Symbolic Interaction as Music: Esthetic Constitution of Meaning, Self, and Society
Analytical frameworks such as dramaturgy and narrative analysis are respectively grounded in metaphors of life as theater and life as a story. In related fashion, in this article the authors argue for the creation of another metaphor: life as music. Viewing selfhood and symbolic interaction as music sensitizes us to observe and understand an important but much too neglected dimension of social life: the esthetic. Drawing from the pragmatist philosophy of John Dewey, the authors argue that the realm of the esthetic should not be confined to museums and art galleries, for the intentional perception of beauty constitutes the very foundation of individuals' embodied experiences of their lifeworlds. From within our metaphor of life as music we conceptualize beauty as the diverse rhythms, melodies, and harmonies contributing to the constitution of both subjectivity and intersubjectivity.
Sociology and Corrections
Phillip Vannini and Dennis Waskul. 2006. "Symbolic Interaction as Music: Esthetic Constitution of Meaning, Self, and Society." Symbolic Interaction, 29 (1): 5-18.
Link to Publisher Version (DOI)
Publisher's Copyright and Source
Copyright © 2006 the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction. Article published by the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction/John Wiley & Sons in Symbolic Interaction, volume 29, issue number 1, Winter 2006, pages 5-18. Available online on December 22, 2011: