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By John Heritage

The writings of Harold Garfinkel have had an immense influence at the social sciences and linguistics. This publication bargains a scientific and leading edge research of his theories and of the ethnomethodological circulate which he has inspired.

It is the single full-length examine all in favour of the writings of Harold Garfinkel and should be crucial examining for all these thinking about figuring out and comparing some of the most appreciably unique social scientists of contemporary times.

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Extra resources for Garfinkel and Ethnomethodology

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Sociological analysis with the use of unit concepts will give the investigator treatments of social activity in terms of the meanings with which the actors invest it. However such treatments, Parsons insists, will remain collections of discrete observations approximately equivalent to the results of isolated experiments jotted into the physicist’s notebook. If they are to be knitted together with other, similarly discrete, observations so as to yield general laws, these particular concrete observations must be broken down into their underlying components – the‘analytical elements’.

First, if the construction and recognition of h u m a n actions and social circumstances is a contingent task for actors who work at it in terms of ‘reasonable approximation’, the role of theory in the new analysis will be different from the old. Specifically, the task of theory will not be to determine what some set of social circumstances and events consist of in advance of the actors’ actions, and then to evaluate and explain the latter in terms of their rational and/or normatively determined characteristics.

The reverse of the natural attitude is radical ‘Cartesian doubt’ which sceptically denies the objectivity of perception, the adequacy of knowledge or the utility of past experience. This kind of doubt is not involved in the phenomenological reduction. Instead, in the latter, the investigator suspends his or her belief in, for example, the objective existence of the objects of perception in order to examine how they are experienced as objectively existent. T h u s , in the natural attitude, one simply ‘sees a chair’.

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