Contribution to Book
Encyclopedia of Social Psychology
Symbolic interactionism is a major theoretical perspective in North American sociological social psychology that studies how individuals actively define their social reality and understand themselves by interacting with others. Symbolic interactionism has its origins in pragmatism, the American philosophy of how living things make practical adjustments to their surroundings. American sociologist and pragmatist philosopher George Herbert Mead (1863–1931) is generally identified as the founder of this theory, although the term symbolic interactionism was actually coined by Mead's student, Herbert Blumer, who formally articulated Mead's ideas following his death.