The present paper investigates the role of the body in the work of Foucault and symbolic interactionism. Instead of a mere comparative analysis, the perspective Foucault takes of the social actor is employed at certain interactionists. Symbolic interactionists that incorporate an emphasis on the physical and somatic are investigated to make the Foucauldian perspective relevant to the investigation. Those deemed relevant are George Herbert Mead, Erving Goffman and the identity theory of Sheldon Stryker and Peter J. Burke. It is argued that a focus on the somatic and material aspects can avoid much of the arbitrary and fluid of social interaction. Relativism is suppressed and structure enhanced while still dealing with the importance of meaning. Foucault presents the social actor as a mere body. Although alive, it leads a sort of group life without the imperatives of knowledge in modern society. It is only upon being invested by discourse that the body acquires an inner forum that disciplines it and makes it an individualised subjective of power. A reversion is created in Foucault’s thought by claiming that the soul is the prison of the body. Discourse imposes conditions on what the individual can employ in thought and behaviour. As Foucault is not an interactionist, he underemphasises the motives of the individual. Upon researching his texts however, three main processes seem to surround the body. First, bodies are categorised, trained in procedures and placed in hierarchies. This is mainly where power is being exercised upon individuals. Secondly, there is implicitly an incentive factor responsible for both individuals being motivated by discipline, and the collective motive for discourses about optimisation of health and life in the human sciences. Thirdly, the capacity for the body to learn makes it both docile by incorporating knowledge, and later to constitute itself by means of using discourses to shape the self in a liberating way. The latter two processes are implicit, but necessary conditions for the subjectivation process to have an effect in the first place. The social behaviourism of George H. Mead has a dormant somatic component in the account of the act. The impulse, perception, manipulation and consummation part of the act implies that behaviour precedes the emergence for the mind and self. This naturally sets material conditions of what kind of experiences the mind and self is constituted with. Gestures from the surroundings are imposed on the individual, and the response to it functions to keep the physiological organism alive. The neglected role of memory or experience also limits the flexibility of defining future situations due to interpretation being a process of calling up experience with acts and consequences. The “I” is further interpreted as the response of the organism, and the “me” as constituted by memory of the responses and attitudes others have of him. Thus both aspects of the self have somatic sources. In much the same way as Foucault the body is filled with information with the intent of optimising life, but at the same time it directs the behaviour of the body, while simultaneously giving it a self. Goffman’s dramaturgy is innovative by using materials in the surroundings when presenting a self that is favourable. By means of barriers to perceptions, the actor can control others’ view of him. It is an incentive to gain social support by being interpreted as competent, while avoiding being discredited. Incidentally, competency is always associated with the same optimisation motives that seem to sustain discursive production. Ritual behaviour is also motivated via competency incentives, while also illustrating the inertia of learning and simultaneous threat and privilege of reciprocity. One gives deference out of fear for not receiving it. Lastly, primary frames are an integral part of interpretation. Actors arrive at frames and do not create them from scratch. Primary frame also asserts itself if incentive processes are disturbed, such as a dangerous or painful situation. The image presenter is thus revealed as a psychobiological being seeking optimisation of life via skills. Identity theory refines Mead’s inertia of learning by viewing role-meanings as identities stacked in a hierarchy of salience with a certain chance of being enacted. Burke and Stryker attempt to solve the puzzle of why the actor chooses one type of role behaviour over another. Commitment to relationships in culture and groups influences role behaviour and gives an identity higher salience in the hierarchy. Further, activated identities have a standard that controls meaning, and the actor counteracts disturbances to the goal of this standard. The behaviour connected to role identities serves to control resources, interpreted by signs and symbols. As such, incentive and interpretation are joined. People’s behaviour is dependent on both social and physiological utility and their physical location in social groups, thereby accounting for their specific experience. Discussing the somatic in Foucault’s theory and interactionist theory grounds both fluidity of behaviour and linguistic imperatives in stable frames. The intersection between discourse, incentive and social action is articulated. Social individuals and their incorporation of discourse are embedded in tangible, incentive-based relationships in order to maintain competence. Such a conception suggests limits for relativism in how individuals are constituted by discourse. This also connects individuals to structures by suggesting links between learning and interaction. It is argued here that since structure and action are connected an overly free subject is useless to sociology. The somatic aspect suggests conditions for this freedom.