Reply to Ulmer: Symbolic interactionism or a structural alternative?

Luigi Esposito, John W. Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


In his critique of our 1999 article "Desensitizing Herbert Blumer's Work on Race Relations: Recent Applications of His Group Position Theory to the Study of Contemporary Race Prejudice," Jeffery Ulmer charges us with providing a "questionable" interpretation of Blumer's ideas on the grounds that we (1) neglect (or distort) Blumer's advocation for making abstract generalizations in the form of "definitive" concepts, and thus sabotage Blumer's empirical methodology as well as that of symbolic interactionism in general and (2) fail to address a body of literature that deals with "repackaging" Blumer's ideas in such a way that "solves" the sorts of tensions we raise between Blumer's theory and quantitative research. Ulmer fears that our representation of Blumer and symbolic interactionism may result in a host of "mythic facts" (a term borrowed from David Maines) that will undermine Blumer's contributions "to a viable and whole science of the social, including race relations.".

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-302
Number of pages6
JournalSociological Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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