ethnomethodology


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ethnomethodology

The theoretical and specialist approach within sociology, initiated by Harold GARFINKEL, which sets out to uncover the methods (members’ methods) and social competence that we, as members of social groups, employ in constructing our sense of social reality Ethnomethodologists claim that mainstream sociologists have failed to study, or even to show any awareness of, members’ possession of social competence, treating members merely as ‘cultural dopes’, rather than acknowledging that social reality is created by individuals.

For ethnomethodologists, social reality is always to be seen as the ‘rational accomplishment’ of individuals. Whereas conventional sociologists, e.g. DURKHEIM in Suicide or the symbolic interactionists, are seen as taking actors’ capacity to construct ‘meanings’ merely as an unexamined ‘resource’, ethnomethodology makes the ‘methods’ and TACIT KNOWLEDGE that members possess into a ‘topic’ for analysis. What ethnomethodologists seek to do is to analyse the ACCOUNTS provided by members in particular contexts (hence the extensive use of transcripts of ordinary conversation). In this, there are some similarities and continuities with SYMBOLIC INTERACTIONISM. Beyond this, however, ethnomethodologists have sought to reveal the more universal recurring members’ methods involved in ‘doing’ social life, e.g. organized ‘turn-taking’ in talk (see also CONVERSATION ANALYSIS, SACKS).

While ethnomethodology claims to have arrived at universal generalizations, the form of these generalizations (e.g. indicating a persistent indexicality (see INDEXICAL EXPRESSION) in members’ accounts) suggests that the type of generalizations traditionally sought by sociology are unlikely to be achieved, or at least the claims for them are premature. By the same token, many of the research methods and assumptions about method and measurement in conventional sociology are criticized by ethnomethodologists as involving MEASUREMENT BY FIAT (see A. Cicourel, 1964).

Although ethnomethodology was at first presented as an alternative to conventional sociology, the insights drawn from it have in many instances been incorporated into more mainstream approaches, notably in the work of Anthony GIDDENS (1976a and subsequently) – see also STRATIFICATIONAL MODEL OF SOCIAL ACTION AND CONSCIOUSNESS, DOUBLE HERMENEUTIC. By far the best general overview of ethnomethodology is J. Heritage, Garfinkel and Ethnomethodology (1984). See also FIXED-CHOICE QUESTIONNAIRES, AGGREGATE DATA ANALYSIS. OFFICIAL STATISTICS. PRACTICAL REASONING.

References in periodicals archive ?
Theory Choice: Levels of Prior Theorisation High Medium Low Methodological High Positivism (L) choice: levels Realism (L) of theoretical Instrumentalism nature of (L) methods Conventionalism (L) Medium German Symbolic critical Interactionism Theory (M) (Kuhn) (L) Low Marxism (H) Structuration Pragmatism (L) (L) French Symbolic Critical Interactionism Theory (L) (Blumer) (L) Ethnomethodology (L) Change choice: Level of emphasis given to critique of status quo and need for change (High/Medium/Low) (H, M, L) Table 1: Representing literature that is reviewed and key arguments from it are used within Laughlin (1995) matrix S.
It is important to note that the following established research paradigms and traditions were not present in the sample: queer theory, heuristic inquiry, semiotics, life history, symbolic interaction, hermeneutics, ethnomethodology, autoethnography, and participatory action research.
Even with everything said above, in general the empirical research about practices has been developed within a primarily qualitative scope, in which there is a great diversity of methods, especially including ethnographic, grounded theory, case studies, and ethnomethodology.
Ethnomethodology provided a very useful background for analyzing interviews, provided insights into otherwise invisible dynamics, negotiations, and reflection processes, and brought to light different ambiguities.
Conversation analysis is a variant of ethnomethodology that provides analytic methods for explicating the ongoing production of sense-making during interactions (Sacks, 1995).
1984) Garfinkel and ethnomethodology, Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.
Tom MacTavish discusses ethnomethodology, tools for systematically observing potential customers in situ and converting the resulting observations into actionable insight.
Then they examine phenomenology and ethnomethodology, conversation analysis and the interactive order, status and power, the body (and health and illness), work, service, and leisure.
International Institute of Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis & University Press of America.
Ethnomethodology, for instance, could provide students with tools for decrypting and understanding the mechanisms that shape stakeholders' behaviours, especially those of the stakeholders with whom they interact regularly.
Harold Garfinkel in 1967 was the first sociologist to work on 'Intersexuality' using a method derived from sociological phenomenology which he called ethnomethodology.
The author proceeds to explicate two models of qualitative research that is naturalism and ethnomethodology and constructionism.