This paper aims to draw the line between Symbolic Interactionism and how it ties into the political world. Symbolic Interactionism states that humans interpret and assign meanings to symbols through social interaction, thus influencing their behaviors and shaping their realities. It is said that symbolic interactionism could only be applied to micro levels of social interactions, and not to something as big and intricate as politics. This paper will focus on a stand-alone event, the insurrection of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. Numerous symbols were displayed before, during, and after the attack on the U.S. Capitol, each of them having their own unique assigned meaning. By examining these symbols, flags, gestures, and slogans we can begin to understand and identify the meanings behind these symbols and how these meanings were assigned. Through research and analysis of these symbols and texts, we can begin to understand the messages that the rioters were trying to convey during the attack. This paper also aims to disprove that symbolic interactionism can only be applied to micro levels of communication and to showcase how it can be applied to something greater than interpersonal communication.


Spring 2024




Dr. Scott Paynton, Dr. Armeda Reitzel

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