The Symbolic Interactionist Lobby and the Fight over a Balanced American Sociological Review

Norbert Wiley

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In summer, 1976 Norm Denzin and Norb Wiley acted, as a Symbolic Interactionist lobby, to try to get a more centrist, middle-of-the-road editor for the American Sociological Review. We wanted one who could represent female epistemology, which is less narrow than that of males. We also wanted a female as editor She would be the first female ASR editor. So it was a gender lobby as well as Symbolic Interactionist. Wiley attended the American Sociological Association Council meeting where this issue was discussed. We wanted to formally state our position in an address to the ASA Council. The ASA Secretary, Bill Form, attempted to keep us off the agenda, and we needed a vote from the Council approving our inclusion. This paper describes the fight at the meeting between Bill Form and Wiley, along with comments from the Council members. The lobby got the required votes and Wiley gave the prepared statement. As a consequence we did get a female editor (Rita Simon). And we promoted the issue of how representative the American Sociological Review and the other sociology journals should be. Later Wiley continued to promote social theory, and Denzin achieved several important accomplishments toward broadening and democratizing the field of sociology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)545-557
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Sociologist
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • ASA Council
  • American Sociological Review
  • Epistemology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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