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Subject Philosophy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405106795.2004.x


P hilosophy of social science An approach to sociology initiated by Garfunkel, so called because it emphasizes the study of the methodologies of people ( ethnos ) in daily life in contrast to scientific method. Empirical sociology claims that sociology can establish firm connections between social facts on the grounds that social life is actually not regulated by rules and that social action has no intrinsic identity. Ethnomethdology rejects this position and claims that any imputation of beliefs and desires is incorrigibly contextual, depends on indexicals, and is marked by uncertainty. Any purported sociological generalizations are based on the analyst's unexamined assumptions. Social facts should be dealt with by ethnomethodology, the characteristic of which is ad hoc rationality. It does not subject a social action to rigorous definition and does not set criteria for adequacy of its account. Instead, ethnomethodology holds that the properties of social life lie in the mutual dependence of meanings on their context and on the actor's motives. Rather than being generally endowed with a store of social knowledge that describes their surroundings, people constantly exercise their social knowledge and are forever theorizing about each other's actions. In a word, people are fundamentally their own sociologists. Ethnomethdology is hence interested in the properties of intersubjectivity ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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