Sacks Harvey

Sacks Harvey

(1935-75) US sociologist prominent in ETHNOMETHODOLOGY and CONVERSATION ANALYSIS. Like his mentor Harold GARFINKEL, Sacks was influenced by the work of Talcott PARSONS. The theories and issues pursued by Sacks included the ‘espousing a role’, ‘rules of conversational sequence’,‘turn-taking’, ‘membership categorization devices’, ‘being chicken’, 'suicide as a device for discovering if anybody cares’. Determinedly methodological in focus, what links these topics was a belief that conventional sociology neglected much of the underlying social COMPETENCE of social ‘members’ and what was really going on is social organization. Sacks sought empirical means to illuminate this. Much of Sacks published material was published from transcriptions, by Gail Jefferson, of lectures – see Lectures on Conversation, Vol 1 &2 (1992/5) (eds G. Jefferson and E. Schegloff.
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000