Call for Papers 2023

Are We Talking in Circles?
Expanding Ideas in Qualitative Research

The 39th Annual Qualitative Analysis Conference
Couch-Stone Symposium of the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction
University of British Columbia-Okanagan
Kelowna, BC

June 14-16, 2023

Extended Submission Deadline
Abstract to be submitted online by December 1, 2022

“Our life is an apprenticeship to the truth, that around every circle another can be drawn …

The extent to which this generation of circles, wheel without wheel, will go, depends on the force or truth of the individual soul." Ralph Waldo Emerson, Circles, 1841.

The metaphor of the circle is a powerful one, in life, intellectual ideas, and indeed, in our world of interpretive theory and qualitative research. As Emerson reminds us, our circles of comprehension provide a sense of completion and wholeness, yet nature, no less the obdurate empirical social world we study, often refuses to remain within their limits.[1] Our traditional paradigms may thus require revision and extension as we grapple with emergent problems and issues. Circles may also stand as useful representations of cultural symbolism and forms of social organization, such as collaborative circles, social/intellectual circles, and broader circles of influence through subcultures and networks. We often use circles as tools to map the structures and dynamics of the social worlds we study.[2] If the circle points to social, virtual and conceptual space, then the wheel points to the progress of our perspectives over time. It is often important to revisit and challenge old (and new) ideas across generations, and similar patterns can be seen within our own research projects. For example, Kathy Charmaz emphasized the need to revisit field sites, qualitative data, and conceptual codes and theories, putting them in creative dialogue to generate novel insights and breakthroughs.[3]

Finding inspiration in the metaphor of the circle, we invite a range of theoretical, methodological, and empirical papers under the broad umbrella of interpretive and qualitative research. How do our theoretical perspectives invite us to draw conceptual boundaries, which provide resources but also create challenges in the face of emergent data? How might the metaphor of the circle help us to understand the social and cultural makeup of the groups we study? And, how do our ideas evolve, through dialogue with old and new thinkers over generations, but also in the process of our own emergent research projects? We invite papers on this theme, but also welcome submissions on all aspects of interpretive theory and qualitative research from a broad range of academic disciplines.

Abstracts can be submitted online at If you have any questions, please contact us at See you in Kelowna in 2023!

Deana Simonetto, University of British Columbia

Jeffrey van den Scott, Memorial University

Lisa-Jo K. van den Scott, Memorial University

Steven Kleinknecht, Brescia University College

Antony Puddephatt, Lakehead University

Foroogh Mohammadi, Memorial University of Newfoundland

Pouya Morshedi, Memorial University of Newfoundland

Katie Steeves, Trinity Western University

[1] Herbert Blumer (1969) often discussed the “obdurate” nature of the empirical world, which could talk back and resist our designations, in his book Symbolic Interactionism. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

[2] Adele Clarke (2005) Situational Analysis: Grounded Theory After the Postmodern Turn. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

[3] Kathy Charmaz (2014) Constructivist Grounded Theory, 2nd Edition, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage; see also Stefan Timmermans and Iddo Tavory (2014) Abductive Analysis. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.