounded theory perfectly.Adele Clark often describes it as hand and glove,

    • 00:53

      KATHY CHARMAZ [continued]: that they fit very, very well together.And that's true.So a general symbolic interactionist perspectivecan help you shape the kinds of questionsyou're going to ask in the field and the kind of observations

    • 01:15

      KATHY CHARMAZ [continued]: that you're going to make.I'm all for the notion of if you start with general conceptsand they don't fit what you're seeing and finding,you drop them.You don't have to be wedded to them.If you're doing a study and you thought it was about identity,

    • 01:36

      KATHY CHARMAZ [continued]: and you see that it's about power,follow the issues and power, how power emerges, how it'snegotiated, or not, or imposed.Because power is often imposed rather than negotiated.When people recognize, when they don't, what the consequencesare of it, you can do a grounded theory quite nicely

    • 01:58

      KATHY CHARMAZ [continued]: with a number of other kinds of sensitizing concepts.But I think that's one of the most important contributionsof symbolic interactionism to ground and theoryis the notion of giving people a set of sensitizing conceptsto begin research that you just have in your head.What I mean by sensitizing concept

    • 02:20

      KATHY CHARMAZ [continued]: is one that is loosely defined ratherthan specifically defined.It's loosely defined, that we share.When we talk about identity for example,we share certain kinds of assumptions about it.Then you trace it out.And you can develop and extend a concept through your research.

    • 02:41

      KATHY CHARMAZ [continued]: And I think that's what must groundedtheorists do is extend a line of thoughtmore than innovate a whole new line of thought.And most qualitative researchers do as well.

Kathy Charmaz Defines Symbolic Interactionism & Grounded Theory

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Abstract

Professor Kathy Charmaz explains that symbolic interactionism is often thought to be the theoretical foundation of grounded theory, but that grounded theory can work just as well with other perspectives. She sees symbolic interactionism as a sensitizing concept that can help researchers see the shape of their research problem.

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Kathy Charmaz Defines Symbolic Interactionism & Grounded Theory

Professor Kathy Charmaz explains that symbolic interactionism is often thought to be the theoretical foundation of grounded theory, but that grounded theory can work just as well with other perspectives. She sees symbolic interactionism as a sensitizing concept that can help researchers see the shape of their research problem.

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