symbolic interactionism and PCP

Lindsay Oades (
18 Aug 1995 13:04:38 +1000

I am investigating if the development of perfectionism as a family trait. At
present I am arguing, using the symbolic interactionism perspective, that the
negotiated meaning to an interaction or event is defined by the actors. In
the family situation, as the parent is in a powerful position, and the child
in a powerless (maybe I should say less powerful) position, the negotiated
meaning of the exchange is therefore to a far greater extent determined by the
imposed parental meaning to the exchange. The parent, in solialising the
child, uses conditional rather than unconditional love. Thus the parent(s)
negotiates the interaction between parent(s) and child to be - If you perform
your task to my set standard I will give you (conditional) love. In his way
the meaning associated with the spelling test the child took at school is not
"how well the child can perform the spelling test", but rather "can I (the
child) do this task to a level of proficiency that will attract or warrant
parental love". In essence perfectionism is driven by the need for love and
Due to my rudimentary knowledge of PCP (read I have a vague idea of what PCP
is about), the question I ask is - Is this symbolic interactionism perspective
in accord with a PCP approach? And if yes, could you advise me of appropriate
articles or books to read such that a sociological explanation can take on a
more psychological bent.
Thank you
(Geoff Pearce using Lindsay Oades account with permission)