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Geoffrey Raymond

Subject Communication Studies » Language and Social Interaction

Period 2000 - present
1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

People Frankfurt School

Key-Topics qualitative methods

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405131995.2008.x


Harold Garfinkel introduced the term “ethnomethodology” (by analogy to “ethnoscience”) in the 1950s and 1960s and gave the approach its fullest explication in his widely influential Studies in ethnomethodology (1967). Ethnomethodology consists of the effort to discover and analyze generic practices – methods – found across different occasions by which people in concert with one another deal with the concrete particularities of their circumstances and actions. Though initially misrepresented and trivialized in some corners (owing to a range of factors, including the chaotic state of social theory in the 1960s and, to a lesser extent, Garfinkel's complex writing style), ethnomethodology is now widely recognized as having provided a radically transformed basis for a science of social life. Garfinkel's theoretical writings furnished social scientists a powerful alternative approach to a core set of issues that underpin any social theory: the organization of social action; the social constitution of knowledge; and how two or more people develop and sustain a shared – or intersubjective – grasp of the world and each other's actions ( Heritage 1984 ). Garfinkel laid out his profoundly novel approach to social life in series of papers that involved studies of mundane settings (such as record keeping, jurors’ methods for making decisions, and the like) and reports on the results of his ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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