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Generic and Generative Dimensions of Interactionism

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The emergent conceptual orientation of interactionism is conducive to an exploration of more critical intellectual frontiers. Informed by Simmel and Blumer, this paper argues for the development of generic forms and processes in an effort to appreciate the nature of group life. Such sensitizing concepts as the self and consciousness, grounded in "on-site processes", enable the investigation of cultural reproduction. Moreover, the reflective epistemology of interactionism and its concomitant flexible methodologies encourage the pursuit of critical directions. The primacy of subjectivity does not foreclose the exploration of culture or ideology as interactionally mediated. The aim of this paper, therefore, is to stimulate further theoretical and empirical research in linking situated struggles to the phenomenon of cultural reproduction. Methodologically, this paper is part of an ongoing longitudinal project designed to investigate the variety of relations male street prostitutes develop with socializing agencies. Data were collected in five American and three Canadian cities. A multi-method or "triangulated" approach was utilized incorporating observations, interviews, and case histories.


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