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result of radical transmutations in structures of

signification. This extension of interaction in time

and space concerns not only the new information

technologies that people deploy in their day-to-day

lives, but also the mediated representations we

have of others distant in time and in space. Here

the focus is on individuals or groups of people we

do not interact with on a daily basis, but with

whom, through mediated interaction, we come

to forge some sense of cognitive and emotional

connection – however minimal. ANTHONY EL L IOTT

intergenerational mobility

– see social mobility.

intergenerational processes

– see generation(s).

internal colonialism

– see colonialism.

internet society

The term internet society has two general meanings.

The first is a physical society that has a

large proportion of its populace online and active

in consuming, communicating, or producing information

via the internet. The second refers to

the activities of people online, and the extent to

which such activities may be perceived as reproducing,

imitating, or extending in a virtual sense

the activities that are carried on in a physically

real society. This second sense is a new layer on an

older discussion of the “information society.”

In terms of the first sense – a society whose

members spend a great deal of time using the

internet – two visions are usually offered: optimistic

and pessimistic. The optimistic or even utopian

vision is that internet technology will enable societies

to overcome the digital divide and increase

social, political, and economic participation. Use of

traditional, often stigmatizing, categories will disappear

because users become unable to use such

categories and instead will deal with each other on

an unbiased basis. The other vision is pessimistic,

or even dystopian. It foresees a loss of privacy

and other civil rights, “cyber-ghettoes,” exacerbation

of inequality, and dominance of modes of

communication by malevolent corporations or


Clearly, there are some important changes

taking place as more activities are transplanted

from real-world social settings to online ones. For

instance, dating and match-making have a long

tradition. These arrangements were carried out

via each new communication technology, including

the mail, newspapers, telephones, and computers.

With the internet, millions of people are

now involved in seeking new personal relationships.

The combination of the power of the computer

with networks means that one can search

the world over for a relationship candidate. The

seeker is offered unprecedented choices. There are

important ramifications for the establishment,

maintenance, and termination of real-life relationships.

It has been speculated that, as online

options increase, people will be less willing to

invest in the emotional tasks of real-life relationships,

which will suffer as a result. So an internet

society, it seems, follows the rubric that applies to

other areas of life: when new opportunities arise,

they often entail costs to existing structures.

As to the second meaning of internet society,

theorists have examined social relationships

that have grown out of a technology based on

physically stationary computers and wire-based

intergenerational mobility internet society


communication links among them. Inquiry has

focused on the nature and number of online

communities. Boundary creation and reinforcing

mechanisms, the motives for participation in virtual

societies, and the relationship between these

societies and physical ones are central analytical

constructs in this endeavor.

At the same time, R. S. Ling, in The Mobile Connection

(2004), makes clear that the trajectory of use is

towards mobile internet, which in turn will require

a conceptual modification on the part of

scholars. The questions of the use of public space

and social relationships stemming from this

change have been little studied. One line of reasoning

concerning this is that a “walled garden”

will develop, in which people become more tightly

linked to their primary relationships and

exclude those outside these relationships, and

also reduce their psychological if not physical

presence in public places. Such technological

changes will also transform the use of public

space as more people physically occupy restaurants

and other public venues while being mentally

absorbed in the world of the distant other.



A term developed and made popular by the

French Marxist philosopher Louis Althusser, this

describes the process by which ideology addresses

the individual. The word shares the root of the

word “appellation” (name) and interpellation is a

hailing, according to Althusser. If a policeman

shouts “Hey, you there!” at least one individual

will turn around to “answer” that call. At the

moment of realization that the addressee is oneself,

one becomes a subject of the ideology of law

(see law and society). This almost instantaneous

process operates not simply at the level of individual

interaction, but also is the point at which the

police officer, representing an arm of the state,

weaves the subject into a web of law. For Althusser

this is generally how ideology operates: we are

always caught up in processes in which we voluntarily

acknowledge the validity of the ideological

practices. Interpellation draws on the structuralist

theory that the notion of an autonomous

human subject is an illusion, since human beings

are enmeshed in discursive and social structures

that shape their identity.

Film theorists in the 1970s used the concept of

interpellation to suggest that mainstream cinema

acts as an “apparatus” to position the viewers to

“misrecognize” themselves through identification

with the fictional characters on the screen. They

thus appear to possess coherent, autonomous personalities

solving conflicts, moving from disunity

to unity. Ideology is understood here not in the

sense of false beliefs but as constructing the nature

of experience itself, thus creating an imaginary

relation to the real. LARRY RAY


– see Verstehen.

interpretive repertoires

– see discourse analysis.

interval scale

– see measurement.


These are widely used forms of data collection,

not only within sociology but across the social

sciences. Although intuitively an attractive and

inherently “truthful” source of data about matters

of sociological interest, data derived by researchers

from talking to people (or via the

analysis of research participants talking to each

other) may also be subsumed under the category

of low-inference descriptors – that is, as the sort

of data that should always be treated with circumspection.

Some critiques from within feminism

have dismissed the use of interviews in principle

as necessarily reproducing relationships of patriarchal

dominance, given the power differential

in the roles of interviewer and interviewee,


Interviews are used for a variety of purposes,

and may be employed in a variety of forms. Interviews

are a routinely used technique in the pilotstudy

phase of larger-scale research endeavors

where they may be employed to trial alternative

questionnaire item wordings or to assist in item

generation for larger-scale research. Increasingly,

interviews are employed in their own right as a

stand-alone research tool: for example to permit

the identification of the interpretative repertoires

of particular groups regarding social issues by the

use of discourse analysis; to survey public perceptions

of specific political matters; or to develop

novel theoretical understandings of issues via

the use of grounded theory.

Interview methods vary in terms of the rigidity

of the requirement for the interviewer to adhere

exactly to a pre-scripted schedule. In terms of this

requirement – inspired by a concern for quasi-statistical

reliability – interviews may, broadly, be

characterized as structured, semi-structured, and

“conversational”/open-ended. Absolute fidelity to

interpellation interview(s)


pre-scripted questions is demanded by structured

interviews, a degree of flexibility – for example

paraphrasis and clarification of items – is allowable

in semi-structured approaches, and under

open-ended interviewing the simple provision of a

number of probe questions permits respondents to

elaborate on issues of research interest. Interviews

may be employed as individually administered research

devices or, less commonly, via the use of

carefully selected small groups of participants, as

a tool for the generation of data from a number of

respondents simultaneously. The focus group may

be distinguished from a group interview, in that

the moderator of a focus group is usually concerned

to facilitate a group discussion via a series

of open-ended questions and probes, rather than

to elicit a group’s answers to a sequence of predetermined

interview questions.

Data collected by interviews also varies, that is,

respondents’ answers to pre-scripted questions

may be field coded and simply recorded as a

number (see Extract 1 for an example of problematic

field coding); alternatively, the interview may

be tape-recorded and transcribed either verbatim

(as, for example, are Hansard and court transcripts)

or using the more finely grained conventions

of conversational analysis which record

linguistic details such as prosody, inflection, and

emphasis. Whatever the purpose, administration

format, and eventual representation of the interview,

for the most part the contemporary use of

the social scientific interview as research tool

depends upon, or rather implicitly accepts, a

number of usually unexamined key assumptions.

Thus it is assumed, for example, that: all interview

questions veridically represent the intent of the

designer of the interview schedule and are delivered

by interviewers precisely as such; that all

interview questions have the same semantic meaning

to all respondents; that all interviewer utterances

are questions and all interviewee utterances

are more or less well-formed responses; and, most

crucially, that interview talk is an essentially unproblematic

means of transmitting the contents of

one mind to another. This frequently unstated

belief has been termed the conduit metaphor, or,

less kindly, the telementational fallacy.

Although the empirical study of a variety of

specific settings in which interviews are used as

sense-making practices (for example in doctor–

patient encounters, psychotherapy sessions, or

news interviews) has a long history in ethnomethodology,

more recently – particularly since

the work of Ludwig Wittgenstein (see Philosophical

Investigations, 1958) and the linguistic turn in the

social sciences – not only have interviews become

an increasingly prevalent research method but

also, through the use of conversational analysis,

a body of work has begun to examine critically

the ways that social science interviews themselves

are used as academic sense-making practices. For

example, Hanneke Houtkoop-Steenstra’s work

(Interaction and the Standardised Interview: The Living

Questionnaire, 2000) focused on the administration

of market-research questionnaires, and Rapley

and Antaki’s work (1996) has examined the delivery

of psychological tests as interactional practices,

rather than as neutral probes into the

attitudes, beliefs, or intentions of respondents.

This work has started to cast doubt on longcherished

social-scientific notions that interviews

offer an unproblematic “window to the soul.”

Extract 1 (from M. Rapley and C. Antaki, “A

Conversation Analysis of the ‘Acquiescence’ of

People with Learning Disabilities,” 1996, Journal

of Community & Applied Social Psychology; transcription


Interviewer: D’you feel out of place out an’ about

in social situations?

Anne: No.

Interviewer: Anne? Never?

Anne: No.

Interviewer: Sometimes?

Anne: No.

Interviewer: Or usually?

Anne: Sometimes I do.

Interviewer: Yeah? OK, we’ll put a 2 down for that

one then.

Extract 2 (from Rapley and Antaki, 1996; transcription


Interviewer: Erm and I’d like you to answer some

questions to tell me how you feel

about the –

Arthur: They’re not ’ard ones are they?

Interviewer: Not very hard

Arthur: No

Interviewer: No and if you don’t understand them

Arthur you can just tell me

Arthur: Yeus

Interviewer: And I’ll I’ll say them differently. . .

Interviewer: So there’s no hurry do you have any

questions to ask me?

Arthur: Yeers

Interviewer: What would you like to ask me?

Arthur: I like being I like being er in ’ere

Interviewer: You like: being

Arthur: Living in ’ere like I like living in ’ere

interview(s) interview(s)


Rather, from this perspective, with interviews

understood as being no different to any other

piece of talk-in-interaction, it becomes clear that

the local interactional business of “doing interviewing”

and “doing being interviewed” may itself

become highly salient in its own right; see Extract

2 for an example of how the very business of

the interview and its consequences becomes a

difficult topic.

Interviews remain a staple method in the social

scientific armamentarium. However, the canonical

assumptions about the precise replicability

of interview protocols across respondents – upon

which the reliability and validity of aggregate

data gathered via interviews rely – warrant critical

review. Close attention to the social organization

of interaction revealed by interview transcripts

suggests that these assumptions are simply not

borne out by the data.



This is a relatively new word in the sociological

lexicon and, although sociologists have long

researched the “private sphere,” or families, or

marriage, they have not seen intimacy as a proper

focus for sociological theory. This changed, initially

with the rise of feminist research which

began to identify close personal, heterosexual, relationships

as possible sites of oppression for

women. In some senses feminist work prized

open the black box of close personal relationships

and began to challenge the assumption that intimacy

was simply personal and/or the realm of

psychoanalysis or psychology. The mainstream

sociological revolution in understanding intimacy

came, however, with Anthony Giddens, in The

Transformation of Intimacy (1992), who called to attention

the ways in which the qualities of personal

relationships were changing in late modern times.

He introduced concepts of “confluent love” and

the “pure relationship.” The former refers to the

quality of a relationship in which it is the mutual

sharing of thoughts and feelings that matters

most. Confluent love is said to be based on equality,

while the more traditional idea of romantic love

is based on gender inequality. The pure relationship

signifies one which will only last as long as it

is mutually fulfilling. Under such a regime it is

seen as acceptable to end a relationship which no

longer meets one’s needs and interests. In constructing

these models of contemporary relationships,

Giddens owes much to earlier feminist work

which criticized the power imbalances between

men and women. Indeed, he argues that it is

women who are demanding these “new” kinds of

relationships and who are leaving marriages if

they are not satisfied with the quality of intimacy,

that is established. Moreover, Giddens argues that

it is same-sex relationships which are in the vanguard

of the new form of intimacy, because they

are not based on traditional understandings of

gender difference.

Giddens’s intimacy is, however, mainly a sexual

intimacy; his focus is on the couple, whether heterosexual

or homosexual. Other sociological discussions

of intimacy have broadened the concept

to include friendship, intergenerational relationships,

and parent–child relationships. Thus Lynn

Jamieson in Intimacy (1998) speaks of “disclosing

intimacy” which is of a different sort to bodily or

sexual intimacy and can encompass rather different

sorts of close relationships. Work on friendship

is perhaps the most interesting development

because the predominant sociological emphasis

on family life and relationships has tended to

obscure the significance of intimate friendships.

Friends have been treated as being of less significance

than family members, and friendships as

less enduring than marriages. Social factors such

as high rates of divorce, the growth of singleperson

households, and the rise of childlessness

have combined to ignite a re-appraisal of friendship

as an important sociological category. Studies

of friendship and friendship networks (often

based on the workplace) have replaced studies of

communities (based on where people live), and

contemporary friendships are now understood to

be relationships which endure notwithstanding

the fact that individuals may have relationships

based on sexual intimacy as well. CAROL SMART

invisible religion

– see religion.

Irigaray, Luce (1932– )

Born in Belgium, Irigaray has made her home

since the 1960s in France, where she trained in

psychoanalysis with Jacques Lacan. Her first, and

most famous work, Speculum of the Other Woman

(1974 [trans. 1985]), argued that women have

been excluded from both philosophy and psychoanalytic

theory. This exclusion is explained by

Irigaray in terms of the identification of women

with nature and the association of women with

motherhood (an identification which applies

whether or not women are mothers). In contrast

to this, men are identified with culture and subjectivity,

a subjectivity which women support. In

this analysis, Irigaray employs that distinction

intimacy Irigaray, Luce (1932– )


between men/culture and women/nature which

has become a familiar premise of feminist theory,

and she emphasizes – as Simone de Beauvoir had

done in The Second Sex (1949 [trans. 1972]) – that

the only form of subjectivity in western culture

is male.

Irigaray’s theoretical antecedents lie in a

number of disciplines, of which psychoanalysis

and philosophy are perhaps the most dominant.

But Irigaray’s own work crosses conventional

disciplinary boundaries, in that her concerns are

less with specific institutional changes in the

social status and position of women (she is not

concerned, for example, with social rearrangements

of the social role of mothers) than with a

rethinking of the ways in which women and men

encounter the body and their physical existence.

For Irigaray, the most important shift in the reconfiguration

of gender is the recognition by

men that nature / the body do not have to be controlled

and that the “imaginary body” (a concept

inherited from Lacan) is not to be identified with

that of men. Thus welcoming the possibilities that

Sigmund Freud opened up for the study of sexuality,

Irigaray also wishes to counter Freud’s theories

about women and their sense of loss.


iron law of oligarchy

– see Robert Michels.

Irigaray, Luce (1932– ) iron law of oligarchy



James, William (1842–1910)

An American psychologist and philosopher, James

was the founder of pragmatism. Born in New York

City, unconventionally educated in America and

Europe and a qualified MD, James never practiced

medicine. He started his career at Harvard, first as

Instructor in Physiology and Anatomy, and, at

different times, Professor of Psychology and Professor

of Philosophy. Of the books published in

his lifetime, the most enduring and of interest

to sociology include The Principles of Psychology

(1890), The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902),

and Pragmatism (1907). All are still in print.

James’s influence in sociology is through a

number of routes. The Principles of Psychology includes

a chapter, “The Consciousness of Self,”

that is thoroughly sociological and strongly influenced

both Charles Horton Cooley and George

Herbert Mead. James proposes the notion of a

social self, later elaborated by Cooley as the

looking-glass self, and also the distinction between

the I and the Me, later developed by Mead.

Through his influence on Mead, James contributed

to the emergence of symbolic interactionism.

But this is not the only route through which James

enters sociology. James was also a source and inspiration

for Thorstein Veblen, especially in the

conception of human evolution directed by consciousness

and also the characteristic Jamesian

understanding of human instinct, both of which

featured in Veblen’s evolutionary approach in economic

sociology. Additionally, James’s discussion

of religion (1902) was much more important to

both Max Weber’s The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit

of Capitalism (1905 [trans. 2002]) and E´mile Durkheim’s

The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life

(1912 [trans. 1954]) than a mere index check could


Jameson, Fredric (1934– )

Professor of Comparative Literature at Duke University,

cultural critic, and the key exponent of

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