This article describes the story of pragmatism and its transformation into symbolic interactionism at Carnegie Mellon University and Aalto University. In both universities, design researchers were interested in user experience in interactive systems. John Dewey's pragmatism taught them to study how experience sometimes transforms into an experience and occasionally into stories. Herbert Blumer's interactionism had its roots in Chicago School sociology, and it developed in association with pragmatism. His interactionism gave these researchers tools to study Dewey's concepts empirically. We show in the article how this theoretical connection came about after 2000 and how it has shaped research programs in these two communities since then. We also discuss the relevance of pragmatism and interactionism in our current technological landscape, dominated by social media and artificial intelligence.

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