The 34th Annual
Qualitative Analysis Conference

The "Glorious Triumph" of Symbolic Interactionism:  Honouring the Past/Forging the Future

Hosted by McMaster University

Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
May 17 to 19, 2017

Abstract submission deadline has passed. Thanks to all those who submitted proposals.

Over the several decades that the Qualitative Analysis Conference has been in existence, the symbolic interactionist approach that informed the interests of its founders has become firmly established.  Observations have been made about the “glorious triumph” of the perspective as researchers of every ilk, not simply those who identify as symbolic interactionists, continue to adopt, adapt and extend various elements of symbolic interactionist theory and methods, though not always self-consciously, consistently, or with an awareness of the roots of the ideas they are using.  The meaning-making activities of social actors have become central concerns in the discipline and the observation that all social meanings are constructed intersubjectively in social, cultural, and historical contexts has become a sociological truism.  Moreover, what started as a predominantly North American tradition is increasingly capturing the imagination of sociologists across the world, creating possibilities for a broader dialogue about the social processes that undergird human lived experience. Those who subscribe to a “let a thousand flowers bloom” philosophy underscore the versatility of the approach and its capacity to find new expression in the scholarship of those with different views about the fundamental nature of the social order and the task for those of us who seek to study it.

At the same time, there are those who have raised questions about what has been sacrificed. The selective diffusion of symbolic interactionist ideas and methods is seen as having blunted the distinctiveness of the approach and detracted from a more focused and coherent inquiry into the social processes at the heart of its interests.  While current applications and extensions of the approach create the illusion of common ground, scholars with fundamental ontological and epistemological differences between them are often simply talking past each other.

The theme of this year’s conference offers an opportunity to both celebrate the symbolic interactionist tradition so integrally linked to the genesis of the QAC and also to ask important questions about where we are now and where we are going as we continue to study human knowing and acting.   

Papers that speak directly to these issues, as well as papers that take a symbolic interactionist or SI-related approach are invited.  Submissions from students and faculty new to this tradition are welcomed as are papers from established scholars in the field. Recognizing that scholarship is an ongoing process, we are receptive to statements on projects in varying stages of development, including more tentative formulations.

Several of the original organizers of the conference will be joining us for a special retrospective. Information about the conference’s keynote and featured speakers is forthcoming. Please continue to check our web-site.

In line with this year’s theme, we anticipate editing a special journal issue and possibly a volume of edited papers devoted to the current state of the art in symbolic interactionist and qualitative or ethnographic research.  A separate call for papers will be sent out and posted on our website.

Abstracts can be submitted online at While we will consider late submissions, we ask that you make every effort to submit an abstract by the deadline so that we can include it in a SSHRC grant we are applying for so that we can help defray the travel expenses of long distance travelers.

 If you have any questions, please contact us at


Abstracts will be submitted online at If you have any questions, please contact us at

Conference Organizing Team

Dorothy Pawluch

Department of Sociology

McMaster University

Lisa-Jo K. van den Scott

Department of Sociology

Memorial University of Newfoundland

William Shaffir

Department of Sociology

McMaster University

Jeff van den Scott

School of Music

Memorial University of Newfoundland

Deana Simonetto

Department of Sociology

McMaster University

Carrie Sanders

Department of Criminology

Wilfrid Laurier University,


Jennifer Hounsell

Department of Sociology

McMaster University

Arthur McLuhan

Department of Sociology

York University


Watch here for announcements from this year's Qualitatives!

Registration is now open.
We look forward to welcoming you to Hamilton!

We are pleased to announce that the site for the 34
th Annual Qualitative Analysis Conference hosted by McMaster University on May 17-19th, 2017 will be the Sheraton Hamilton Hotel.  See the "Accommodations" link in the menu on the left for more details.

We are pleased to announce Dr. David Altheide, Regents' Professor Emeritus at Arizona State University, as the keynote speaker for the 2017 Qualitatives.

We are pleased to announce Dr. Sam Hillyard, Reader in Sociology in the School of Applied Social Sciences at Durham University as the featured speaker for the 2017 Qualitatives.

The Qualitatives,
Aug 16, 2016, 3:47 PM