Special Issue – The Senses in Social Interaction
Co-edited by Will Gibson (University College London, Institute of Education) & Dirk vom Lehn (King’s college London)
Symbolic Interaction invites submissions for a Special Issue exploring the role of the senses in social interaction. Our particular concern is with how the senses are invoked in communicative practice in everyday life and how people make their sensorial experiences accountable to one another. The papers will mark a turning point in the study of the senses by analysing empirically senses as interactional phenomena — i.e. how people communicate about the senses; how talk, gesture, gaze, material artefacts, physical environments, and other resources are used to make the senses accountable to other participants; and how senses are made relevant and observable to unfolding interaction. We regard this approach as contrasting with existing research in the field that often looks at the ‘cultural significance’ of sensorial action or at the phenomenological experience and the meanings of sensorial action in absence of a close analysis of the interaction order in which such meanings are situated.
Studies have begun to explore the ways that the sensorial activities figure in and configure social practices, and how they play a role in the structuring of contextually specific ‘practical relevancies’ (Mann 2018). We are particularly interested in research that develops this idea by looking at how the senses become relevant to ‘making something happen’. This ‘something’ may be in an organisational context, such as at work or in an organisationally ‘structured’ experience like visiting a gallery or going to a concert. Similarly, papers may look at more mundane contexts such as chatting, shopping, eating/drinking either in private or public spaces. A part of our interest is in exploring the methodological challenges in studying the senses (Vannini et al., 2012). In the light of this, we would be keen to publish a variety of methodological approaches from different theoretical perspectives, and to include work that uses a range of methods including observations and video methods, but also more experimental forms using contemporary modes of data representation from the arts.
We welcome tentative expressions of interest and are happy to explore the fit of possible research papers with the above theme. Full papers should be submitted to the online system of Symbolic Interaction. Please select the tab related to this Special Issue when submitting your paper, or indicate in your cover letter that your paper is for the Special Issue.
Deadline for submission is May 30, 2019. You will be informed by July 15 if your paper has been accepted for the Special Issue and if revisions are required to prepare the paper for publication.
Mann A. (2018) Ordering tasting in a restaurant: experiencing, socializing, and processing food. The Senses and Society 13(2). 1å35–146.
Vannini P., Waskul D. and Gottschalk S. (2012) The Senses in Self, Society, and Culture: A Sociology of the Senses (Contemporary Sociological Perspectives). Routledge.